I recently joined my friend, Dave Stachowiak on his excellent Coaching for Leaders podcast to talk about How to Manage Tasks Lists.
We talked about how planning work and doing work are distinct activities. Lee Garrett, who recently took centre stage on Learn OmniFocus aptly describes these two modes as “boss mode” and “worker mode”. A common trend is to not spend enough time in boss mode, leaving your worker persona with ill-defined tasks and outcomes.
Resisting the temptation to dig into specific technologies, we discussed the importance of approaching project and task management as a skill and practice that’s developed over time. Technology can make this management more convenient and efficient but doesn’t magically remove the need to learn and apply foundational productivity practices.
We also discussed common pitfalls when it comes to task management, including people’s tendency to overload their task system and to make arbitrary use of due dates.
In a nutshell, I recommend making a task manager a “sacred space” and only using it for well-defined projects and actions. Additionally, due dates are best used for things that are actually due (i.e. not completing them by that date has consequences). When used arbitrarily, due dates tend to be taken less seriously.
Thanks again to Dave for having me on the show. I've also had the honour of being a guest on three other occasions:
- Episode 151: How To Be More Productive
- Episode 183: Use Technology To Build and Strengthen Relationships
- Episode 202: Practical Action for Productivity.
Be sure to check out Dave’s many other interviews, including his excellent interview with David Allen.
And, especially if you're in a leadership role, do yourself a favour and become a member of the Coaching for Leaders Community. Your FREE membership includes Dave's audio course, "10 Ways to Empower the People You Lead", his Weekly Leadership Guide and much more.