Task Juggler Card Design: Day 2 Followup

Thursday was busier than expected, so I didn’t write down my tasks on the task cards until well after dinner. And you know what? These tiny little cards are TERRIFYING! :-) Thoughts follow.

Here’s what they look like:

The Army of Cards A few observations:

  • I wasn’t quite sure how to color code the tasks, so I just wrote ’em down on whatever card was at hand.
  • The “task context”, “deliverable”, and “benefit” prompts were surprisingly hard to work with because I hadn’t thought too much about what would go into them. This slowed me down and created resistance.
  • If I want to have a system that minimizes such resistance, it might enough to just (1) pick the task, loosely defined and (2) categorize based on the kind of effort required. Possible categories might be explore, recreate, outline, test, assemble, deconstruct, synthesize, and so on…I think it might be possible to create a generalized process that breaks down most creative tasks like this. Then, the deliverable is not a FINAL DECIDED goal, but an INTERMEDIATE RESULT that ANSWERS A QUESTION that we have. This is important for creative tasks, but for known tasks it’s probably less of an issue. There, the deliverables are already defined.

In my first pass through my task list, I ended up writing a collection of verbs and nouns. Many of the tasks had no clear end state achievable in the 3 days I’ve allocated to make task progress.

As I looked at all those cards, each representing multiple unknowns, I felt a kind of anxiety grip me. There is so much not known! How long will this take? Where do I start? When will I finish? I reminded myself that the intention was merely to spend time on each task, a 15-minute start on each one. Altogether, that’s 90 minutes of time spent a day, if I am pushing myself to get coverage on all of them. If I obey my “three important tasks a day” metric, then I’m really talking only 45 minutes tops as my minimum obligation. That helped calm me down.

I also tried moving the task cards a little farther away, nestled under my secondary monitor.

The Army Waiting to Ambush Me They resemble hungry coyotes, don’t they? Or is it just me? Is it getting warm in here? :-)

Tomorrow, I’ll see if I can take 15 minutes on three of those tasks, and see how I feel about it.