Saturday, 5 April 2008

Identifying your tasks

Step 1 – Identifying your tasks

The simplest approach to this step is identifying the tasks in a task list or ‘to-do’ list. These can simply be crossed off when completed. There is a vast array of methods of doing this; often the best are usually basic options such as a notepad or white board. However, if you need to manage many complex tasks, many software programmes now exist to hold your task list and allow you to assign priority to them and define them in more detail, with a hierarchy of sub-tasks. These can be part of a timesheet suite or dedicated software.

A key part of identifying the tasks is to select any which you regularly put off or delay. These either need to be divided into sub tasks to allow you to complete the tasks in achievable chunks, or reviewed to identify why you put them off. Often recording the positive benefits of having completed the task will help to get it completed.

Similarly, lengthy tasks with distant deadlines need to be broken into smaller tasks to ensure that they are not overlooked and you can see progress on a weekly or monthly basis.

When considering the list of tasks, those you regularly complete need only be recorded when they are of a significant importance. Most routine tasks can be discarded, particularly if you complete them daily.

It is also important to remove tasks that realistically you will never complete; otherwise the progress will be making will be hidden by the constant presence of these unachievable tasks.

Finally, try to include a task you like to complete on a weekly basis, possibly the last task for the week. This can be a good driver to complete your task, even those you are not looking forward to doing.

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