Over the last several weeks, I’ve been reevaluating my approach to tasks. It seems I’ve been in a rut where I am not as productive as I once was. I decided to get a grip and get my life back. Here are 4 ways to manage tasks and keep productive.
Before we get into the ways to manage your tasks, let’s discuss the first step in the Getting Things Done (GTD) process. The GTD methodology promotes capturing every thought or to do to get it out of your brain and into a manageable process. I use ToDoist as my capturing tool and my to do list. Check it out if you haven’t already and use my referral link here!
Now, on to the good stuff!
One of the first ways to manage tasks is to ask yourself which tasks can be eliminated. There is power in saying “No”, especially if it is not something that brings value to your current job duties. I like to ask myself, “Will this task help me move the needle on my critical priorities?” If the answer is no, I eliminate the task if possible.
Too many times, we overwhelm ourselves taking on tasks that are someone else’s priority. Sure, you may seem like a jerk at first but over time, you will become a productivity ninja and get your life back. After about a month, those I interacted the most with stop bringing tasks to me they knew I would see as worthy of elimination!
Automate what you can
Sometimes you can’t eliminate those life-sucking tasks completely so you’ll need to explore ways to automate those tasks. Remember, your goal is to have your day filled mostly with tasks that will help you move the needle. If you have a monthly or weekly report you need to complete, explore ways to have this automated or at least ways you can condense your reporting requests.
Batch your work
I discovered the process of batching work when I read the 12 Week Year. The methodology is pretty simple: use time blocks to accomplish similar tasks. I tend to use Mondays and Fridays as my administrative and meeting days. I chose Monday mornings and Friday afternoons because typically, I’m not in the most social of moods on Mondays so it gives me a way to hide by focusing on my administrative duties.
On Friday afternoons, I’m usually so socially drained I need a break from being “on” so I focus on wrapping up all of my administrative tasks and begin doing my week in review as well as planning the next week. This leaves me free to spend time recruiting and working on critical projects Tuesday through Thursday.
Batching work has become one of my go-to ways to manage tasks and keep keep productive.
Learn to delegate
If you are like me and have trouble delegating, just know you’re in a good group! “Really talented people who have lots of ideas and are likely to become leaders tend to have trouble with delegation,” says leadership expert Laura Gail Lunsford, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology, University of Arizona. “It’s because they have really high standards and want to make sure everything is done right,” she says.
Although having high standards is never a bad thing, you should reconsider how much control is worth your productivity. I read an article published by Inc.com identifying the Worst Excuses for Not Delegating and decided to change my approach to the topic. Ask yourself if managing the task is mission critical.
The answer should be either HELL YEAH or HELL NO. The HELL NO tasks should be delegated to someone on your team. This is a quick test you can apply and is one of the best ways to manage tasks and keep them from managing you!
Bonus tip: When you struggle delegating a task to your team, shift your mindset and think of it as an opportunity to train someone on your team. This is a great way to pass on your high standards to your team and multiply your passion.
I learned from a wise man that either you manage tasks or they manage you. I hate that this lesson learned early in my career got lost in the hustle of being busy but sometimes it takes chaos to make you think straight.
There are so many ways to manage tasks and keep productive! Try several methods to see which work best for you and stick with it for about 30 days. At the end of the 30 days, do a review and find out what methods worked and which ones didn’t.
Continue this iterative process until you get your productive mojo and say goodbye to the “Busy” days and welcome the “Productive” days.
What are your ways to manage tasks and keep productive? Share them in the comment section below so all of us can learn!