26 May 2019

Task management

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  • Give it a title
  • Give it at least one label
  • Give it an assignee
  • Decide if it's important or not
  • Decide if it's urgent or not
  • Estimate the effort required to accomplish the task (in hours)
  • Estimate the value the task brings (in $)
  • Give a rough estimate of effort
  • Give a description if necessary
  • Set a deadline if possible
  • Set status to Unprioritized

Task creation

Task states

  • Go through the tasks in the Do section, then the Decide section, then Delegate

Use Eisenhower matrix to determine task importance/urgency

  • Tasks that are not important/not urgent are moved to the backlog
  • Tasks that are not important/urgent are delegated to someone else
  • Tasks that are important/not urgent should be scheduled
  • Tasks that are important/urgent should be done ASAP

Using the estimated effort and estimated value of a task, you can compute the return on investment (ROI) of the task as estimated value divided by estimated effort. For example, a task you estimate is worth 100 $ and takes 2 hours to complete will have a ROI of 50 \$/h.

Use the ROI of your tasks to prioritize them. You will want to complete the tasks which are likely to have the best return on investment.

The ROI metric will also give you clues about the task you should probably not spend your time on. If you are paid 50 $/h and a task has a ROI less than 50 \$/h, then it should probably be moved to the backlog and only reconsidered if its ROI changes.

  • Unprioritized tasks should be moved to Queued, given their priority compared to already queued tasks
  • You should attempt to keep the Unprioritized tasks count to 0
  • A task that is Queued should have a deadline date
  • Work on tasks In progress first, then take tasks from Today, then from Queued

Task processing loop

If you've never done task management before, I suggest you do not start by applying all the above at once. First, start by simply recording the tasks you need to get done (title only). Once you've recorded most of the tasks you have to deal with, start giving them an important/urgent assignation. It will help you rapidly determine which tasks should be done and which ones are nice to have, but not critical, or even not really useful if you think about it. Once you are able to have this information for most of your tasks, then you should start giving them effort and value estimates. Once you've reached this point, you will have a much better grasp on the importance of your tasks, as well as their potential impact in terms of value, as well as to the amount of effort it will require from you.