Some tasks we perform are unique. We do them once, break new ground, innovate and develop something new. But, most people also perform tasks which they have done before, will do now and then again at some point.
If they are single to-do-tasks we can set them as recurring tasks in our digital to-do-list-tool, but how do we simplify and split it up if it concerns a more extensive task (which in turn consist of smaller to-do-tasks done over a longer period of time), tasks which are really more like projects than tasks, or a process which we need to do from time to time?
Since we want to spend as little time as possible on administrating our structure and as much as possible on getting things done, how can we avoid writing to-do-tasks for all the smaller steps included in the larger processes, yet not have to remember them?
What am I really saying here?
For me this can concern a lecture I will give at a company. A similar assignment will for example consist of twelve to-do-tasks spread out over a period of two months. One of my clients has a comparable project, only hers concerns the staff-conference held every six months which she is responsible for coordinating. For someone else it might be about updating something previously published at a set interval.
Thankfully, we can reuse and make templates out of these more extensive tasks as well. Here are four ways in which this can be done.
- If you write your to-do-tasks on paper you can make a checklist-template with all the to-do-tasks the process consists of, write it out on paper and attach this to the paper/s which constitute your ordinary to-do-list.
- If you keep your to-do-list in a digital format, I see three possibilities:
- Create a digital checklist-template and highlight-copy-paste all the tasks one by one into your digital to-do-list-tool. This way your will at least not have to rewrite the tasks again.
- Or, make a checklist-template in a spreadsheet which includes all the project’s to-do-tasks, and then import the spreadsheet into your to-do-list-tool so that the to-do-tasks are recreated within the tool and you can then add whatever settings, categories and tags you like.
- Some to-do-list-tools, even though they are few in number, have project-templates which you can add (and which will include all the project’s tasks) and then activate it when it is time to run the project, task or process again.
Personally I keep my process-templates in the spreadsheet-program Numbers (for Mac) and I import them into the to-do-list-tool Things by running an Apple Script. It is possible to do this in Excel and then import into Outlook’s Tasks-function as well.
Less administration but more gets done
If you utilize tasks-templates for your recurring processes, you will spend less time writing to-do-tasks which will give you more time to do the tasks.
You can also be more sure that you actually have included all the steps of the process every time you do it.
If you refine the process and change or add steps, you will by using a template automatically remember to apply the altered method, and will be able to enjoy the benefit of this new working-method faster.
How do you minimize the ”composing and adding” of tasks to you list? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.