Managing Tasks: List Your Way to Greatness

We’ve been taught to make lists for everything. A list of friends you want to invite to your birthday bash, a list of goals to accomplish in your lifetime or even just a grocery list. While many of us are conditioned to write these kinds of lists (even if we don’t always check off all of the tasks), how many of us never make lists, ever? It might seem hard to believe that this happens in a world so driven by profits, pressure and productivity, but some people have just found other ways to manage their tasks without the need for any kind of list. If you’re one of these people who have managed to find a way of doing so, perhaps through having a good memory or a wonderful support network. But what if you’ve been struggling lately to manage everything, and would finally like to learn how to become a list person? Here’s four ways from us to get started: 1. Focus on a Limited Number of Tasks One approach to make sure you focus on what is important is to list three things that you need to do on a given day, and focus only on those, instead of trying to cram as many tasks into one day as possible. If you’re headstrong and eager to try out a more radical approach, you can test out Warren Buffett’s ‘two-list system’. 2. Be Realistic About Timeframes One of the problems with lists is that we often don’t take into account how long it will take to complete a task. Whilst we might be inspired by the thought...

How to Manage Return to Work Priorities After a Break Away

While taking breaks during the workday is a very important part of a productive work schedule, it can often be difficult to get back into a workflow once you’ve taken a break and returned to your desk. Sometimes it can be difficult to pick up where we left off when we get back to work, having left tasks incomplete that required a consistent train of thought to get done. While it can be difficult to get back into it after taking a break, it’s important to develop the necessary skills to manage this transition, for example by organising your day so that certain tasks are completed in the morning, and some in the afternoon. How you organise your day obviously depends on your personal work rhythms and what you do for a living and figuring out what works best for you can also require some trial and error. However, by testing out different ways of managing your day, you can create a more effective work schedule that allows you to get the most out of your working hours, and not feel like it’s always a struggle to get back to work after you’ve taken some time out. To make our workdays more enjoyable and productive, with ample time to re-energise, here are five tips to keep in mind when returning to work priorities after a break away: 1. Time Your Breaks While we all know that we should take breaks during the day to be more productive, it’s important to be strategic about these breaks in order to be as effective as possible. It’s one thing to take a...

Managing Email: Using Categories in Outlook and Gmail

We all know how much time email can take up during our day. We often try to focus our time on completing specific tasks but end up monitoring the messages that come into our inbox, constantly distracted by the “new message” icon. While email in the workplace is problematic when it comes to productivity, there are ways to manage your email account that can make it easier to deal with the number of messages coming in. This includes sending less email to receive less, and using applications and organizational systems that streamline the functioning of your inbox. While it is very time consuming to manage messages that come straight to one general inbox, filtering your messages and breaking up your emails into categories can be a very helpful way to manage your emails more effectively. Often though, we don’t have the time to sort through all of our messages manually, which is why applications that automatically sort out the emails in your inbox can be very effective at simplifying your workday and making you more productive. While email is very difficult to stop using in a world so accustomed to using it, in an effort to make email easier here are five of the most popular ways to organise your inbox in both Gmail and Outlook: 1. Make Better Use of Gmail Tabs Gmail introduced a new layout system in 2013 that automatically included three tabs, which divides your inbox into three default sections, namely Primary, Social and Promotions. Primary emails are those considered general by Gmail’s default filters, with Social being emails sent from social networking sites and...

Task Management: 101

Some people love them. Some people hate them. Some people have never thought about what their personal definition of a task is. For simplicity’s sake: a task is any form of work that you need to complete for yourself, the team or a boss. It is what makes money magically appear in your pocket at the end of every month. But hang on a minute! It’s slightly more complex than that. Let’s take a step back, put our strategy heads on and think about tasks from a few different angles first: 1. Emails are not Tasks People use their inbox as their task list. Emails are not tasks. Some emails may contain tasks but they are not tasks in and of themselves. Email is a form of communication. Communicating may be a task but it seldom is the most important task on any given day. 2.Understand Different Types of Information Because people use their inbox as their primary task list, it is important to dissect what is flowing into an inbox. Email is a communication form so what fills up an inbox up is information. The information found in an inbox can be split into three main categories: tasks, thinking or brainstorming strategic information and push information. Tasks are any types of information where a specific action and outcome is required from another person. Thinking or brainstorming and strategic information is any type of information that needs to be referred back to. Generally information needs to be referred back to because it is administrative in nature such as processes or passwords or because it is an idea or a...