With so many options available, how do you know which task management tool is the best for you? Let's discuss some of the factors you should consider.
How Do You Know Which Task Management Tool Is the Best?
I’ve mentioned various task management systems in previous episodes and variable methods of making those task managers work for you. (Check out Task Management Options – TPW030 and 10 Indispensible Productivity Tools — TPW012) I don’t believe there’s any one right tool for everyone. The best tool is the one you’ll actually use.
Before you start looking for a new task manager, look at what’s already available for you.
- Apple devices: Calendar, Reminders, Notes
- Windows-based: Outlook
- For those with Android devices, I’d love to hear what Apps come on your device that can be used for task management. Comment below or email me.
“It’s not the tool that’s the key, but the user.”
When to look for a different task manager
- If you’re not feeling you’re keeping up with your daily or weekly tasks.
- If you’re spending too much time managing the tool itself.
- Take a look at why your current task management tool isn’t working
- What do you need your task manager to do?
- If your lifestyle doesn’t match your current system of task management.
- How many hats do you wear?
- What is your life like and how do you spend your days?
- What types of tasks need to be completed?
- Example: A single women with a career may need a simple system for keeping her work life managed. A working mother with school-aged children and extra activities may need something more advanced and robust.
Paper or electronic?
- What works for some may not work for others; neither system is better than the other.
- The choice depends on your personality and preference.
- Consider this: “Do I need to access tasks from more than one location?”
Advantages of Electronic:
- Can be synced across multiple devices
- Easier to sort and organize
- Can be set up to give alerts and reminders
What I use:
Advantages of Paper:
- Quick and easy access
- Can be as simple as a grocery list and calendar on the fridge
- Can be used to scribble notes next to tasks
- Doesn’t rely on batteries or an electronic input
Sources for paper planners:
- Franklin Covey planners
- Day Runner planners
- Day-Timer planners
- I recently discovered the Brilliant Business Planner — looks both effective and pretty; don't let the title fool you: it's designed to let women easily manage both professional and personal projects
- You can read about other paper planners at 7 Perfect Planners to Buy for 2015.
What purpose do you want your planner to fill?
- Do you have just a few tasks or more during the week?
- Are your tasks static or do they change day-to-day?
- Do you need to collaborate with others, such as coworkers?
What kind of a thinker are you?
- Linear: You need tasks listed in order or operations
- Visual: You need tasks represented visually, such as on a whiteboard
- Another way of task management for visual thinkers if mind mapping, like the tool MindNode
- Other mind mapping tools can be found at Organize your thoughts and ideas with this list of the 15 best mind mapping tools
- Look at the different options to determine which is most appealing to you.
- Which options look like something you could see yourself using on your phone or desktop?
- Which option can you see yourself being consistent with?
- Whatever tool you choose, the key is being consistent and being able to capture a thought or task into your tool as soon as possible.
- You can process these tasks on your to-do list later, when you have time to analyze, archive or delegate into the proper list.
- Review your tasks. Do a quick scan daily and a more thorough scan once a week to make sure nothing gets forgotten.
- Keep your task management system as simple as possible, but as robust as necessary for yourself.
- As your needs develop, look into other options with more features.
- The most important thing is not the tool, but how you use it and how consistent you are.
What do you think?Click here to discover my favorite apps!
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