Given today’s endless selection of readily available “to-do” apps, it’s mind-boggling to hear people saying “Oh, I forgot about this or that task”. Yet, people frequently forget to attend to important tasks day in day out. Go figure!
“Forgetting” a task is no joke! It not only lessens your value to the company as a reliable resource, but it can also have a detrimental impact on your teams’ work-flow. Although this all may sound trivial, here are some tips so you’ll never forget a task again, and more importantly, to make sure you’ll get your important chores done in time and on schedule.
The basics: use a to-do list tool
There’s no excuse; you can use a simple to-do list such as recording everything you have to do on a notepad, or a more sophisticated program like an app that synchronizes your phone with your computer. We strongly recommend the latter, especially if you’re a busy bee and have lots of stuff on your plate.
The options are endless, but they all have the same purpose; to make sure nothing falls between the cracks. What’s important here though is to make a commitment to keep using whatever you chose to use at all times. (This is why it’s import to use a system that synchronizes between your various computers, smart phones, and tablets.)
Record everything that comes to mind
Technology is making our brain sluggish in remembering. You might think of something that needs to get done one minute, and forget it right away in a heartbeat after you got that notification that someone made a post on your Facebook page.
The minute you remember something, grab your phone and record an entry in your task list. It doesn’t have to have all the right attributes right away either; you can create an “inbox” folder which you then tackle each evening before you leave work to organize whatever’s in there, such as moving it to the appropriate list, assigning a due date, and prioritize its urgency.
Prioritize and schedule
Not all tasks are equally important, and not all tasks need to get done today. An over-bloated task list can be as counter-productive as not having one at all.
Ideally, before you wrap up the day, go through your to-do list and determine which ones must be done tomorrow and in what priority. Mark those tasks that are critical with “high priority” and don’t leave the office until those are done. And if you find yourself staying late more often than not, you’ll know you are either overworked or you have a time-management issue you need to deal with.
Schedule appointments for important tasks
Some tasks are so important that they warrant a slot on your calendar (as opposed on your task list). This will accomplish two important purposes; your colleagues won’t schedule meetings with you during these time, and you get the benefit of being able to work on an important task with full concentration and no interruptions because you have to appropriate amount allocated.
Don’t roll over past due tasks
If there’s a particular task you couldn’t finish today, don’t move it to tomorrow’s to-do list. Keep it right where it is so it appears in red and as “late” tomorrow. This way, you’ll feel a healthy sense of urgency in getting it done tomorrow, and besides, this task has now suddenly become a “high priority” one since it’s already late.
Don’t forget to check those tasks that don’t have due dates
There will always be things you need to get done but not by a particular deadline. They’re just tasks that must be done eventually. It’s good practice to group those together so they’re documented. However, because they have no due dates, it’ll be easy to forget about them nevertheless.
To prevent this from happening, schedule a weekly task which reminds you to review your timeless to-dos and assign start and due dates based on your availability during the coming month. They’re great time fillers and will keep you busy in slower times.
About the Author
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