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Monday, April 25, 2022

Managing multiple tasks!

How many of you find that Spring brings a multitude of tasks? I know I do, and they seem to come from a variety of areas in my life. What we do know from current research is that multitasking is no longer considered an effective way to manage our work and especially any type of important task. During the month of May, we're going to be looking at a newer concept for managing our time and our tasks, however, in the meantime I thought I would share a tried and true method that has worked well for me over the years. You can download the worksheet here and make notes as you follow along if

you like.

 

To get started, you'll need to write down everything you

have weighing on your mind. If you have a lot, a great

way to begin grouping them is to use a highlighter in

the following way:

Pink: These are tasks that have a deadline within this

week

Yellow: Tasks that must be done this month

Green: Things that would be good for you to do, but

there is no immediate deadline

Blue: Items you just don't want to forget about and need to be scheduled.

Once you have completed this list, it's time to place them on your calendar as milestones and stepping stones. (See video below for examples)

After breaking your tasks into stepping stones, list each on the day in your calendar you expect to do the task

Example:

Milestone: Create Educational Report on Time Management

Steppingstones:

  • Research

  • Organize notes

  • Develop outline

  • Create/Write sections/paragraphs

  • Craft visuals

  • Complete draft

  • Submit to proofreader

  • Finalize project

  • Publish report

 

One of the most effective ways to ensure the report is published on time is to work backward from the deadline. So the next step is to make sure each steppingstone has a date attached that will lead you to reach your deadline successfully. I schedule most of my project time on Mondays and Thursdays so my timeline for this project might look something like this...

image.png
  • Research: May 5

  • Organize notes: May 9

  • Develop outline: May 12

  • Create/Write sections/paragraphs: May 16

  • Craft visuals: May 16

  • Complete draft: May 19

  • Submit to proofreader: May 23

  • Finalize project: May 26

  • Publish report: May 30

Now that I have a deadline for each step of my project, I need to add them to my calendar. The example below is the date set for Researching. It's a priority because this task is a part of a deadline and if I skip it on this day, it will cause the rest of the project timeline to need readjusting. However, I also have a webinar presentation on this day and I'm meeting with two clients. All of these tasks are an "A" priority, they are urgent for today's plans. The webinar is the most important so it's A1, and since I don't want to forget anything I need to follow through on for my clients, it's A2, and the research for the time management project is A3.

If I get nothing else accomplished on this day, I will do everything possible to make sure these three tasks are completed. My "B" priority projects are important tasks but those that do not need to be done today or it might be okay to reschedule them if needed. The "C" projects are things I can't afford to forget, and while they don't need to be completed quickly, they should not hang out on my daily planner for more than a week or so. If anything on this list is not completed, I will l move it to the next day or in the case of "C" projects, to the next week. It's always nice to have a place for notes too as a way to remember something without taking up your brain space! I use color-coding to help me "see" at a glance if a task is regarding a client, a presentation/zoom call, a project, or a routine task.

 

I don't do this extensive amount of planning every day of the year, I am usually good with a modified system. However, during times that are really busy, like the Spring, I pull this method out and it saves my sanity and my professionalism.

 

Let me know your thoughts at Robin@SeasonalPathways.com