I finally had some time to update the Task Order Up cards for 2007. These are cards that are designed to work with a restaurant-style check rail, so you can display your tasks in front of you and visually sort them by priority.
The idea came from watching short-order restaurant staff handling multiple orders during the lunch rush. Each ticket represents, in its entirety, an order comprised of several food elements. The persons responsible for assembling orders for both walk-up and drive-through orders would shift the tickets around based on priority; drive-through orders tended to be prioritized to one side, and special orders would be placed off to the other side where they could wait. Other staff zooming by could see at-a-glance what the state of the order queue was, and assist in supplying the food elements until the order was complete.
When I’m dealing with multiple work requests, I often keep a text file open on my desktop with my tasks laid out as a list. To make the task list more visible, I’ve thought that having a check rail like this would help make it clear to people what I was up, and serve as a reminder what to do. But really, I just like having the specialty gear. :-)
In practice, I don’t use these cards very much, but I’ve heard from several people now that they like being able to see what tasks are in-progress, and for others seeing a physical representation of a single task is helpful in visualizing their work load. That’s why I like one task per card. You can hold each task in your hand and ponder your next course of action, count them, or deal them out to other people. And since each card has relevant project information on them (phone numbers, hours, budgets, job codes, you name it), they are that much more useful in day-to-day project workflow. Theoretically, anyway :-)
The 2007 Strip Versions
Each card is focused on getting a single task comprised of several steps done. Each card also has the Concrete Goals Tracker bubbles on them and a space to note useful task information for handy convenience. For example, you might need the job code #, or a client phone number. Why not put it on the card?
Each card variation changes the way the “time and task” information is laid out. You’ll recognize the task time bubbles from the [task progress tracker][tpt]; the problem that’s dogged me is that it’s difficult to line up the task bubbles with the actual task description in such a small amount of space.
The TOU-01 card has two lines for each task, and up to an hour (15-minute bubbles) for each. Download 3-UP PDF.
The TOU-02 card has just one line per task, and 4 bubbles for each. Note that you can also skip lines. Download 3-UP PDF.
The TOU-03 card has a single line for each task, but more bubbles per line. However, you can’t fit as many tasks on the card. Download 3-UP PDF.
The TOU-04 card adds a place to summarize total hours. Download 3-UP PDF.
The TOU-05 card decouples the time tracking from the task list. If you’re not tracking time, you can just ignore the bubbles, or use them as bullets. This seemed like a flexible compromise. Download 3-UP PDF.
The 2007 Index Card Versions
These are all based on the TOU-05 layout. The original posts for the 4-up and 1-up cards have some additional information on printing and cutting at home. These were made by request; they might work really well with card bleachers or maybe pushpins on a regular corkboard.
- 3×5 single index card (may have to scale printing)
- 3×5 4-up for 8.5×11 cardstock
- 4×6 single index card (may have to scale printing)
For more about the overall design, read the original writeup. If you are using Task Order Up, I’d like to hear about your experiences. There’s something not quite right with it, and I bet it should probably just be reduced to a plain task list.
To see the other tools I’ve been working on, visit the Printable CEO™ Series Page. Enjoy!