Musings on Task Management

I was pretty jazzed about the Task Progress Tracker this week, but after using it for a few days, I think it’s falling short. There’s something there, but I’m not getting the same level of buzzy happiness from it that I did the PCEO.

Conceptually, I think some good ideas are in here:

  • It measures not only completeness, but effort too.
  • It’s “nag free”
  • It visually organizes time into an easy-to-read format
  • Yu have a place where you can keep a list of projects to scan

I’ve mostly been using this as a “projects I should be doing” tracker, so other people’s experiences may be a bit different. The main working problems I’ve had:

  • That first 15 minute bubble, while enticing, still isn’t quite enough motivation to push to action because the payoff isn’t there, as it is with the Printable CEO.
  • While the 15-min bubbles are cool, without noting the start time, now I have to estimate time or keep a clock around.
  • Even when I completed a task, the “DONE” checkbox is relatively week feeling, despite the additional graphics dressing I gave it. I ended up also crossing out the item description, which helped, but still…
  • Given the number of side projects I have going on, shuffling that paper around was a bit of a chore, especially since each sheet tends to look similar. The PCEO sheet is quite easy to keep track of visually. These new sheets just pile up. Putting them in a clipboard helped. Rustling through them was also helpful in keeping the projects fresh in my mind, but a simple To Do list does that much faster.

So it’s back to the drawing board.

I think I need to decouple the tasks themselves from the time tracking element, and maybe really consider how to introduce the point system back in. What I want to avoid is double-recording of the same information, lengthy transcription processes, and having to juggle too much information in the head at once. With simple recording built-up over time, the sheets should ideally tell you at a glance that you are being productive or not and provide a sense of accrued accomplishment.

If anyone else has had a different experience, successful or otherwise, let me know! I need data :-)