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Productivity

The art of taskmastery

How to break quarterly goals into weekly tasks in a balanced fashion that will help you grow your business.

How to break quarterly goals into weekly tasks in a balanced fashion that will help you grow your business.

So far we’ve:

  • Created long-term goals and broken them down into quarterly projects.
  • Created a prototype week that gives you an idea of how much available time you have in the week to spend working on your business, particularly in marketing.

This week, we’re going to put these to action using a task manager.

What is a task manager?

A task manager is anything that helps you manage tasks. Some folks like digital task managers. Some prefer the tested-but-true pen and paper. I’m not going to go into the details of which task manager to use (although I’ve written about task management). Instead I’m going to suggest this:

Pick a task management tool and start using it

Pick a task management tool, any tool, and start using it for the remainder of this quarter year. If your tool stinks, you can change it next quarter, but try to live with it for the next ten weeks as you work out your business marketing goals.

I say this not as some productivity guru, but someone who’s wasted enough time fiddling with different task managers. I’d like to spare you the trouble. Just pick one and live with it for the next 12 weeks. If it’s terrible, find a better one after you’ve tested it.

What to add to your task list

So you’ve got some quarterly projects, right? To bring these projects to completion, we’ll want to create tasks, bite-sized things we can do that build momentum. You can create good tasks by following the acronym T.A.S.K.:

  • T: Time-bound. Always assign a deadline, even an arbitrary one. 
  • A: Action-oriented: Tasks are not ideas or notes, but things that you need to do.
  • S: Specific: The more specific, the better. Don’t just make one task for a project, but break down projects into bite-sized tasks and you can look at, accomplish, and mark off.
  • K: Killed when completed: Tasks need to be “killed off”, or removed from your list when they’re done. They shouldn’t be lingering around so you don’t forget them.

Optional: Organizing tasks with priorities and labels

Simple task managers like Apple’s Reminders don’t have these features, but other task managers like Todoist or Microsoft Outlook allow you to set priorities and labels. Here’s how I use priorities and labels:

  • Labels: In Todoist, I have a set of labels marked Serving, Creating, Marketing and Learning, so I can see which category this task falls under. I also have labels indicating how much time I think a task requires: 30min, 60min, 120min, etc.
  • Priorities: In Todoist, there’s four levels of priorities for tasks. Each day, I set only three Priority 1 tasks, ones I must accomplish by the end of the day. Then after that, I’ll set the next three to Priority 2, meaning that these are tasks I’ll work on once my Priority 1 tasks are completed.

Creating daily and weekly review tasks

If I didn’t have daily and weekly “review” tasks, I wouldn’t get very far. I’d forget to pray, read my Bible, follow up on clients, write blogs, maybe even eat (okay I wouldn’t forget to ear). I have a set a daily and weekly “review” tasks that I go through every morning. These “review” tasks serve only one purpose: to keep me focused on what’s important so that I don’t lose momentum.

This routine comes from Tim Challies’ “Do More Better” which is a great read not just for learning about productivity, but also the purpose behind productivity. Here’s a break down of my daily and weekly review tasks:

  • Daily review: These tasks start with processing my mental inbox (or my task and email inbox), reviewing what’s happening today, reviewing what’s due today, reviewing what I’m waiting for feedback on, reviewing what’s in scope for the remainder of the week, and then finally setting what tasks to focus on. 
  • Weekly review: These tasks start with basic cleanup of my desk and digital desktop, processing my inbox so it’s completely clear, reviewing my projects and setting the next week’s schedule. 

The “review” tasks are great for maintaining momentum and preventing projects from becoming stagnant.  

To do: Create a style guide next week

What would be the point of covering task management if we don’t create some tasks? Now that we’ve addressed goals, scheduling and task management, we can move forward on your marketing for the remainder of the quarter.

Next week, we’ll cover the first step which is creating a style guide and assets library using some simple tools. With these, you’ll find putting together marketing materials much easier. 

If you have any questions, please contact me or leave a question in the comments section below. Don’t forget to subscribe to my weekly Tuesday Tips, where I provide resources and tips to your inbox, completely free.