Digital Top Five: Task tackling tips

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GARETH Hughes, designer at Manchester digital design company magneticNorth, offers advice on how best to manage your digital workload.

1. Figure out what methods and tools work for you
Everyone has different requirements and memory spans. Some people like to store entire project plans as tasks, while others tackle each day as it comes using only sticky notes. It can take a while to find tools and methods that work for you. The amount of choices is ever-increasing.

2. Keep directories to a minimum
The trick to noting down tasks is storing them in as few places as possible – a frictionless method of getting your ideas or tasks down before forgetting. You’ll find worrying about what goes where and in which order can lead to forgetting what was supposed to be noted down in the first place.

3. Consider task managing apps
There are hundreds of task managing apps out there. While the truth is you don’t really need them, there are reasons why they’re worth considering. Unlike web apps, you can access native ones offline; people take their phone with them wherever they go, so there’s little worry of forgetting a reminder.

4. Use a pen and paper in meetings
There are good and bad points to using pen and paper – most obviously, you can lose a post-it or bury one in a sketchbook, never to be seen again. At the same time, it’s recommended during meetings and critiques. Making notes into a digital device can appear like you’re texting while a client is making some important points. You can make it as obvious as you like that you’re making notes, but it still somehow feels rude.

5. Concentrate on fewer tasks to improve the quality of your input
Although it’s a difficult decision to make, putting a project on hold can sometimes be the smartest option. Spending the time on a key project that would have otherwise been spent elsewhere can improve work that is more important to you.

External links to note
A podcast on productivity and other related topics: http://5by5.tv/b2w
Gareth recently asked, “Tasks, how do you handle them?”: http://branch.com/b/tasks-how-do-you-handle-them

Follow Gareth Hughes @goodworkson