The problem with your To-Do list is that it involves a constant mental struggle. You want to be done, and feel bad that you’re not. But you’re so focused on the done bit that you forget about everything else.
You become consumed by the end goal, to the point that your tasks end up managing you, and not the other way round. Like Sisyphus, you’re pushing uphill in a futile struggle.
Just like inbox zero, anyone can get to task list zero with the right approach. But that’s not really the point. Because it’s not whether you hit the finish line but HOW you get there that counts. Efficient task management is all in the method.
If you can develop a task manager that integrates your tasks into your daily flow – rather than playing tug-of-war with them – the results will look after themselves.
You Need to Boss Your To-Do List
Tasks will always be part of your life, so the challenge is how to deal with them as quickly and efficiently as possible. Rather than fighting the system, you need a system that puts YOU in charge. Here’s how:
Put All Your Tasks in One Place
Email already represents a task list for many people, so Spike has followed this logic to its natural conclusion. Spike Tasks lets you build task lists in real-time, directly in your email feed.
This means you can treat your inbox as one, centralized hub for everything that you need to do. You can prioritize life and admin tasks alongside email-related tasks, and see your entire To-Do list at a glance, without leaving your inbox.
This is crucial, because task management can take up a lot of time and energy when you have info scattered all over the place, in different task managers or To-Do list apps. Not only do you waste precious minutes jumping between messages and tasks on, say, Slack and Trello, it’s also a killer to keep track of what data lies where.
By unifying your tasks into one personalized command and control center – your email – you make your life 100% easier.
Email is a tool that’s universally used by most people many times a day, so it’s a natural home for your To-Dos: you can see them every time you view your inbox.
Bringing everything into one place also allows you to align your work and personal tasks. These two things will naturally overflow in your day-to-day life, so it’s far more efficient to stop building walls between the two and let them do so.
Have your grocery list sit side-by-side with your client pitching list, with one calendar to sync it all by. No fuss, and no having to leap, Spiderman-style, between worlds in an attempt to stay on top of everything.
Pin Your Lists and Never Forget a Task Again
You can’t simply dump all your tasks in your inbox, though. You need tools to organize them by.
Spike Tasks comes with a snooze tool, so you can get tasks to pop up exactly when they’re due at the top of your feed.
For example, say you need to raise an invoice at the end of the month. You create a task and set a reminder for it that syncs with your inbox calendar. Then when the time comes, that task will appear right at the top of your inbox, prompting you to take action.
This super-effective tool means you’ll never miss a task again. Unlike a calendar entry, or a reminder lost in a mass of apps, the task pops up right there in front of your face, as the top entry in your inbox.
Tasks also has a pin feature that allows you pin your most important To-Dos to the top of your email. For example, say you have to write and submit an awards entry for your business by the end of the day. You absolutely cannot miss that deadline: it’s key to your business success story.
By pinning the task to the top of your feed, any time that your mind drifts, or your attention is dragged elsewhere, the alert at the top of your email feed will snap you back to it. It keeps you relentlessly on-goal. Then when you’ve completed a task, you delete it and it’s gone: out of sight, out of mind.
Spike Tasks is a game-changer because it does the legwork for you. You can see instantly what needs to be done at any one time – and in what order. Instead of procrastinating, or letting tasks go stale, you either: deal with them, schedule them or delete them.
The same goes for your messages generally in Spike. With Priority Inbox, your most important messages appear first and everything else is sent to the side. You can pin, schedule and snooze them in the same way as you do with non-email tasks.
That means that everything in your inbox is there for a reason. There’s no clutter to filter through, no bloat to confuse you, and nothing to break your focus and flow. Instead, you have an organizational toolbox whereby everything is clearly spelled out and prioritized, so you never miss a task again.
Update and Collaborate on Tasks in Real-Time
Another great way to get tasks done is by collaborating with others. A job shared is a job halved, after all. With Spike Tasks, your task list can be shared with anyone you want: either one other person, or a group. And anyone who has access to the list can add or tick off tasks in real time.
Each time a task is added, edited or completed, the task list in your feed updates in real time. So when you’ve shared your presentation prep list with your team, for example, you can see when the number of tasks on it changes from 0/4 to 1/4 or 2/4 direct in your email feed. You stay tuned with the progress of your list in real time, without even having to the task.
You or the people you’ve shared with can also update the status of a task list from “Open” to “in progress”, “stuck” or “done” and more. Aain, you will be alerted to this change in real-time, without need for additional messages or chat. Also, anyone in a task list can add notes, photos, files, doodles and more in an instant, and everyone else on the list can see and react to these additions in real time.
This is especially useful if you’re working remotely, with teams or a client spread across different places, or in separate time zones. Real-time sharing is an engine to fuel collaborative tasks: it draws everyone together, and makes things happen to tight deadlines without fuss.
Spike Tasks transforms your To-Do list into a powerhouse of productivity. It gets things done, here and now, with zero messing around.
There’s no wasting time as you come out of a list, ask someone’s thoughts and then go back in to update. You simply share your task list with the relevant person, or people, and away you go.
And you can avoid those endless chase emails asking for an ETA on a task. You can see in real-time when a task has been completed, without ever leaving your inbox: a convenience that saves you a whole ton of time and even more headspace.
You can forget about random tasks lingering around for weeks without purpose, too. Everything that you need to think about is right there in your inbox, and it’s all filed, filtered and dealt with in real time.
Follow your Flow
So much of productivity is about being in the flow. But so much of modern life is geared against that flow. We have a steady stream of meetings, notifications and messages to cut focus and kill big ideas.
The genius of Spike Tasks is that it seamlessly fits within that flow, rather than breaking it. You don’t need to divide your attention across six different apps, because everything you need – from To-Do lists to group chats and calendar appointments – is in your inbox, with tools to prioritize what you see at the top of it.
Tasks directs your attention flow for you. Your inbox is a place of such beautiful order and harmony, you know at a glance what you need to do without wasting headspace. It’s a natural and organic way of organizing your life.
At the same time, the real-time aspect of task lists gives you room to be spontaneous. Productivity isn’t a set value: everyone has a different way of achieving it, and it needs to adapt with the current of your workflow on any given day.
This is a quality that Silicon Valley entrepreneur Daniel Gross refers to as “improvisational productivity”. Gross speaks of his need to “not think about the task until I am ready to fully execute it”, in order to preserve cognitive bandwidth.
Spike Tasks let you do exactly that. The tasks that are most important at any given will show up at the top of your email feed. And everything else is either scheduled, deleted or done.
Instead of being buried by a mountain of To-Dos, you work in the moment, with real-time updates that flex with the pace of your workflow.
Because, when it comes down to it, a great To-Do list is not about being done but making the To-Do part better. Nail that, and your flow will take care of itself.
Are you in control of your To-Do list – or is it controlling you? And how do you stay on top of task management in day-to-day life? Tweet us @SpikeNowHQ or check out the Spike blog for more productivity tips.