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Using a Task Management System to Reduce Stress at Work

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Using a Task Management System to Reduce Stress at Work: How to Manage Lots of Projects and Tasks.

As a modern manager, you more than likely find yourself working on countless ‘live’ projects at any one time, so it’s imperative to have an effective, reliable task management process in place if ‘balls’ aren’t to be dropped.

Let me put it another way – NOT having an efficient system to help manage your tasks is like weighing yourself down with a super-heavy pack, at the start of a really steep hill climb...

...and then tying your shoelaces together for good measure!

If your system isn’t up to scratch, it’s all too easy to fall behind on jobs and miss deadlines. When that happens, you can come under pressure from your employer and have to compensate by working harder and longer.

That may be OK in the short-term, but in the longer run it’s unsustainable and a sure recipe for damaged health and home-life.

Who wants that?

So the benefits of a quality task management approach – one that works with you, not against you - are significant. Not only will it reduce your stress levels as you gain greater control over your workload, but it will also increase your productivity.

As a result, you will achieve more in less time and cut the hours needed to get the same job done. And fewer hours at work mean more time at home and for you, with greater energy to enjoy both.

Now we’re talking, right?

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The Problem With Lists.

The challenge, when we are all having to multi-task like never before, is that even the fanciest pen-and-paper ‘To Do list’ planning system will struggle under a constant deluge of new tasks and ever-shifting priorities.

Even if you use a software version (at least, one that simply mimics the traditional ‘linear list’ approach), there are still inherent weaknesses to this way of planning your work and your life.

Task Dumping Grounds.

For a start, ‘going electronic’ won’t stop traditional, daily lists from turning into dumping grounds for all the new tasks, ideas and thoughts that hit you through the day. So, while you may have a focused agenda in the morning, by the end of the day it is lost in a sea of irrelevant and inappropriate tasks that hide what you really should be doing.

Mr/Mrs 'Flibberty-Jibbert'.

What’s more, very different types of activity often make it on to a single To Do list, so it’s easy to find yourself constantly switching between writing, phoning, thinking, analyzing, meeting and researching modes - if you’re to get all your daily jobs done.

Not surprisingly, continually swapping between skills and thinking patterns is a far less productive way to work than when you focus only on similar tasks. Batch processing tasks (grouping like activities together, using a ‘context’ can be a quick productivity gain).

Overly-Specific Task Data.

To Do list software can even end up adding to our stress levels, by requiring us to enter due dates and set job durations for tasks and projects that can’t realistically be predicted at the time.

We enter these dutifully, only to be bombarded later by ‘task overdue’ reminders , when in fact few of these tasks will be as relevant or crucial on that particular day as they might have seemed when you first set them up – days, weeks or even months ago. 

That only serves to put us under extra pressure and make us feel as though we are getting nowhere fast.

There is a Better Way...

However, while standard To Do list software might seem rigid and inflexible, there is a new generation of ‘smart’ task management software that allows us to create ‘living’, productivity-enhancing lists that can be continually adapted to our needs.

Download Arrow IconDownload Free Version of ShoutDone To Do List Software

Project-Orientated Thinking.

Unlike traditional To Do list software, these smart applications think of tasks not just as things to be done, but as parts of a larger project. These projects, which can cover any and all aspects of our lives, don’t have to be big - anything that requires two or more action steps to complete can be considered a project – and you can create as many as you want.

You might include not just current and up and coming projects, but also someday/maybe ones - very quickly you could end up with 40, 50, even a hundred projects on the go.

Multiple Contexts = 'Living Lists'.

And while most To Do list software will let you attach tasks to a single project, smart task management apps let you ‘tag’ a task to multiple ‘contexts’ such as a particular place, person and type of activity.

This means that your tasks aren’t compartmentalized into single ‘vertical’ To Do lists, but can in fact span several ‘virtual’ lists – calling up one of these ‘contextual lists’, 100% relevant to your current situation, will instantly show you the most effective things you could be doing at that moment.

So, for example, if you need to create a new marketing brochure, one of the tasks could be ‘Phone copywriter about brochure’. Using smart task management software you could tag that task with the copywriter’s name, his or her location, the project in question, the particular action required (make a phone call), any associated reference material and time-specific information.

Now the task is no longer simply an item locked to a single To Do list, but a fluid piece of information that can be recalled as and when most appropriate.

Better User Experience.

Smart task management software often also offers a more interesting user experience, compared with simply keeping and monitoring an electronic To Do list. Some for instance, like our very own ShoutDone, offer refinements such as a 'spotlight’ view that can help eliminate distractions and keep you focused on the next most important task to be accomplished.

Multi-Platform Synchronization.

Of course, when mobile and multi-site working is increasing, it makes sense to ensure that any task management software you choose will work on different platforms and devices.

In this way, you can have access to your Daily Task lists and your entire task management system wherever you are, as long as you have access to a computer, laptop, iPad, or smartphone.

You may even want to consider selecting a task management system that supports cloud computing, so you can share up to the minute project information with your colleagues.

In conclusion, if you are feeling the stress of trying to handle multiple projects and tasks, using smart task management software offers a highly effective way forward. In fact, in today’s fast moving business environment, you really can’t manage without it.

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User Comments:

quotation1Excellent software. Really helped me to establish and maintain my goals and task priorities. Highly recommended.Quotation 2

Richard Paris

quotation1 Congrats on a just about perfect user interface and great concept, particularly the highlighting and prioritizing via so many user-created options. Thanks!Quotation 2

Dev

quotation1This looks like one AWESOME, ELEGANTLY designed piece of software and an excellent first release from a clearly classy company.Quotation 2

Andrew Griffiths - California

quotation1Just a final word from me. I cannot praise Rich enough for the level of support he provided... Great work.Quotation 2

Adrian Williams, UK

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About ShoutDone To Do List Software.

To do list software is an essential tool in our daily battle for increased productivity, reduced stress and a better work-life balance.

ShoutDone is a powerful task management system that presents your projects and tasks in a new light thanks to its unique, high quality interface.

With simple-to-use yet powerful features, ShoutDone will have you working more productively than ever before in only a matter of minutes. Your life, more organized.

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