The easiest way to miss tasks or deadlines is to not have a structured daily/weekly plan. Many business owners struggle with task management so I’ve thrown together this quick read to help you organizing your daily tasks.
Have you ever been given a task that completely slips your mind until you’re reminded of it during a business meeting? How about the other way around… have you ever assigned a task to someone but it doesn’t get done until you remind the person you assigned it to? Truth is, there is too much that goes into our busy days to depend on our memory. It’s virtually impossible to remember all the tasks encountered throughout the day, including personal & professional. Whether it’s something you remember you need to do, or something someone asks you to do, find a task management system that works for you and stick with it. Below I share the strategies I use so I never miss a task.
On The Road:I used to lay up in the middle of the night and inconveniently remember all the things I forgot to do during the day. My mind would dance in circles as I would repeatedly remind myself what I need to do tomorrow. However, once I woke up I would completely forget about all the things that kept me up the night before. This not only left me vulnerable to saying things and not delivering on them, but it turned me into a big ball of anxiety, until I found a system that worked for me.
There are many free apps you can download onto your phone to keep track of tasks but I just use the basic free app that came pre-installed with my iPhone – “Reminders”. I love this app because I can set specific days and times to be reminded of different things I need to do. If it comes to me at night or while I am on the road, I have this app easily accessible as one of my main go-to’s, along with email, texting, and phone calls. My ability to keep all those little red bubble notifications clear from all of the apps on my phone allows me to clearly see if there is a reminder that is past due (a little red bubble notification pops up). Are you guilty of having the little red notification bubbles all over your phone? Follow these steps to get rid of all the clutter and only allow notifications for things that truly matter and demand your attention:
- Turn off notifications for all apps you don’t really need notifications for.
- Set up folder triggers in your email or organize your inbox on a daily/weekly basis.
- Don’t just leave notifications sitting on your phone for days, develop the discipline to check through regularly and clear out anything unnecessary. The red notification bubbles are worthless if you check your phone and there are always notifications sitting there.
- Cant find where the notification is coming from? Don’t just leave it, either take the time to find it or uninstall then reinstall the app.
In the Office: Professional tasks are handled a little differently. It depends where the task is coming from (email or other) which determines the best way to ensure your professional tasks never slip through the cracks.
- Email (Desktop Outlook)- If you use Outlook and you’re using the desktop version, there is a feature to display flagged emails on the main screen. This prevents you needing to remember to view your flagged emails, something I used to be terrible at. This does NOT work for Mac users and you have to be on the desktop Outlook, not the Online version. On the top task toolbar, there is a To-Do view which allows you to view the flagged emails directly to the right of all your emails. You can organize them by day (due today, tomorrow, next week) allowing you to clearly see what you need to be working on which day. You can change the tagline so you can easily know what the task is regarding ( Prospect Follow Up – Jim), and you can organize them by priority. When reading an email, if the email is a task you need to act on but not immediately, flagging you email will place the message to the right, from there you can modify the due date and the name of the task so you can easily identify. The easier you make this process, the higher the probability you will never miss a task.
- Email & Other- If you don’t have Desktop Outlook, the process is not quite as simple, but not too complex. I use something I call my Deliverables Worksheet. This is just an excel spreadsheet I use to add tasks with an anticipated due date and actual due date. The beauty with this is you can organize the excel spreadsheet to whatever makes the most sense for you. For example, If I am working with 5 different clients, I have various tasks I need to work on for each of the 5 clients. At the bottom, I create tabs for my different clients and then can either break down the tasks into sections, if necessary, or just keep adding items to your list. Be sure to include when you anticipate to complete the task so you stay on track. I pick specific days/times throughout the week that I look at my Deliverables Worksheet to identify what I should be working on when.
How Do I Implement the Tasks into My Schedule?
Here, I am going to share my task efficiency secrets with you: I have my weekly calendar broken down into blocks. I first break my week down into categories (Client A, Client B, Client C or Marketing, Networking, Business Development – for example). Once I have my categories, I figure out how much time I should be dedicating to that category per week then find the most optimal times for me to work on that category. Once I have my blocks figured out, I plug them into my upcoming weeks schedule. Each Friday I look through all my client tasks, or “deliverables”, and then I put them into the description of the time block in the upcoming week. When the time comes for me to work on that category, all the things I need to be doing are listed right there for me. What I get done I highlight in green and what I don’t get done, I highlight in red and also add to a future time block designated for that category. Another thing to remember is that your calendar should change and be refined over weeks. Putting a block somewhere during the week may seem like a good spot but recognize if it is in the appropriate spot and for the appropriate amount of time. When working through your blocks, its crucial to change your block time to reflect how much time you really did dedicate so you can get a true visual of how much time you spend on what. Color coding your categories helps to clearly confirm that you’re dedicating the right amount of time to your categories.
A perfect, and real, example is me setting aside time for marketing with Evolving Enterprises, LLC. I historically have dedicated about 4 hours every Friday morning from 7am-11am to work on various marketing tasks, such as writing blogs like this one. Well, if you look back, my “weekly tips” have not been weekly recently. No, it’s not because I got tired of making my weekly videos.. I simply had this block of time in an inappropriate spot during the week. While I was reserving Monday and Fridays for networking, Friday mornings seemed to be getting constantly replaced with coffee dates. Granted, I’m not having breakfast with a fellow networker at 7am, but the late evening networking events on Thursdays has to be taken into consideration now as well. Needless to say, the fact that I was able to look back to see the repeat trends allowed me to easily identify what was going on. I have since changed this time block and will repeat the process until I find the most optimal time during the week for me to dedicate to this category.
Between keeping all of your tasks organized and in an easily accessible location – somewhere you look all the time, and maintaining your weekly calendar as discussed in this article, you should never miss a task again. Please provide feedback or ask any questions below. I would LOVE to hear what some of the struggles you encounter with your tasks, are.
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If you are a business owner looking to grow your business, feel free to contact me with any questions!
Email me! Tiffany has been successfully helping businesses grow since the early age of 16 years old. She quickly discovered her ability to identify inefficiencies and improve operations in an effort to decrease stress and improve the overall quality of work life, which she noticed was lacking in her first place of employment. She went on to start her own in-house ballroom dance business which she ran for 5 years.
After graduating from GMU with a bachelor’s in business management, she accepted a position at a construction company acting as the Director of Operations to which she re-engineered the entire foundation, increasing the company’s annual net revenue from 4 to 12.5 million dollars.
Tiffany owns Evolving Enterprises with her husband, Rick Carroll, and their mission is to raise awareness and educate business owners on how to establish a strong foundation in their businesses, and the importance behind it, using Evolving Enterprises proven Foundation Building method.
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