How To Use Basic Task Management Software to Organize Your Life?
You've probably heard about task management software before. Heck if you've been using Microsoft Outlook (not Outlook Express), you may have noticed you can add and manage tasks from there. Of course, there are also other task management applications and web services that allow you to do the same thing from any computer and even from your phone.
The basic premise of all these apps is the same - set a task and mark it as done (clear it), once you've completed it. And you should really try using that.
Start with shopping
For instance, I used task management app as a shipping list. I simply add all the stuff I need to buy to the list and mark as done (remove them from the list) once I have that product in the shopping basket. It's pretty simple, and there are even dedicated shopping list apps that could help you do that. My idea -- and why I call this section "Start with shopping" -- is that you get used to lists, adding and removing stuff from them.
Have your task lists easily accessible
If you "live in the Outlook" this shouldn't be a problem. Similarly, if you're a GMail addict (like me), you can have your tasks appear in the bottom right part of the screen, ready to be opened with a single click. It should be that easy to access your list, so you can always add something new or remove something old.
Not all tasks have the same priority and not all of them should be on a single list. It's only natural that I have one list for my shopping and the other one for "real" task management, where I put things that needs to be done (not bought). So you can have one list for urgent tasks and another one for those that need your attention during the week. Heck, some people like to sort their lists by date, which could be pretty handy tactic, too.
Slice it up
Your tasks are too big? Slice them up. It is a good practice to split your big tasks into smaller ones (i.e. manageable chunks), which don't take too long to be completed. This way -- once you complete the task -- you'll have the sense of accomplishment and that's something that will take you long way. Big tasks with uncertain deadlines lead nowhere...
Fancy software won't take you anywhere if you don't actually follow through. Then once you've cleared some task, remove it from the list and feel good about yourself. Before actually adding something as a task, select the right list for it and make sure it really gets done on time.
Task management software/service can be a helpful tool, assisting you both in your personal and business life. Once you get used to some software, try expanding its reach to other areas. For instance, if someone from your family is having a birthday this week, add a task like "Buy a present for [NAME]" to your list. This way, you won't have to remember things, leaving you to think about the task on hand (or whatever you happen to be thinking about). And that's the point, to use the technology for what it does best - remembers things, so you don't have to. ;)
[Image from LifeHack]