The management of your tasks is an equally important managerial organizational skill that is necessary in ensuring that you and your team function as optimally as possible. Sometimes it seems that our duties come in “feast or famine” waves, and during those times that we are inundated with tasks, it can be a challenge to manage priorities and make certain that everything gets done.
There are countless methods you can implement to manage your tasks, but three are three basic method techniques that everyone should have in place to effectively manage both their short and long term projects and assignments.
The Tickler File
A tickler file is an effective way to organize your paper-related tasks down to the day. To set up a tickler file, you’ll need 31 hanging folders (one for each day of the month) in addition to 12 folders in a different color (one for each month). Place all of these folders in the lower right or left hand file drawer in your desk or other accessible place. Rotate the days of the month (31 folders) so that the current day is the first folder in the box. Put the Jan through Dec folders behind the daily folders and leave them in their chronological order. You will only rotate the daily folders.
At the end of every day make sure the current day’s file is empty. Carry over tasks to the next day. Move tomorrow’s folder to the front, empty out the papers and place them in the vertical holder on your desk. You can implement a similar filing system on your computer, creating main folders/directories and subfolders as well.
Many of us are guilty of using multiple calendars. If at all possible, use only one calendar. It saves time and prevents mistakes from happening. It doesn’t make any difference if it is a carry around pocket calendar, an app on your phone, or a desk calendar. Do whatever works for you, but make sure to keep it current.
The To-Do List
Research indicates that the best time to create a daily to-do list is right before you go home. After you have emptied the day’s tickler folder, make a list of the items that need to be done the next day. The most important items take priority.
A time-management expert, Jeffrey J. Mayer suggests: “As a reminder of tasks to complete, most people leave papers and Post-Its on their desks. Instead of piles of papers, create a list of priorities. You can keep adding new items to the list and, when you finish something, scratch it off. Ask yourself, ‘Which is the most important thing to do?’ After you decide which task to pursue, instead of thinking about it, just do it.”