We really try, don’t we? We try to keep to-do lists in our heads. We write notes on tiny slips of paper that end up getting lost. Juggling tasks can be challenging and if you don’t do it in a way that works for you, something is going to fall.
3 Ways to Keep Your Tasks
The Old-Fashioned List
Yep, sometimes the good old-fashioned way is the best route. The Handwritten List. Keep a list where you can add items as they come in. Keep your list on a wall, next to your computer, or just sitting on your desk. It has to be out where you can see it.
The list can get out of control if you just add items to the bottom as they come in. Pretty soon you’ll have a HUGE list that you’ll never be able to accomplish. And, since you’ll be juggling tasks the size of a mountain, something is bound fall. You’ll be frustrated and your clients will be unhappy.
Each day (morning or evening, whatever works best for you) review the items that you need to accomplish. Choose your top 3-5 items and list them in order of priority. Use this shortened list of to-do’s to focus your day. Keep the list out where you can see it. As you finish up tasks, you’ll be making progress and and the end of the day, you’ll have a great sense of accomplishment.
The Electronic List
There are so many electronic solutions that you could choose. Some e-mail programs offer simple task solutions. There are also other web-based solutions like ASANA, Trello, and TeamworkPM to help organize a complex list of to-do’s. Of course, there are CRM systems that can help setup a list of to-do’s as well.
Unless you are in the habit of printing out your list, you don’t see your list unless you are logged into your system. What if your internet service goes down or there’s a power outage? That list can also be huge because it’s everything you have to do from today forward. It can be overwhelming.
If your system allows you, prioritize tasks and set up due dates. Set up your list to print out only the tasks you plan on working on for the day and print it. Keep it out in a visible place.
The Hybrid List
This is my favorite way to organize tasks. Depending on how many tasks I’m juggling at one time, I either make my to-do list for the week or for the day. I list out my tasks by client. My rule is that it must fit on one notebook page and I keep it out while I’m working.
My list is more of an overview, not a detailed list of minor tasks (like Social Media Scheduling or Create 3 Presentations). If I have a particular due date, I will write it on that line.
I share tasks with my clients using ASANA. It allows us to communicate and collaborate on tasks. It also allows my clients to add new tasks as they are needed. It helps keep things from being lost in e-mail as well. I use these tasks to create my handwritten to-do list in my notebook. I don’t get overwhelmed with the tiny details of having many, many tasks that need my attention.
When I’m working, if I need to go back to ASANA to get the details, I can. My handwritten to-do list is more like a focus list. It’s where I’m choosing to focus my time. For me, the act of writing items down helps me to keep things fresh and organized in my head.
Things could still be missed. My internet connection could still go down or my office could lose power. Putting reasonable checks in place can help minimize these problems.
Even if your handwritten list is for the week, a daily review can help keep items from getting lost. You can’t control your internet connection or your power, but you can find alternate methods for accessing your information. Maybe you can access your task list using an app on your phone or other device. Maybe you can get internet access at your local coffee shop or library (make sure you have personal firewall software installed to protect your information from being intercepted on the public network).
In the end, you really need to use a system that works for you. The same system will not work for everyone. Juggling tasks can be overwhelming. Finding and following a system is the key to keeping you organized and your clients happy. Don’t feel like you have to stay with one method, your system can be constantly evolving and improving.
How do you stay organized when juggling tasks? I love new ideas and finding ways to improve what can be a complex process. Please share what works for you in the comments.
Pencil and Notepad – Image courtesy of Gualberto107 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Typing on Laptop – Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Writing in Notebook – Image courtesy of adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
This post addresses some of the issues I have with managing my weekly/daily tasks. I use cozi, and generally face the electronic challenges that you mention. I also have a diary and have been trying to figure out how to incorporate the use or cozi and the diary.
Thanks for commenting! I hope that some of my tips will help you find something that works.
I love how you laid out your post.
I struggle with my lists and I must admit I didn’t consider the hybrid. I think that may work for me. I will give it a try and see if I can be better organized.
Thank you for such a great post!
Give it a try and see how it works for you. Remember, you can always tweak things as you find what works for you. Much success!
I love your idea with the different lists and the pros and cons. I have faced all of them too. Something I just went and got was a big whiteboard. I’m going to try that. I’m just thankful we all have these tasks to juggle. Its better then the alternative.
Oooooh! A white board! What a great idea! You could make it visual and colorful! Yes, I’m very thankful for lots of tasks to juggle.
I use both traditional and electronic. I like the feel of paper and checking out the things I’ve done and underline or encircle it with a pen. Having a system really works, thanks for the tip, Amanda! 🙂