Today at lunch, I had Chinese food and received the following fortune cookie message: Your ability to juggle many tasks will take you far. I certainly realize that fortune cookies are meant to have nice platitudes that appeal to almost everyone who might receive it, but this particular fortune reminded me that if I am good at juggling tasks, it is only due to my use of Chaos Intellect (and Time & Chaos before that).
Task management is a popular thing now. Everyday I see another announcement for a new task tracking website or app for my phone. I have tried many of them, mostly to look for good ideas, but I’ve yet to use one that I thought could top Intellect or Time & Chaos? Why?
The tasks in Intellect and Time & Chaos only show you today’s list. I don’t need to worry about tomorrow yet, so future ones are hidden until the day comes for them to appear. I don’t need to worry about completed items. I know they are stored safely and can be found easily, but they don’t need to distract me from today, either. Instead, our task list is an immediate reminder of just the things I need to worry about right now (or at least, before the end of the day).
As I work through my list from top to bottom, if I don’t plan to do the first thing on my list, I try to decide when I do plan to do it, and I drag it to the calendar on the left to reschedule it. When the day comes, this item will popup on my list again, but for now, it is out of the way and no longer a distraction from what I am juggling for today.
When I finish an item, if appropriate, I add some notes about what I did, then I mark it as done to keep a record of it. (Over the phone, I hear people telling me that they delete items when they are done, but since our programs only show you current tasks and don’t make you fight through a long list of completed items, I think you should never delete but keep it, mark it done, and keep a record of what you’ve done and when.)
At the end of the day, if I rush out the door without completing each of my tasks, there is a “safety net” feature in our programs that will roll over unfinished items to the next day. That way, you are still juggling the task without forgetting about it and dropping the ball. Incomplete items show up along with all the new items scheduled for the new day and I can start marching through them again the way I did yesterday.
I admit, sometimes I do procrastinate. (No one reading this blog would do that, right?). One bonus tip I can offer is to right-click on the task column headings in Intellect 4 or Time & Chaos 8 and turn on the “date” column. That way, if you do happen to procrastinate, you can easily see which items have been sliding for a few days and are past due.
If you haven’t been using the Tasks area of Intellect or Time & Chaos to their full potential, hopefully this has given you some good ideas and will bring you good fortune, too.