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Posts Tagged ‘todo’

Have a reliable task management system as backbone in busy times

Oct 31, 2011 Leave a comment

As my days were very busy during the last weeks, I used the time on a flight back home today to review and to think about what really helped me to stay on top of what I am doing.

Besides the support of my wife 🙂 the two tools I am using frequently are my target mind map and my task management system.

About my mind map I have written another post already. Now I would like to take the opportunity to share my task management experience in busy times with you.

Read more…

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Smart Feedback Management: 7 steps to take feedback the right way

Aug 8, 2011 Leave a comment

In business and also in private life, it is normal to get all types of feedback from time to time. Sometimes it is outspoken, sometimes you get it indirect. It does not matter if it is positive or negative feedback, the most important in my opinion is to take it the right way – a structured one – and to use it for your development.

This is what I learned and how I process feedback today:

1. Take the feedback without discussing it. Just listen, take the person serious, and say “Thank you!”. If possible, try to write the feedback down to look it up later.

2. In case of negative feedback, do not defend yourself. Accept the opinion of the other person – this does not mean to agree to the feedback itself – and ask for ideas to improve from the other ones point of view. Try to benefit from the feedback without being offended.

3. Explain that you will think about the feedback to improve yourself and – again – say “Thank you!”.

4. Take some minutes with yourself to lean back, breath, and think about the feedback. Try to filter the feedback, delete all emotions and identify the main points of the feedback. For complex feedback, I recommend to use a mind map to structure your thoughts.

5. Decide, if you want to do something about these main points. If yes, think about measures to improve and integrate these measures into your planning or your todo-list.

6. Think about a response to the person who provided the feedback. If you developed measures for improvement, the person might be happy to hear about it.

If you can not understand the feedback, decide if it makes sense to re-contact the person to explain that you thought about it but can not comprehend the given opinion. – This can be the starting position for a more detailed feedback to think about. But be careful to avoid an infinite loop. 😉

7. Finally, I recommend to archive the feedback. If you scan it, you can “dispose” the paper version of the feedback literally to complete feedback processing.

What do you think about this procedure? Can you provide me feedback to improve? 😉

Professional Performance Standards – Request for Comment

Jun 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Inspired by existing standards like EN ISO or OHSAS etc. and my previous suggestion for professional performance standards I decided to develop a request for comment for a professional performance standard applicable to all persons.

This is the first draft of my proposal for this standard and I am looking forward to receive your feedback! 🙂

Professional Performance Standards – Request for Comment

1. Introduction
The application of a self-management system is a strategic decision of a person to enhance personal performance and to improve cooperation in a business environment.

This standard is designed to prove reliability and honesty of the person.

The defined requirements are generic and shall be applicable to all persons.

2. Personal Commitment
The person shall state to comply with the requirements of this standard.

3. Basic Requirements

3.1. Task Management
The person shall establish and maintain a reliable task management system to register all tasks. These tasks shall be prioritized and scheduled to ensure completion.

3.2. Mail Management

3.2.1. Incoming Mail
The person shall process incoming mail within 24 business hours.

Processing shall be done by “first touch” without returning the incoming mail to inbox.

Processing of incoming mail is defined as:
a) delete mail, if information is not relevant and answering not requested
b) forward mail
c) answer mail
d) transform mail into a task
In case of b) and d) sender shall be informed about processing decision.

3.2.2. Outgoing Mail
The person shall write outgoing mail as short and precise as possible.

The person shall address outgoing mail to relevant addressees only.

3.3. Time Management
The person shall establish and maintain a system to manage available time.

3.4. Office/Desk Management
The person shall ensure privacy of all processed information.

The person shall minimize usage of paper.

3.5. Document Management
The person shall archive documents and records to ensure traceability of the work performed.

3.6. Password Management
The person shall ensure the use of strong passwords.

The person shall protect passwords and keep passwords a personal secret.

3.7. Feedback Management
The person shall evaluate received feedback regarding performance and shall develop measures to improve.

Toodledo.com: HowTo get started in 4+2 steps… (Updated!)

Feb 15, 2011 1 comment

After explaining to a few people how to get started with Toodledo during the last weeks, I decided to write a short “HowTo get started with Toodledo in 4+2 steps”:

1. Register at Toodledo.com, it’s free and it takes only seconds!

2. Go to “Settings” (top right corner) and…

  • Set “Display Preferences” to “Entire page scrolls”, “Grid (One line with columns)” and activate “Show note and file attachment icons on the left”.
  • Activate the following “Fields/Functions Used”:
    Folder, Start Date, Due Date, Repeat, Length, Timer, Priority, Tag, Status, Star.
    To learn more about how I use these fields, please see “Task Management with Toodledo.com”.
  • Set “Row Style” to “Title is styled by priority” and “Completed tasks are dimmed”.
  • Set “Default View” to “Folder”.
  • Configure the following “New Task Defaults”:
    Start Date: Today, Status: Next Action
  • Set “Show Tab Counts” to “Show the number of tasks inside each list”.

3. Go to “Tools > More…” and activate e-mail importing within “Email Import / Export”. You can use this e-mail-address to mail tasks to toodledo.

4. Go to “Organize > Folders” and create folders (these are your to-do lists) for different areas like main job, bigger projects, private, shopping,…

Optional steps:

5. If you like to go to “Goals” and insert your goals. If you are interested in this topic please see “planning section”.

6. Finally, if you want to import tasks from an existing tool go to “Tools > Import / Export” and use the appropriate function.

This is it! Now you are ready to go to your “Tasks” and to add tasks via “Add Task”.

To read more about how to use Toodledo, I recommend to continue with “Daily Operations – How to manage my day?” or “Inbox processing”.

PS: If you have ideas or comments how to optimize this howto, please do not hesitate to post your thoughts.

My practices how I manage my life in one pdf as download

Feb 13, 2011 Leave a comment

I thought it might be value adding to put all my practices how I manage my life into one pdf to have everything in one compact document which can be printed out easily for example. – And if you are interested in sharing this paper with your friends or colleagues, feel free to send them a copy.

Download now: My practices how I manage my life (PDF, 81.1KB)

Task Management with Toodledo.com

Feb 4, 2011 3 comments

For about half a year, I am now using Toodledo as my favorite tool for task management. Toodledo is absolutely self-explaining and easy to use. It took me only minutes to set up the attributes of my tasks and a few more minutes to import all my tasks from my previous task management tool.

My configuration looks like this: I created folders for the main areas of my life (e.g., main job, bigger projects, personal development, and private stuff) and added a few search views like “company”, “tomorrow”, or “next 7 days”. Normally, I start the day with “all tasks”, “star” my most important tasks that I want to finish during the day and focus on special folders or only the starred tasks according to the timeframe that I am currently in. I constantly hide deferred, future, and negative priority tasks.

I use the following fields/functions to detail my tasks:

  • Length: I estimate the time necessary to perform the task as basis to plan the day.
  • Timer: I record the needed time just for my own statistics to validate and to improve my estimations.
  • Priority: According to my definition within “Setting up task management”, I use “0 Low” for operational tasks, “1 Medium” for tactical tasks, and “2 High” for strategic tasks. “3 Top” is only used very seldom for the top urgent and most important tasks.
  • Start Date: The day I want to work on this task.
  • Due Date: The deadline until I have to finish the task.
  • Repeat: I use this for routine tasks that have to be done on a regular basis.
  • Tag: I use the names of the people I have to coordinate the task with or to whom I delegated the task to as tags. This makes it easy to filter the names.
  • Status: I use “next action” as default and switch this to “postponed” for deferred items that I do not want to delete right away.
  • Goal: I try to assign my tasks to my goals to be able to focus on the really important tasks. This is more or less a reminder to check, if the task is necessary or not.

For new tasks, I defined default values for start date (today), due date (next week – I want to be fast on my task), and status (next action). I do not use subtasks.

I absolutely love that Toodledo calculates the importance of tasks based on priority and due date. This makes it so easy to decide about what to do next. I have Toodledo open, whenever I am at my computer and I add new tasks as soon as they appear. See “Inbox processing” for more information about this.

Whenever I am not online, I mail new tasks to Toodledo via my cellphone. I use this feature quite often.

Overall, Toodledo really increased my productivity and provides me additional time to focus on my tasks instead to focus on the management of the tasks.

If you have you own experience in using Toodledo or other online todo tools, please do not hesitate to post your thoughts!

PS: In the meantime, I wrote a “HowTo get started with Toodledo ” which might be useful as well.

General setup – How to get started?

Jan 19, 2011 1 comment

Looking back to how I started with the elements of managing my life, I can highlight three major areas that I worked on:

Task Management: Most important was the setup of a reliable system to manage all my to-dos. As I tend to forget a lot of things if I do not write them down, it was quite essential for me to have a system in place that is easy to use and mostly everywhere available. I was also looking for something that makes it easier to prioritize my tasks and that helps me out whenever I am under pressure and do not have the time to organize myself in a proper way. So I just wanted to write everything down without thinking that much about the details of how to organize the tasks. How this system looks like, will be described in “Setting up task management”.

Inbox Processing: A few years ago, I had about 100 – partly unread – emails in my company inbox and my private inbox was even worse. By chance, I listened to David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done®” and started to improve my inbox processing. It was an unbelievable feeling to have an inbox with zero items in it. Today, if I see people’s inboxes with more than 20 emails – or even hundreds of emails – I always ask myself how can they be in control of their tasks and how can they deliver high quality results? Can you tell me? The summary of my procedure is described in “Inbox processing”.

Know yourself: Finally, I rediscovered myself by analyzing my skills and talents, my strengths and weaknesses, as well as how I spent my daytime and I used this information as basis for a better planning of my life. I had some interesting insights and I was able to optimize not only my strategies, but also my daily operations. What I did to discover myself is explained in “Getting to know yourself”.