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04 Aug

No need to write down what you have to do

Datum: 2015-08-04 12:03

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.

Do this
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.

And you?
How do you min­i­mize the com­pos­ing and adding” of tasks to you list? Leave a com­ment and share your thoughts.