November 20, 2018

27: Getting Started with a Task Manager

Introducing a new technology tool to your workflow, whether doing it alone or with a team, shouldn’t be taken lightly. You have to work the technology in order to reap the benefits. Getting set up properly from the start will make it easier to sustain the new behaviors that will lead to less stress, more alignment, and greater productivity.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Be thoughtful about how you will structure your work in the app. As more content goes in, it becomes harder to find what you’re looking for. Having the content well organized from the beginning will make it easier to keep it organized over time.
  • Be explicit about what norms or ground rules you’ll follow when using the app. Consider how you’ll use specific features, like tags, followers, and due dates.
  • If you’re using the app with a team, agree together on expectations for how tasks will be assigned, communicated about, and updated.
  • Reflect on what changes you’ll need to make to your existing routines. For example, how will you capture tasks when you’re not at your desk? When will you input those tasks? How will you plan your priorities for the day?
  • How will you hold yourself (and your team) accountable to using the app and following the ground rules? Consider having a weekly team huddle to reflect on how you’re using the app, how you’re benefiting and what you can do differently.
  • Consider adding some new routines like daily and weekly time to input, update and review the tasks in your app.
  • Set up the infrastructure of your app before you input any content. Name the folders, create the tags, add and avatar, update your notifications, bookmark the app’s URL, etc.
  • Do a brain dump of everything you need to do. Collect items from your notebooks, email, other apps, etc to get a full picture of all your work.
  • Input each task including the owner, due date, relevant tags, documents or links, etc.
  • Remember this is a journey and you’ll discover what works (and what doesn’t) as you use the tool. You’ll find ways to use the features that are helpful and features you wish the app had which you need to work around.
  • If you find you’ve stopped using the app consistently (or completely), don’t worry. Decide if you want to give it another go. Then reflect on what was challenging before and how you’ll work differently this time around.

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