All too often I hear friends and colleagues report that their task lists overwhelm them, both professionally and personally. If like me, you work in the kind of job where it is expected that you manage a number of projects concurrently, it can sometimes feel dispiritingly difficult to gain clarity. There are always tasks that are left unfinished, tasks that need urgent attention, tasks that need to be deleted altogether and then yet more tasks that haven’t even been thought of yet, that need adding to the never ending list!
Thankfully, with some assistance from project management professionals, there are pieces of equipment that will simplify these busy workloads, so that you feel less stressed and can be more productive. It takes a little time to prepare, but believe me it is worth the effort in the long run.
1. Pin board
My first tip has to be, you must get things visual. Linear lists have their place, but for many of us, our brains don’t work so well with them. If you can add imagery to a task or list, you are far more likely to engage with it. So get things up on the wall – your mood boards, client letters, notes, inspirational pictures, the lot. So the number one piece of equipment would be a great big pin board.
2. Notice board
The number two piece i couldn’t work without would be Nobo boards. They manufacture my favourite magnetic whiteboard, and it is a high quality tool that will raise your game. It takes marker pen fluently, and is exceedingly easy to clean again with a light wipe of a cloth. Alongside my notes, lists and sketches on the board, I can then attach meaningful pictures or cards with magnets.
The third piece of equipment should be an app that can help you simply work out what needs to be done next. You can use apps in much the same way as you would use the wall or whiteboard, but they can of course be carried around with you in your laptop or smart phone.
A favourite of mine would be Trello, it has pleasingly clean graphics and is highly intuitive to use. The idea of Trello is that you section your project into stages, by giving each stage a heading on a card. You can then add tasks to the relevant card, then with a swipe of a finger or simple mouse click, move the task along each stage by gliding it from one card to another.
It’s easy to monitor progress this way and feel the warm glow of nearing your goal! Other friends speak highly of another app named Asana, so do check either of those out.
4. Sticky notes
Lastly, the fourth item I’m recommending has to be good old sticky notes – they are tried and tested and used by everyone. All of these methods and tips are only as useful as you choose to make them though.
It’s so important to monitor and refresh your whiteboard, pin board, app or sticky notes every day, so that you stay engaged and familiar with each task. Otherwise, you risk letting tasks become irrelevant, and you may find the job of cleaning up an out-of-date board just too much effort.
It’s important to enjoy the refreshing clarity these tools can bring, so use them little and often, and you will soon notice life gets a whole lot easier!