For many of us, a To-Do list is the grownup version of the big bad wolf. It lurks in the background of everything we do, and we waste precious hours trying to tame it. But no matter what, it never goes away.
Is it possible we’re overthinking it? Instead of something that needs to be “done” or even “smashed”, look at your task list as a permanent presence in your life. It’s not something that competes with work or personal time, but instead moves seamlessly between the two.
Rather than draining your energy, your task list should work with you. It directs the flow of what you do, so that you achieve what you want in life. Your goals can be small (“learn how to use Google Analytics”) or big (“launch a new career in freelance design”). Either way, your task list will get you where you want to be.
The best kind of task list will be both precise and reactive. It will not only get stuff done but also free up your time for other, unscheduled activities (You know! Having a life and all).
Here are some top tips to make your task management more simple and efficient, using Spike’s all-new Collaborative Tasks.
What is a Task List?
A task list is a way of getting things done, by organizing and keeping track of your To Dos. This creates a natural structure for workflow, helping you to manage and achieve your goals.
How to Write a Task List
- Have one master task list
Keep all your tasks in one place, so that you can see at a glance what you need to do without interrupting your flow.
- Prioritize your tasks
Arrange your tasks in priority order. The most important ones should appear at the top of your task list, where you can’t miss them.
- Divide by topic
Divide your tasks into logical categories that fit best with the rhythm of your life. For example, online notes for accounting, freelance writing goals and so on.
- Share with key people
Invite key people to collaborate on the relevant task lists. For example, you can share a social media strategy with your client, or fitness goals with your personal trainer.
- Set deadlines and reminders
Create dates and deadlines for the completion of each task, and set reminders so that you know what’s coming up.
- Use To-Do lists with real-time technology
Update your tasks in real-time to keep pace with what’s happening and when. See instantly when another person updates a task.
Task List Goal: Choose One Task Management System
The golden rule of a good task list is that you need to unify it in one place.
Lots of people spread their task lists over Post-It notes, diaries, or in multiple To Do list apps. But this is a one-way ticket to Stressville.
How do you know where to find that reminder about your tax deadline? Was that book you wanted to read in a Trello link, or one of half a dozen other To Do list apps that you’re attempting to juggle at once? A set-up like this is not only stressful, but utterly time consuming as well!
Spike’s Collaborative Tasks is intuitive and simple. It’s integrated right into your inbox so having those tasks spread all over is so last year’s problem. It’s helpful since your email is already a giant list of your tasks.
If you’re using Spike, the foundations for an efficient task system are already in place. You’ve got Priority Inbox at play, with the ability to keep your most important conversations front and center. And you’re able to unify all your messages, chats and online notes in one place.
So, it’s no surprise that Spike is a natural home from which to build your task management system. Using Collaborative Tasks, you can check off everything you need to do from your inbox – including appointments, goals and scheduling – for easy and instinctive task flow.
By unifying all your tasks in your email, you create the conditions for process perfection.
Task List Goal: Update Your Task List in Real-Time
The beauty of Spike’s Collaborative Tasks is that it allows you to get real-time updates to your inbox. So when a task is marked as complete, a notification alert pushes it to the top of your feed. You can see where you’re at instantly, without having to leave your workspace.
The impact of this is huge. Forget checking on multiple apps, as you try frantically to keep pace with your To-Do list. You don’t even need to change tabs.
Spike’s Collaborative Tasks is right there in front of you. It’s part of your inbox, alongside everything else that commands your focus. You don’t need to break your flow to pay attention to your tasks.
Instead, your tasks become part of your unified workflow. Everything comes together naturally in one place. And that means you can give your tasks the kind of deep-rooted focus that leads to things getting done.
No other task management system does this. They all involve breaking your focus in some way. Only Spike delivers uninterrupted flow.
Task List Goal: Use Real-Time Technology to Take Back Control
So yes, real-time technology creates effortless flow – but it makes every element of task management more targeted and informed, too. If your colleague is working remotely from a different location, you can see when they’ve read your email, and also when they’re in the process of replying.
The same goes if you’re a small business owner. Real-time technology means you can chat easily to clients around the world, and stay on top of their feedback as it’s given, no matter what time zone they’re in.
With Spike’s Collaborative Tasks, you can share task lists you’ve created with anyone you choose to get their input.
For example, if you share a task list based around a press release you’ve drafted for your client, everyone gets to share ideas on the details of your proposal, in real-time. There’s no need to switch the discussion onto a separate email or chat app, since the conversation takes place within the task itself.
Basically, you’ve arrived at the penthouse of task-based efficiency.
Task List Goal: Manage Personal and Work Tasks Together
Do you keep multiple calendars open across multiple tabs? You might have a physical wall calendar for family stuff, a Gmail calendar for personal appointments and Outlook for work meetings. Key information is fragmented, and there’s no way of knowing when appointments in different calendars conflict with one another.
The beauty of Spike’s Collaborative Tasks is that you bring all your scheduling into one place: your inbox. So, you can see at a glance whether your 2 pm dentist appointment clashes with a team brainstorm. Or you’ll know straight away the best window to schedule in some quiet writing time, in between your other commitments.
Work and life naturally overlap, so instead of fighting against this – make it work for you. There are only 24 hours in a day, and realistically they can’t divide between your “work” self and your “personal” self. By trying to switch the way you manage your time, you just end up wasting time. So, stop trying. The struggle itself is stressful.
With Spike’s unified task management, you see everything you need to do. Work stuff, personal stuff, the whole shebang. There are no divisions. That makes it so much easier to plan your time properly and anticipate schedule conflicts. Not only that, but you can give more air time to personal goals that might otherwise get lost in transit.
Also, by making your tasks work efficiently in one place, you create a natural flow that will buy you more time overall. More time to do what you want, in the moment.
Task List Goal: Divide Task Lists by Topic and Prioritize
Within your task management system, you want a series of lists grouped by theme. These can work in whatever way fits most naturally with the rhythm and make-up of your daily life.
For example, you might divide your lists by client, projects, or freelance business growth goals.
Then it’s time to prioritize the tasks that matter the most. With Spike’s Collaborative Tasks, you can pin your most important tasks to the top of your inbox and set reminders that coordinate with your calendar. That way, you can instantly see what tasks need to be tackled first.
You can also choose to snooze tasks that matter less, and again, set reminders so that you can tackle them at a time that suits you. It’s a good idea to create a deadline for every task in your inbox, or at least every task list.
Research shows that the tasks we set ourselves grow in size to fill the time available for completion. The longer you have, the longer you’ll take, so a deadline keeps your goals on track.
You can personalize Spike’s Collaborative Tasks with styles that suit you, too. You might want to try the popular three tasks a day method, for example, or set difficult tasks at a time of day when you feel most energetic.
Task List Goal: Share and Collaborate on Tasks with Key People
What stands Spike’s Collaborative Tasks in a class of its own is that you can collaborate with other people. This is true whether or not they have Spike. You can invite – literally – anyone you want to contribute to your task list.
So, how does it work? Say you have your weekly grocery list for your shared apartment. By sharing your list with your two roommates, they can add in their random requests for Free Trade rooibos tea, or a bumper pack of Nacho Cheese Doritos. Each to their own, right?
Not only that but every time the list is changed, you receive a real-time notification to your inbox. For example, you’re a small business owner working on a time-sensitive campaign’s launch. You and your team of six remote freelancers are looped in on the task list and you all get updates to the top of your feed every time someone provides feedback or completes a task. Easy peasy.
You can use this collaborative technology on any of your task lists. Other people are so important to achieving goals in life, but all too often we block them off. Or we build time-consuming walls between us and them.
Spike’s Collaborative Tasks is an easy way of bringing everyone together, on one page, in real-time. Teamwork is simple. Work and life become synchronized. Every single task in your life is seamlessly integrated into your inbox. No more distractions. Just pure, genius flow.
Already slayed the synchronization game? Tweet us @SpikeNowHQ and let us know your secrets to achieving work-life balance through streamlined tasks.