|Do you remember…
The 21st night of September?
Hey, hey, hey
Ba-dee-ya, say, do you remember?
Ba-dee-ya, dancin’ in September….Now that I made my love for 70s music official, let’s move onto this week’s surprise topic. I’ll give you a hint as to what it is with a quote from Peter Drucker: “Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.”
You guessed it! This week, I will be sharing my task management system with you fine people. I hope you will find a tip or two in here which will boost your productivity. The goal is to have you join me in singing 70s tunes while browsing Netflix shows at the end of the workday while feeling great about all that we accomplished.
I have always dreamed of moving past just setting due dates and calendar appointments to organize my day. I wanted a powerful app that could be my virtual assistant – an app that could keep all the balls in the air and hand them to me one at a time in the right order. I also dreamt of having my team on this app so we can work on projects together and assign each other tasks. Is that too much to ask? After searching for years, I realized success with such system relied on 3 things that mattered more than the app itself. Let’s go over these three!
First, freedom! Yes! Specifically, freedom and flexibility for individual users. While some framework is necessary to ensure collaboration is successful, every brain works differently, and providing your team members with the ability to organize their tasks in their own way helps ensure their participation in and the success of the system. Finding an app that has flexibility gives you a shot of having such freedom.
Second, the (im)perfection! Yes! Unless you hire someone to make a custom app (which is unnecessarily expensive), there will never be a “perfect” task management app for your business. Since each app will always have shortcomings, it’s important to figure out where you should ask for more and where to adjust your expectations. The best way to do this is by thoroughly reviewing and trying out the apps that interest you. One must stop seeking perfection in apps, in people, and in life! That’s when good surprises come along.
Third, the system! Yes! Do you ever get excited when you look at your task management app? I do! I’ll take you through my system shortly, and perhaps when combined with a morning exercise routine and a hot cup of coffee, you too will feel like a rockstar every day! Before we begin, may I remind you the point on freedom above. My entire system may not be suitable for you, so take what is helpful and leave what is not. Also: this system was built using Asana, but there are certainly many other apps out try.
I use 7 sections to group my tasks together and their purposes are outlined below:
???? Recently added: Any task a team member assigns to me or a task I pop in quickly while on the go lands here. The idea is to check and empty this section often and move tasks to the proper section they belong to and add details as needed.
???? Top Priority: Regardless of the due date, tasks with the upmost priority go here. I often have things I need to get done today or latest by tomorrow in this section.
❗️ Important: Nothing in here has a due date or critical importance, but they are tasks I need to keep a close eye on and likely should update or wrap up within 1 to 2 weeks.
???? Secondary: Back burner tasks go here. I often check it once a week to see if anything here needs to be bumped up or perhaps even canceled out.
???? Later: All the tasks with due dates into the future end up here. It helps with my focus to group them together and get them away from my view until they are due.
???? Snooze 3 & 10 Days: These sections fire automations. Simply dropping a task inside pushes back their due date to 3 or 10 days from today and gets them filed under the “Later” section.
Speaking of automations, Asana and many other task management apps let you set automations that fire based on a trigger. In addition to my snooze automations, there are a couple more automations in my system making sure my tasks stay organized without lots of input from my end. The Top Priority section has 1 automation in place. If a due date is today or due date has passed, tasks are moved here automatically. The Important section automation is similar, looking specifically at the Later section for any task with a due date 3 days from today and moving it to the Important section.
While at first it may seem complicated, this system feels simple for my brain to follow. Perhaps a version of it could be suited to meet your needs? I look forward to hearing from you on how you conquer your day.
Stay well until we meet again next week,
– Burak Sarac, Team Lead