These are some things I've learnt about managing my tasks effectively.
Collect your tasks
Dump your tasks in your to-do list the moment you get them. It's important not to lose any.
It's equally important to not jump directly into execution mode. It helps to spend some time thinking about the task to tackle it effectively.
All tasks in one place
Avoid using multiple to-do lists. You should be able look at all your tasks in a single place.
Something like Trello is the perfect tool for the job. Create a list named Unallocated to collect your tasks before you review them.
We get tasks from a variety of places. You should be able to route all your tasks to your to-do list in an effortless manner.
Check your email only once every two hours. Context switching can really hurt your productivity.
Run through every email and follow this simple framework -
- If you need to act on this email and it can't wait; reply right away and archive it
- If you need to act, but it can wait -
- Send to your tasks board using Trello's email to board feature
- Tag it as Do and archive it
- If you don't need to act, but need to keep an eye on it; tag it as Follow and archive it
- If you don't need to act, and don't need to keep an eye on it; simply archive it
Use the home screen widget of the Trello mobile app to quickly add any task
Review your tasks
Look at your tasks atleast once every day and think about each one which needs your attention.
Try to answer these questions -
- Why is this required?
- Should I be the one doing this?
- When am I supposed to finish this by?
- What would happen if this doesn't get done?
Classify your tasks
I'd recommend using the Eisenhower matrix to classify your tasks.
Create these 4 lists in your Trello board -
- Do right away - Urgent and important
- Plan - Important, not urgent
- Delegate - Urgent, not important
- Delete - Neither urgent nor important
- Block your time in your calendar to do the ones in the Plan list
- Add due dates to every task
- Add names of people you have delegated tasks to
- Use labels to add tags to your tasks
- Use the Card ageing power up to identify tasks which haven't had any updates for a while
- Use the Calendar view to know exactly when your tasks are due