Task Tracking: How to keep your task list
How to accomplish your task tracking is (happily) one of the easiest questions to answer about your to-do list, especially if you've already decided on a calendar to use (if you haven't, you may want to check out that page before you make your final decision -- task tracking and schedule tracking are closely related).
There are a lot of available ways to keep track of your task list-- how do you select the one that's best for you? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Am I more likely to write tasks down or type them in?
Are there other people who need to view my task list? Are there other people whose tasks I need to view? If so, in what format do they keep their lists?
Do I want my task tracker to remind me of upcoming deadlines?
Am I willing to spend money for high quality, or do I want as cheap as possible?
Do I have any special systems, notations, or requirements that mean I need my task tracking to operate "just so"? Or can I adjust myself to the format I choose?
Am I willing to learn how to use the features of software or electronics? Or do I want something as simple as possible?
Finally, remember that many calendars come with integrated task lists, so you should also consider how you want to keep track of your schedule
when deciding how to keep your task list.
Paper Task Tracking
Like paper calendars, it sounds too simple. And old-fashioned. And boring. But it works. From an index card to an elaborate day planner, paper is the way to go for maximum flexibility.
|Cheap (or at least it can be)||Doesn't Sync|
|Easy||You have to remember to take it with you|
|Flexible||Can't set alerts|
|May come with built in calendar||May not come with built in calendar|
|May have to buy a new one each year|
If you've been considering getting an iphone, a treo, or a blackberry, it makes sense to use the task list function on that device. Usually it will coordinate with your calendar, and sync with some form of planning software on your computer
Software on your computer
|You may already carry it with you||Higher upfront expense|
|Usually Syncs with Computer||If you don't already carry it with you, you have to remember to|
|Recurring tasks may only need to be set once||Steeper learning curve|
|Can Set Alerts|
|Calendar probably included|
Your computer probably already has calendar software installed on it with an integrated task list, and there are many more programs available. Computer software is an especially good choice for someone who already has a laptop and carries it with them. Since you'll probably have personal to-dos as well as business to-dos, I don't recommend keeping your list on your office computer.
Online Task Managers
|Syncs with electronics and other computers||May be high upfront cost|
|Easily handles multiple task lists for sorting||Steeper learning curve|
|Coordinates with your calendar and contact list||Only accessible when you're at your computer|
|You can set alerts||Alerts only work when you're at your computer|
|Recurring tasks need only be entered once|
There are many, many applications for keeping track of your to-do list -- some better than others. Remember The Milk is the most popular, but if you look around, you can probably find one that meets your requirements.
|Available on any computer, and many smart phones||Only accessible when you have internet access|
|Will often sync with software task lists/calendars||Sync technology not always reliable|
|Usually handles multiple task lists for sorting||Higher possibility that your calendar can be hacked|
|You can set alerts||Alerts may only be useful if you have internet access|
|Can often give others access to your task lists|
Download a worksheet
to help you decide which one is best for you, or download the module
to design an entire time-management solution.
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