Last week, we looked at 3 Apps for Perfect Project Management. Now I want to show you what I do, when it comes to managing the daily to do's that show up on my list.
I talk to a great many people, who ask me about project management solutions. The struggle seems to be the same for many. How do you manage all of it? There are the tasks that absolutely must get done, and then there are the ones that we'd like to get done, but if other priorities become operative, they get pushed aside, to be done later.
What happens with most applications, is that we begin to see a build up of old, incomplete tasks. This long list of incomplete tasks, can start to get overwhelming. That overwhelm has a significant, negative impact on our productivity.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I decided to take control of the situation, and I developed a system for handling this. The same concept will work, regardless of which application you use. It'll just look different.
Each day, first thing in the morning, I look at this list. I'll sort all of my tasks across all projects, based on due dates. I want to see anything that is either late, or due today.
Next I begin hacking away at the list. I go item by item, and make a decision. Here are the choices regarding each item:
- Assign a new due date, when the task will be done.
- Assign a new due date based on when I will make that decision (this is a key part of the process). You aren't deciding when you will complete the task. Instead you are putting off that decision until (e.g.) later this week, when you will have time to plan and think about it. This allows you to move through the process of updating your tasks quickly.
- Remove the due date altogether. This is to say that it will be done at some point, but it just isn't a priority. This leaves it in a queue of tasks with no due dates, and may or may not every get done. You can always go back and assign a new due date when you are ready to re-visit this task.
- Re-assign the due date to today. This could be, because you had previously put it off, and now it's time to get it done. It could also be that you've simply decided that today you WANT to work on this task.
This process may seem obvious, and straight-froward, but until you figure the system out in your software, it remains unclear, how you'll implement it, and stay on top of tasks without getting overwhelmed.
In the video above, I will show you my process, using ActiveCollab, which is my preferred application for this kind of thing.