Task management includes how you organize, prioritize, and execute your tasks. The following are solutions at a glance for task management:
How to manage your tasks
The key to managing tasks is making them scannable. Don’t mix action items with reference information. Factor out reference from action; this way, you are able to quickly sift through your potential action items. It should be easy to scan your tasks, and it should be easy to re-sort your list if needed. Another key is to have one place to look. A test is whether you can quickly find the relevant actions for a given objective, and whether you can quickly figure out the next best thing to do without working too hard.
How to prioritize your tasks
Prioritize your tasks against outcomes. Let things slough off if they get in the way of your best results. Focus on your next best thing to do, and results will take care of themselves. The more you spend your time doing your next best thing, the more you will build momentum and achieve your meaningful results.
How to manage your plate
Manage your plate by learning your capacity and don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start by setting time limits for your week. This way, you can use time as a budget to spend on your tasks. For example, if you set a limit of 40 – 50 hours for the week, then that’s your time budget for results at work. This gives you a way to prioritize, focus on the vital few, and push back where it makes sense.
How to say no
Rather than saying no, focus on what you would need to say yes. For example, what resources or time would you need to take this on? Or, what would you need to drop to be able to work on this? When you think in terms of negotiating your results, you get out of defensive mode and into opportunity mode. You open the door for more creative possibilities. Most importantly, you get a good handle on how to think about managing what’s on your plate, as well as setting and resetting expectations.