Every few months I tend to reshuffle how I keep track of my projects and tasks. I’ve gone through that reshuffling process over the last few weeks and settled into a groove that’s working really well for me right now. Here’s what I’m doing.
Track Progress on Major Tasks and Projects in Trello
I use Trello to keep track of virtually any project or task I’m working on that has multiple steps. I’m using two Trello boards at this point:
- A shared board used by the Operations team
- A private board
The shared board I use for the majority of my trackable projects and major tasks. There is a list on that board simply called “Jon’s Active List” and it contains most of my active work projects.
The private board I use for tasks that are sensitive or that I’m not ready to unveil quite yet. I also use that board to jot down notes of things I want to talk about in my recurring meetings.
Identify the Week’s Top Priorities in Writing
On Monday of each week I jot down my top priorities for the week. I try to be realistic with these priorities. Provided my week goes mostly according to plan, I should accomplish all of these priorities.
I do this on paper. I have a couple of nice journal style notebooks with dot grid paper that I bought off of Amazon that I use for this purpose. Each week I turn over a new page and jot down my top priorities at the top of the lefthand page.
Identify Each Day’s Top Priorities in Writing
At the start of each day, using the same notebook where I jotted down my top priorities for the week, I jot down my primary to-do’s for the day. On Monday, I start right under my weekly priorities. My Tuesday to-do’s are listed under Monday’s, and so forth for the duration of the week.
What I end up with at the end of the week is a nice summary of what I accomplished over the past week on a two-page spread.
My daily to-do’s come from a combination of places:
- My list of weekly priorities.
- The two Trello boards I mentioned earlier.
- Slack messages.
My daily to-do list is really where the rubber meets the road in terms of task management. All the tasks I process, aside from attending meetings, processing miscellaneous routine tasks, and responding to simple messages in Slack and email, should be listed on my to-do list. Basically, if something is going to take more than about 10 minutes, it will usually be listed on my daily to-do list.
Use Slack Reminders to Avoid Losing Track of Small Asks
On a typical day I answer a couple dozen questions and requests in Slack. Some just need a few seconds and are easy to answer – these I answer immediately. Others need several minutes or even an hour or two of reflection, and I often need to come back to these types of requests at a later time. It’s easy to lose track of these requests that need more time. So when I encounter one of these requests I do two things:
- I jot them down on my daily to-do list.
- I use Slack’s built in reminder system to remind me of the request later in the day or the next day.
Task Management: A Constant Work in Progress
For me, task management is a constant work in progress. I really like the system I have right now and it works really well for me. However, Kinsta just keeps right on growing, which means my responsibilities keep right on changing, and sooner or later this system won’t make sense anymore and the reshuffling process will restart.