Managing tasks & deliverables

Shawnee Love   •  
August 4, 2011

Just back from vacation and feeling a bit like that guy in Memento who had notes everywhere to remind him of what was going on. I admit, I have multiple systems for tracking and managing my deliverables and tasks and coming back from vacation has shown the chink in the armour-  Multiple overlapping systems are inefficient and confusing.

I am using 4 systems:

  1. Outlook Task List & Calendar
  2. Excel Project Management Worksheet
  3. Piles of files in order of priority
  4. To do list (often on post it notes, but for my vacation I combined it into two pages of lists)

You may ask why I use 4 systems when it is likely any one system will work.  The logical answer I keep telling myself is that I am trying to figure out which system works best for me.

The emotional answer which probably closer to the truth is that I am a bit anal about following through on my promises, and I don’t trust any one system to ensure I don’t miss deadlines.  Multiple systems give me the confidence I won’t miss anything.

Unfortunately, although these systems may be effective at preventing things from slipping through the cracks (I hope),  I am wasting a fair bit of time trying to figure out what I have already done because I haven’t closed it, deleted it, filed it, and/or ticked it off in all the systems each time I finish something.

A  time management system needs to be efficient and effective in order to be good, the question is which one to choose.

How do you ensure you keep on top of your tasks and deliverables? Which one would you choose and why?