Task Order Up 2010 Updates

Task Order Up 2010 Updates

Task Order Up Updates A few years ago I was in a McDonald’s during the lunch rush, and after placing my order I observed the cashier arranging my order slip on a rail with the rest of them. Food preparers were already assembling orders, but fries were held up and a few special orders took longer to assemble. The check rail was the continual point of reference, allowing everyone not only to see what was in each order, but also providing a visual sense of just how backed up they were. There was an electronic version, glowing greenly in the corner, but it was positioned just a bit too far away from the actual bagging area to be convenient. The paper order slips were more permanent, and upon fulfillment they were taped to the side of the bag to tag its contents. I thought this was very cool, so I designed the Task Order Up to play with the concept at home. It was designed to collate the two important questions about one’s work:

  • What I am supposed to do?
  • When is it due?

As originally envisioned, the Task Order Up implements a priority queue in a production environment. As tasks come in, Task Order Up slips are filled out and handed off to a worker who will handle it. The worker can then array the tasks over his workstation, knowing exactly what needs to be done. Each slip is like a mini job contract, a prop for discussion. The worker can arrange them by the order he is going to do them, and what’s cool is that everyone else can see what’s on his plate just by glancing at his desk: work queue becomes more transparent. I think this helps avoid those micromanagement situations, but I must admit the main reason for making these slips is because I just like check rails. However, I’ve heard of people using this in production environments…check out their photos on Flickr.

Download The 2010 Printable Task Order Up Forms

Task Order Up Instructions This year’s updates make some cosmetic changes to the typography, including darkening some of the background tints which were printing too lightly.

Standard Format

3×5 Index Card Format

4×6 Recipe Card Format

For more background information about the Task Order Up, see the original article. Enjoy!

18 Comments

  1. Patric 12 years ago

    Wow, I just love your designing. I just recently discovered it. Put especially your printable CEO is just wicked. This tool even helped me to get started with my own blog. That’s a thing I always wanted to do.

    I just have a question: What software(s) are you using to created your paper designs (like printable CEO and Task Order Up)?

    So Long,

    Patric

  2. Dave Seah 12 years ago

    Patric: Thanks, glad it helped you out! I’m currently using Adobe Illustrator CS3 to create all the paper designs. It’s a general purpose computer illustration program, optimized for creating and layering shapes and type together for output to PDF or for commercial printing.

  3. lee 12 years ago

    love the 3×5 size! Where can I get a check rail?

    BTW have you heard of recaptcha? Distributed eyeballs helping digitize books that OCR has trouble with. http://recaptcha.net .

  4. Brajeshwar 12 years ago

    Thanks for another great GTD app. I was very happy with your earlier compact Calendar and have ask many of my team developers and friends to use it. I am using it too for multiple purposes.

    Thanks a lot for everything from you.

  5. Scott 12 years ago

    My 2008 salvation at last! And I love the billable/overhead bubbles at the bottom. A great improvement to a near-perfect job tracking item.

  6. Scott 12 years ago

    The start of my organized life began with these babies last year and I’ve been patiently waiting for the ‘08 models to come out. The billable/overhead bubbles are a great improvement to a near perfect document.

  7. Dave Seah 12 years ago

    Lee: You can buy them at any restaurant supply store online or in person. Shop around…there are many different kinds :-)

    Brajeshwar: Awesome! I’m glad you are finding them useful.

    Scott: I’m glad you like them! Did you get a check rail, or are you using some other mounting system?

    Dave

  8. Scott 12 years ago

    Dave: I ended up buying a magnetic dry erase marker board for around $20. The bottom quarter of the board I use as a daily/weekly check rail along with some cheap craft store magnets. The remaining three quarters I write down long term or pending projects and their current status. Makes for an excellent workflow because it lets me see both immediate jobs and what’s coming up on the horizon.

  9. ilizyonlar 11 years ago

    The start of my organized life began with these babies last year and I’ve been patiently waiting for the ‘08 models to come out. The billable/overhead bubbles are a great improvement to a near perfect document.. bye

  10. Liz 11 years ago

    Hats off to you! I just discovered this website through lifehacker and I am very pleased! Visually its hip and functional, just the way I need it to be! I wanted to know if there is an exel/word format of the task order up. I would love to type in my tasks rather than write them up…..

  11. Jasper 11 years ago

    Hi David,

    I’ve discovered your website with magnificent pointers on organizing. I’ve tried the franklincovey planner for 2 years now until I got my hands on the GTD earlier this year. GTD is working a lot better for me. Your “Order Up” is great! I’ve immediately printed a bunch and put them on the “slicer” to cut up the 3 part form. I now have a board full with “Orders”. I love the visual aspect of it. It’s a great idea

    Jasper

  12. Conan 11 years ago

    Amazing workflow design as usual.  These seem much more suited to contract work than the previous versions.

    Unfortunately, I’m more in a world where I’m only measured by final deadlines and quality, so the minute-by-minute is only useful as a tool to help me, personally, be more productive.  As such, I was sad to see the TOU02 version of this go.

    I’ll continue to use the 2007 version until I design my own (somewhere between the project centeredness of the TPT and the number of tasks in the TOU).

    Conan.

  13. Joe 11 years ago

    Any thoughts on removing the year in the Date field to extend the life of the form, especially if you print off a bunch of them at once?

  14. Cameron 11 years ago

    Can you show an example of how you use the date section of the TOU cards?  I’ve never quite figured out how you intended this part to be useful.  Other than this, great product!  I’ve always got a stack of cards printed on the white side of 4×6 cards and use the back side for notes related to the project/task.

  15. James Kurtz III 11 years ago

    This is a very interesting idea and well implemented. Thanks for the free download. I’m going to give it a go, however I’m afraid my desk may be overwhelmed by task order up cards and I won’t even be able to see my computer anymore!

  16. Downloadic 10 years ago

    Thanks for another great GTD app. I was very happy with your earlier compact Calendar and have ask many of my team developers and friends to use it.

  17. cMarx 10 years ago

    Great concept.  I have been using these for over a year now, and it is a great representation of the life of a designer.  In fact, my boss has been quoted as saying, “I don’t want my team to simply be ‘order takers’ any more”.  So the metaphor is definitely catchy.

  18. Steven 10 years ago

    Thank you always David. Would you possibly have plans to make this form into pads sold over the internet, like you did with ETP?