Leaders get things done. Whether you work in ministry or business, to be successful, you must know to get something done and must execute to do it. Everyone in this position believes in lists, but here’s a specific tip on that which helps me tremendously.
One of my favorite tips for productivity: Whatever the system you choose for it – software, paper, Evernote, mobile app, whiteboard, whatever you use, keep one giant task list.
I’m serious. I believe in the power of keeping one task list and I want to tell you why. I’m not saying this is the only way to do it, or that you can’t divide it up some, but I’m saying keep one giant list. Here is why and a bit of how.
Why You Should Keep One Giant Task List
I know not everyone has the same amount of things to do in a week, and you may have a variety of different tasks to do. Yet regardless of the variety or quantity of the tasks, one of the best things you can do for your sanity is keep this giant, all inclusive list.
I recently finished up an interview process for a new job that will require me to manage multiple tasks and projects. So naturally, during the interview process one of the questions I was asked was how I do with handling tasks and projects. I was glad I had an answer ready.
I simply explained that I firmly believe in using the tools that are available to you. Meaning, I actually use mobile applications for this that sync everything I do in with my Google Tasks. I’ll tell you those apps in a minute, but first I want to tell you why I do this.
I dump every task I get into one giant list for a few reasons:
- It gives me only one place to go to when I need to put something down!
This is super important, if you first have to think of where something goes and why, it’s likely you’ll forget details about the actual task itself. Also, if you record things in multiple places, it will spread you out – which brings me to my next point.
- It gives me only one place to go to find what I need to do!
Even more important than recording the task is finding the task you need to complete or reference again. If you’re in multiple places, it’s much more likely you won’t remember where to go and you’ll miss getting it done.
- It’s good for my sanity and peace to have a catch all bucket for things.
No, I’m not repeating the above points, I’m saying for my mental peace, which is a bit different than my productivity but definitely affects it. I’m able to relax simply because I can hop in that bucket and find something to focus on anything I need. Nothing is lost. I can always find my next task. I never have an excuse to be “bored” – whatever that means. So I can rest when I need as well.
- When everything is one place, it’s easy to compare and prioritize it.
Yea you can divide things out if you’d like – nothing wrong with that – but when you have all your tasks together you can prioritize what’s in that “bucket”. Let’s face it: tweaking that thing on your blog, isn’t as important as painting your house, and the house isn’t as important as calling that person that needs ya.
- Checking things off this list is always refreshing and motivating.
Sometimes, because this list is so large, it will be a while before I get things checked off. However, when I’m needing a mental refresh I’ll dive into this list and check things off like crazy and it gets me pumped! Then I’m more motivated to beast out some more projects or tasks!
How To Do This & A Few Mobile Apps To Help
The method you use for keeping this list isn’t as important as simply doing it, but I’d definitely have some recommendations for you.
While I’m an avid whiteboard fan, I think when it comes to this giant list, it’s important to use the technology to make this searchable! In light of this, here would be my top suggestions:
- Evernote – I’ve got to write some more on this amazing app, but it’s hands down my favorite app in existence. Use it and you’ll see why it rocks for this. It rocks for everything.
- Google Tasks (and apps that link with it) – This is actually what I do because it’s simple to add to it from my email as well as my mobile phone. While Google Tasks is a web resource built into Google, some mobile apps could be GTasks or Tasks on Android and MyTasks and gTasks on iOS.
There are dozens of task management apps, but the integration with Google Tasks for me is a must. It may not need to be for you. Simply choose your favorite and let me know what you choose!
So some of these apps will even let you divide things within the giant list itself, and I love this! It makes it even more organized but still collected together. This makes it simple to pull tasks out to plug into other places as I need… like my whiteboards! :)
In my next post on productivity, I’ll explain the best way I’ve found for me to prioritize and organize tasks within this master list or in separate places and lists.
Cause after all, collecting them is step one but doing them is step two – and you haven’t done anything until you’ve actually done something. Ha! #writethatdown
Do you use this method of task management? What method do you use for recording all your tasks and lists?