Tell the truth – does your task management system look anything like this picture? Or, are you a manager and see many of your people managing their tasks like this?
If you answered “yes”, you’re not alone. And it’s not even your fault. But you need to do something about it.
Can I make a confession? I miss the good old days of using a Day Timer to manage my day. Everything I needed to do was in one place. Today there are over 60 different task management apps available, not to mention e-mail, voice mail, post-its, notepads, project management systems, and more.
Solutions like SharePoint, Salesforce, Dynamics 365, Outlook, Office365, Microsoft Planner, To-Do, Microsoft Project and Dynamics for Project Service Automation all offer options for task management. Companies roll these solutions out with basic training and without giving much thought to the confusing and conflicting array of options that they are deploying.
With all of these different places to track tasks, we’re constantly switching from our in box, to our notebook, to our electronic task list, to the pile of post-its on our desks – wondering why we finish so many days feeling like we’ve accomplished so little!
With all those options for managing tasks, what is the secret to success? It’s simple: only use one list.
In fact, any one task management app beats any two task management apps. Because as soon as you track tasks in more than one place, you lose the ability to prioritize your time.
That’s right – even if your task list is managed on post-its, you may very well do a better job of reaching your goals than if you were to use two of the highest rated electronic task management applications!
About 6 months ago my task management app blew up – many of my tasks were duplicated or deleted! Having to move forward quickly, I switched to using a couple of different task management apps (one for CRM tasks, and another for internal projects). My workload quickly spun out of control. In desperation, I switched to using OneNote for all task management (which, essentially, isn’t much different than a paper-based approach). By no means was it ideal – but I successfully completed more of my important tasks faster using that approach than I did with the two apps I was using before.
Now I’m back into using an app and am enjoying even better productivity.
But, you ask, which is the best task list app to use? That’s a fair question – but one that is not so easily answered! It depends on the nature of your work, how you collaborate with others, and the size and type of business that you’re in.
In many cases, you may have to break the “one list” rule. But the only safe way to do that is if you sync multiple lists to a single central list for prioritization (even if the sync happens by hand!)
Some of our clients invest many hours into identifying the right task management solution(s) for their people to use.
I’ll publish some reviews of the options over the coming weeks.
What are you using as your one task list?
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