For me, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Outlook’s task manager. I bet many of you use Outlook at work but never noticed the task manager module! What I love most about it is I can manage my calendar, email, and tasks all in one application. I can receive an email, turn it into a task with one click, and attach the email and any other relevant files right to the task. This way, when I’m ready to work on the task, I have everything in one place. If you have never given this task manager a look, I highly recommend checking it out. Microsoft offers an app for your phone in addition to the desktop application.
For those of you who don’t use Outlook, there are many other options. Google has a task manager built into its email and calendar platform. This task manager is not as robust as Outlook but it may work just fine for you if you’re already steeped in Google world.
There are a ton of apps for your phone that you can also use. I suggest looking through the top ones and trying them for a day to see if you like the way they operate, how it looks, and how it feels. That’s probably the only way you’ll know it is for you. This article walks you through how to find the one for you and covers some of the top apps. Find the Perfect To-Do List App
Of course, good, old-fashioned paper works to track tasks as well. I have a couple of issues with paper lists, though. First, as you work through your list, it will start to get messy and hard to read and this will necessitate rewriting regularly. I find this a waste of valuable time. Second, you cannot attach the pertinent email or spreadsheet to the paper list in an orderly way. Third, what happens if you lose the list?? Yikes!
Oftentimes, we have a larger task that is really a project. Just simply writing, “write term paper”, on your list is not appealing. It freezes our brains because it is a multi-step process to write a term paper. Where do I start? How do I manage the timeline? For these types of tasks, you’ll need to break it down into smaller pieces and shorter deadlines so you can propel yourself forward and not be intimidated. I have a blog post dedicated to project management tips that will give you some good information.