If you saw my previous post on task management, you will know that I seem to be on an endless quest to find the perfect task tracker. (There is none, but you can’t convince me to stop trying.)
After starting on this process with a basic clock schedule based off the Stephen Covey system, I tweaked it a bit to do a daily task system. It looked very similar to the Daily Task Schedule below:
Since I had recurring appointments on my schedule, I saved a daily schedule for each day of the week. The team meetings were always on Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m., and the mail traffic report was due on Tuesdays by the end of the day, and I had an intern that came in Tuesday afternoons. Therefore, my Tuesday Daily Task Schedule always included these meetings.
Each week on Friday afternoon, I would print off the daily task schedules for the next week. All meetings and deadlines were filled in on the schedule side of the sheet, and required projects or tasks on the right hand side.
Any project or task that required focused attention during a block of time, would be noted on the daily schedule. I would do my best to protect that time on the schedule and only focus on that tasks. The other, smaller tasks, were filled in when time allowed.
I could also save a record of my voice mails on the bottom right of the task sheet. Not only did this allow me to track the date the call came in, I could save the sheet until I was able to connect with that person. (Yes, this meant I had these slips of paper all over the place – one of the reasons I didn’t stick with this system.)
Once I started with this system, I got much better at saying, “I am not able to do that right now, but I can help tomorrow morning.” This was a HUGE change!
No longer was I responding to everyone else’s emergency with their sense of urgency. Now, I was still able to help, but I didn’t neglect my work in order to help.
Task Management Trial 2.0 lasted for about three years with a few little tweaks. Yes, I had to save some of those slips until I returned messages, but those slips really helped! I was not reacting to every request and “emergency,” but rather proactively planning for my duties. What a change to my stress level!!
What system are you currently using? What is really working for you?