April 30, 2013
Now is always a good time to put a planning system into place if you don’t have one. Tracking goals, projects, action steps, tasks, and activities by keeping them “all in your head” or on post it notes scattered around the office is not a sustainable strategy for the long haul. As you ascend the career and life ladder, things only get more complicated so it is smart to start early by putting strong task management strategies into place. The idea is to capture all tasks, big and small, in a system that exists outside of your mind. Not only will this cut down on excessive mind clutter, which reduces anxiety and stress, but it will enable you to chart a proactive course towards your goals and feel fulfilled by what you’ve accomplished. To find the right system for you, consider your preference for paper or technology. Do you prefer to write your tasks on paper and check them off? On your computer or smart phone? Combination? Here are a few products to consider. For paper planning options, check out www.franklincovey.com or www.levenger.com or search the Web for others. In terms of electronic options, a simple word document or excel spreadsheet that tracks your tasks can be more than adequate. There are also endless “apps” out there these days. One free app I like is called Wunderlist – www.wunderlist.com. It works across platforms so you can access it from your smartphone or online while you work and always have your list at the ready. It’s simple and flexible for keeping track of both work and personal tasks. The key here, no matter which route you choose to go in, is to find a system that you will actually use. A simple spiral bound notebook used together with an electronic calendaring tool such as Microsoft Outlook is a perfectly good system. Fancy isn’t the goal here. Simple is the goal… because a simple system is a system that is actually used!