A “Wunderful” Step Forward in My Task Management
It has been an intense and exciting spring and summer. As a result, my writing output has suffered. Here is something that is useful, for colleagues or for clients.
In searching for “task lists” or “to do lists” in Google, I of course found Outlook. It has a comprehensive Tasklist module.
Perhaps because we have all our e-mails, calendar entries, and Contacts in Outlook, our task lists were gigantic and, therefore, basically useless to me.
When I was new at this, I could pull a rolling cart of all my files up to my desk, review each one, and keep 30-60 tasks on a yellow pad.
I would line out the ones that were done, and re=do the page weekly. As Maryann Hopkins sang, “Those Were The Days My Friend”.
I love our calendaring, our many reminders, and our “suspense system” where nothing goes out without a hook in it to remind us to follow-up, but my old-fashioned “to do list” is a shell of its old self. I have a good routine, proofing, reviewing mail, and short dictation for 2-3 hours each morning for example, but I felt I was losing track of priorities and long-term goals.
So, I located a free app, which of course has a paid version, called “Wunderlist”. It can reside on my desktop, laptop, iPhone, and iPad. It synchs automatically, and I can add staff to any “list” I want them on. And each task easily allows subtasks as well had deadlines and reminders. It allows you to attach files, photographs, etc!
I then notice that www.Lynda.com has a short course module for Wunderlist, so I viewed it. I checked YouTube and found some good video tutorials, including several by Steve Dotto. He also has other tutorials, on Evernote, Dropbox, Google Cloud, etc. He is helpful and entertaining.
So, here is what I have done.
1. I have entered 20-30 tasks into my inbox.
2. For several I easily entered a deadline, and an e-mail reminder date and time.
3. Important ones I “favorite” with a star.
4. I created six catagories:
a. BURT WORK SHORT TERM;
b. BURT WORK LONG TERM/PROJECTS;
c. BURT PERSONAL SHORT TERM;
d. BURT PERSONAL LONG TERM/PROJECTS;
e. ASSIGNED TO STAFF;
f. BURTS TASK REQUEST TO NANCY (my beloved wife).
5. It took all of 5 minutes to move 30 tasks into these various catagories.
I have written elsewhere of breaking my tasks into “urgent but not important”, “urgent and important”, and “important but not urgent”, and will not repeat that here, but these six catagories suit me.
My staff can take my assignments, set up their own tasks, and manage them. I can scan my assignments from time to time to follow that up.
I am excited by this product. I noted that several tutorials and articles linked Wunderlist to productivity expert David Allen, so I bought his little five starred book from form my Amazon Kindle Paperwhite.The book is “Getting things Done”, “The Art of Stress-Free Productivity”. It is a good summary of the productivity tips we all know, but forget. I am 25 per cent through with it and recommend it.
I hope this short post gives you a practical boost to your productivity. jbh
This post was written by Burton Hunter