Tasks Balancing Act
The daily grind, for most of us, can feel like a constant juggling act. You attempt to balance work, household chores, bills, family – and hopefully some leisure in between if there’s any time leftover. In fact, trying to find time for things you enjoy – or for projects to improve yourself – can often feel impossible. And you could feel it’s incredibly frustrating to not move forward with things you truly value. Besides, It’s just as frustrating for you to get stuck under a tower of tasks that never seems to get any smaller…
Did you know that an online poll by the Mental Health Foundation found that “in the past year, 74% of people have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope”. In addition, a report by ACAS, the workplace experts, had similar findings. You might be surprised to further know that 66% of poll respondents, had felt stressed or anxious about work over the past year – and that 35% struggled to balance home and work lives. This, in turn, encouraged us to look into a helpful and less disheartening way to improve task organisation.
Tasks Apps and Tools
One example of this is for you, to embrace online apps and tools available to you. As these can support your progress, and break an expanding task list into manageable segments. What this then does, is to prevent you from falling into the pattern of trying to complete multiple tasks simultaneously, while considering other items that may need to be started soon. This is a common mistake that can lead you to feel overwhelmed. As your effort to move forward becomes mentally taxing and prevents your progress. So, we encourage you to condense the mass of tasks you may currently be working on, into a more manageable and visually pleasing format. And to help you do that, you could use scheduling style techniques, such as Personal Kanban, and post-it note-style tools, like Trello boards. Both strategies encourage you to break down your to-do list into two main areas – which are followed by a “done” or “complete” column.
Right, so you should use this column (or two columns if you would like to separate your ideas from the general to-do list) for everything you currently have pending. Trello will allow you to organise this further, with handy coloured labels and due dates, etc. If you actually view this list alone, you can unfortunately slip back into your habit of trying to tackle as many tasks as possible, and struggle to complete tasks at a standard you’re happy with.
Carrying on, the “In Progress” list, according to the Personal Kanban, should be restricted to three tasks. Effectively allowing you to clearly focus on your tasks, and also giving you the ability to complete them, without reaching a mental block. You should resist the temptation to add any more than three, or to add tasks that should be broken down into multiple tasks. For example, if your task is to start a new business or write a new business strategy, it will obstruct your progress instantly. These need to be broken down further.
Although this column may appear self-explanatory, not all your tasks are indefinitely complete. For example, self-assessment is an annual business task you complete on a yearly basis. Once you have completed it, you can then add a due date, and, once relevant, you can move the card back to the To Do column. For your other completed tasks, it’s simply rewarding to see them move over to the completed column. And enjoy the sense of satisfaction as the list grows!
We hope this simple concept can help you manage your planning and task lists.