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05 Sep

How you obtain a single to-do-list, in spite of also using a project management tool

Datum: 2017-09-05 16:36

The num­ber of alter­na­tives of col­lab­o­ra­tion- and project man­age­ment tools just keeps increas­ing as new ser­vices are devel­oped. On the top of my head I come to think of Jira, Trel­lo, PodioAsana, Azen­doo, Base­camp, Dapulse, Easy Projects, Smartsheet, Pro­ject­place, and Kan­ban­Flow — as you can see, there are quite a few to choose from.

By the way, a very inter­est­ing tool that I have dis­cov­ered recent­ly is Milan­ote — a col­lab­o­ra­tion tool espe­cial­ly suit­able for cre­ative organ­i­sa­tions. In it, you cre­ate boards on which you can place images, tasks, sketch­es, files, texts, notes et c even more freely than what is pos­si­ble in kan­ban board” tools such as Plan­ner and Trel­lo. It is for instance a great fit for design­ers who work in teams remotely.

Mul­ti­fac­eted responsibilities
If you use an online project man­age­ment tool in your com­pa­ny and you receive tasks relat­ed to the projects you are part of through it (in the form of tasks, issues, cards or the likes), you might not be able to include all the things you have to do in the tool, since you might have oth­er things to do as well, things that have noth­ing to do with the projects man­aged in the tool. Or per­haps you only spend half your work time on the projects and the oth­er half doing some­thing com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent? Or, per­haps you are involved in sev­er­al projects man­aged by dif­fer­ent clients and the tasks are there­fore split between the dif­fer­ent tools the clients use?

One thing here, anoth­er thing there
How are you sup­posed to keep track of and get a com­pre­hen­sive overview of all the things you have to do in an easy, effort­less way? The more places you have to look in to see what tasks you have to do, the hard­er it is to get the right things done at the right time. You might do a task, and then real­ize that you should have spent that pre­cious time doing anoth­er, more impor­tant tasks with high­er pri­or­i­ty instead.

One solu­tion is of course to use the project man­age­ment tool as a kind of to-do-list and gath­er all your tasks in the tool — even if you will include tasks that have noth­ing to do with the project(s) as well, but at least get a com­pre­hen­sive list of all your tasks. But, per­haps the inter­face isn’t to your lik­ing or you might want to keep the tool free from any­thing not con­cerned with the projects.

Zapi­er will take care of it
If you choose your tools care­ful­ly, there is a way of avoid­ing hav­ing sev­er­al lists and merge them all into one. Late­ly I have grown increas­ing­ly fas­ci­nat­ed by the ser­vice Zapi­er and how it enables me to con­nect sev­er­al oth­er ser­vices with each oth­er, which in this case would be con­nect­ing the project man­age­ment tool with the to-do-list tool you use (which at the moment can be one of the fol­low­ing: Todoist, Wun­derlist, Nozbe, Google Tasks, Too­dle­do or Omni­fo­cus, but not yet Outlook’s tasks-function).

The point of the ser­vice is that you can allow Zapi­er to add a new to-do-task in for instance Todoist when you are assigned an issue in Jira. You will obtain a com­plete list in Todoist, con­sist­ing of all the tasks you have been made respon­si­ble for in Jira, as well as all the things you have do to that are not list­ed in Jira.

A sin­gle list! Now we’re talking!

Do this
If you are not using any of these tools, I under­stand if this tip hasn’t made any sense. But to the one for whom this all rings a bell, this tip prob­a­bly sounds like sweet music to your ears. If that is the case, do this:

  1. Sign up for a free account on Zapi­er.

  2. Cre­ate a recipe, a zap (trust me, it’s easy), that cre­ates a new task in your to-do-list when you have been assigned some­thing in the project man­age­ment tool. If the activ­i­ties or issues cre­at­ed in the project man­age­ment tool are usu­al­ly more exten­sive than a reg­u­lar to-do-task, you can also let Zapi­er cre­ate a project in the to-do-list tool instead, and then man­u­al­ly divide it into the tasks the project con­sist of.

  3. Turn on the zap and try it!

If you man­age to gath­er all the things you have to do in a sin­gle list, in spite of work­ing togeth­er with oth­ers in one or sev­er­al project man­age­ment tools, you will get a much bet­ter overview of all the things you are respon­si­ble for doing. Instead of hav­ing to look both here and there in order to iden­ti­fy what the next right task to do is, you can just open your one to-do today”-list and see it all in one sin­gle loca­tion ‑regard­less where the tasks came from and what they concern.

What is your best tip?
How do you han­dle the sit­u­a­tion of hav­ing many tasks in sev­er­al dif­fer­ent tools? Do you have some oth­er idea of how to solve this com­mon prob­lem? Pass your tip for­ward in a comment.