One of the first questions I ask a new productivity coaching client is: How are you currently managing your tasks?
- I have this notepad…They are in this pile of paper… I have sticky notes…
- My email inbox is my task list… I mark the items unread… I flag…
- I do it right away so I won’t forget…I wait until I am reminded…
- I mark it on my calendar…I work on weekends…
- I’m not managing my tasks…
People who come to me for productivity coaching are generally getting things done. They would not be gainfully employed if they weren’t.
They are throwing more and more hours at their problems. Eventually, they run out of hours, out of patience, out of sanity. Like Bob, for instance…
I met with a client yesterday who took me on a virtual tour of his task management systems. We looked at his Outlook Tasks, OneNote tasks, notes on PowerPoint slides, Calendar entries at 7:00 pm every night, and so on.
He was using almost every tool that Microsoft could offer. My first piece of advice to him was:
Pick one task management tool.
Compare these two scenarios:
Having one task management tool is faster and more brainless. You’ll experience less decision fatigue.
Having one task management tool allows you to weigh your priorities more effectively. All the beasties are in one cage ready to do battle with each other (cognitively, of course).
Having one task management tool allows you to better communicate to the powers that be that you are overloaded. Your requests for additional resources will sound much less like whining.
Having one task management tool makes it much less likely that you will “lose” your action items in the chaos.
Having multiple task management tools is the biggest productivity fallacy I encounter.
And make sure your one (and only) task management tool…
- Is integrated into your daily work rituals.
- Allows you to streamline how you process your email.
- Is secure and can safely hold confidential information.
Because a car is only as good as its driver.
Are you ready to get serious about doing the right things AND doing things right?
Check out my eBook Corral Your To-Dos: and don’t rely on your brain – at all.
Melissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.