Ep 2 – How Do You Manage Tasks That You Didn’t Create?

How do you manage those tasks which you can’t control? You wish you could be completely in charge but there are some which come from life/boss/spouse/kids/the government that you don’t have a choice about.

What do you do about those?

Here on this podcast, I’ll tackle this problem with Ray Sidney-Smith and we’re hoping to gain some insights and possible solutions that will be brand new…all in real time.

Definition – A time demand is an internal, individual commitment to complete an action in the future.

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Ep 1 – What is the Task Management & Time Blocking Podcast All About?

How do you take your task management and time blocking to the next level? With so many bits and pieces of advice out there, it should be easy to figure out a plan of improvement, or at least your next step.

But there’s no single place you can trust that will help you come up with your next, best improvement. Here on the podcast, we’ll help by first offering up a tricky ask management problem, then exploring a range of possible solutions…all in real time.

The point is to do more than just offer cliches or repeat stuff said elsewhere. We want to come up with something new…every time!

Loaf of bread, container of milk, stick of butter Video – Sesamie Street https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNghp9tPXjo

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Remember to subscribe to this podcast via Apple, Google or your favorite podcast player.

Download a rough transcript of this episode.

Part 16 — Psychological Objects and Tasks


Part 16 — Psychological Objects and Tasks

Why You Must Separate Psychological Objects from their Physical and Digital Counterparts in Your Task Management

Problem

You want to manipulate future, incomplete tasks effectively, hoping to improve the way you manage them so you can become more effective. However, they seem to have a life of their own!

Even though you have set up a system of lists, schedules, reminders, apps, etc. to pin them down, they seem ready to slip away at a moment’s notice. Tasks are unlike physical objects like desks and chairs, or digital objects like documents or email messages. Instead, they are invisible and intangible.

Left untended, they have the unfortunate ability to disappear from view, never to be recalled ever again. Pus, they fade behind our other commitments, only to reappear suddenly when it’s too late, long after a problem has arisen.

Our problem is that we don’t treat them as if they have a special, unique nature. While we know that they are born when we make a specific commitment, and die when a task is completed or intentionally voided, what should happen in between remains a mystery. Even academic researchers barely understand!

Why Is This Important?

Someone who understands the distinction between psychological objects and physical or digital objects can manage each of them according to their unique properties. Given the fact that your task management system probably includes all three, this knowledge can help you make better quality improvements.

What’s the Link to the Rapid Assessment Program (RAP)?

In the RAP you see how it’s possible to make improvements which are in line with the ephemeral nature of tasks i.e. psychological objects. You are more likely to be effective with this insight, especially as you move forward to implement a plan of Pareto Improvements.

Find out more about the MyTimeDesign Rapid Assessment Program in this webinar.


Part 16 — Psychological Objects and Tasks was originally published in 2Time Labs on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Trailer – Introducing the Podcast w Francis Wade

Trailer for the Task Management & Time Blocking podcast with a little splash!

http://replytofrancis.info to leave us some feedback or ask a question via text or voicenote communication

https://timeblockingsummit.info to register for the March summit

https://mightytaskers.ScheduleU.org to join our community

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Remember to subscribe to this podcast via Apple, Google or your favorite podcast player.

Part 15 —Why You’ll Need Systemic Task Management

Why You Must Focus on Your Whole Task Management System Rather than its Parts

Problem

When you want to find a way to improve the way you manage your tasks, it’s tempting to do a Google search or visit a Q&A forum like Reddit or Quora. You’re looking for something important — probably a way to retain your peace of mind while accomplishing more.

But the answers you find at first probably look like small bits and pieces of something much larger. For example, someone who tried a particular practice or started using a new app may have made some gains. If task management were simple, this would be all the advice you’d need.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Our self-made systems are combinations of practices and apps we engage in each day. However, these elements are intertwined.

As such, like any complex system, you can’t simply focus on improving a single piece at the exclusion of the bigger picture. You may, in fact, make things worse if you tweak one aspect, but ignore the ripple effect which is created.

Why Is This Important?

It’s only natural to become frustrated when you attempt to make an improvement that only makes things worse. Some give up at this point, but they don’t need to.

Instead, they need to educate themselves about the inner workings of the task management system they use each day. This knowledge can lead them to make Pareto Improvements which have an outsized effect.

What’s the Link to the Rapid Assessment Program (RAP)?

The best way to learn how your task management system works isn’t to listen to a lecture. Instead, the RAP gives you self-diagnostic tools that help you craft a plan of improvement based on the fact that you need to take a systemic approach.

Find out more about the MyTimeDesign Rapid Assessment Program in this webinar.


Part 15 —Why You’ll Need Systemic Task Management was originally published in 2Time Labs on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Part 14 — The Law of Diminishing Returns in Task Management


Part 14 — The Law of Diminishing Returns in Task Management

Why it becomes harder to make improvements as your task volume increases

Problem

When you only had a small list of tasks, it was easy to make improvements. You took your productivity in this area seriously and made some good changes, expecting to continue in the same vein indefinitely.

However, as you moved to the next level, and the next, it seemed harder to keep up the pace of improvements. In fact, it may have felt like you were stalling.

Why did this occur?

To put it simply, you benefited from “beginner’s luck”. When you bring sound practices to a self-taught system of any kind, the effect is generally positive.

However, the reason it becomes harder to make the same progress has everything to do with the easy changes you have already made. Now, you just cannot grow as quickly, and you must shift your methods.

Why Is This Important?

The fact that you are managing more tasks is a sign of success, a fact to be celebrated. Unfortunately, you now need to accept that it will take more knowledge and effort to continue to make changes. As such, your expectations need to shift as well. To maintain the thrill of continuous learning, you must now make an investment in yourself.

You need to add to your knowledge, skills and awareness, enhancing your ability to self-diagnose your task management.

Fail to do so and you’ll get stuck. The Law of Diminishing Returns may lead you to quit.

What’s the Link to the Rapid Assessment Program (RAP)?

Within the RAP, you’ll learn the art of making progressively more sophisticated self-assessments. This takes patience, and a trained eye. But you’ll be more satisfied bythe end as deeper improvements become accessible.

Find out more about the MyTimeDesign Rapid Assessment Program in this webinar.


Part 14 — The Law of Diminishing Returns in Task Management was originally published in 2Time Labs on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Part 13 — The Switch Away from Persisting with Old Lessons


Part 13 — The Switch Away from Persisting with Old Lessons

Why, in task management, you’ll need to switch from approaches that worked for you in the past

Problem

As a productivity enthusiast, you have made a number of positive changes to your task management. These were gratifying, and you want more of them to retain that thrill of learning. But have you reached the point where it’s difficult to make noticeable improvements? If so, it may be time to give up on the approaches that have worked so well up until now.

Most of the learning for beginners in task management tends to be easy to follow. It’s usually prescriptive, made up of precisely detailed behavioral rules compiled by a thoughtful guru. They make a difference quickly, in what some call “beginner’s luck”.

The temptation is to keep doing what you have always done. To follow the same advice that gave you the early gains.

However, you may find that it becomes more difficult to continue your personal growth. Why? The easy fixes have all been made. The next round won’t yield the same gains, and they are harder to uncover. At this point there are a few strategies you can pursue.

  • A few people double down and try harder to implement their initial lessons. For example, some folks who picked up Getting Things Done by David Allen are urged to double down on his advice by others who are more experienced. They explain where the new follower isn’t actually implementing his advice correctly, with predictable results.
  • Some look for a different prescription from a new guru. They still want to be told what to do, just by someone else.
  • A handful make the switch. Sometimes without knowing, they follow the example of gurus who craft their own improvements, becoming self-coaches in their own right.

While it’s clear that the first approach doesn’t work, some find it difficult to give up their success formula. After all, most gurus don’t advise their followers to look for signs that it’s time to move on. They don’t talk about the switch — it’s no good for business.

Why Is This Important?

If you’re like most people, you stick to methods of learning that worked in the past, trusting them to deliver in the future. These tend to be pedagogical rather than androgogical lessons, meant for novices rather than experienced learners.

Now that you have some task management knowledge, it’s better to jump straight to a heutagogical approach, in which you drive your own learning.

What’s the Link to the Rapid Assessment Program (RAP)?

The RAP is designed for those who have already made the mental switch, but need tools to conduct their first systematic self-diagnosis of their task management methods. With pre-made tools and concepts, you can discern slight nuances which enable you to make Pareto Improvements. Now you can plan for the future.

Find out more about the MyTimeDesign Rapid Assessment Program in this webinar.


Part 13 — The Switch Away from Persisting with Old Lessons was originally published in 2Time Labs on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Is Self-Assessment the Way to Better Task Management?

Are you a productivity enthusiast who is eager to continue your improvements?

Remember when you first discovered GTD or a similar productivity approach for the first time? In those early days, everything you tried seemed to work. It was amazing: as if someone were flicking on the switch for the first time. All of a sudden, you were enlightened to practices you were already using, and now you could see, name and improve them all at will.

Before long, you boosted your capacity to manage more tasks and it was thrilling!

But now that you are managing more commitments than ever before, you may have noticed an anomaly. When there’s a sudden increase in task volume due to a project, promotion or shift to working from home, you notice feelings of overwhelm.

Why has that experience returned? Why don’t the early lessons you learned still work? Why does the stuff you teach others not apply any longer?

Come to this webinar and learn why you may need to shift to a different way of making improvements now that you are more experienced…with greater task volume

You’ll leave with the new mindset needed to make continuous improvements as a seasoned productivity enthusiast. Plus, you’ll be introduced to new tools such as the MyTimeDesign Rapid Assessment which help you analyze your whole-system-at-once rather than the components. They’ll lead you to the Pareto Improvements you really want to make more than anything.

Webinar: Is Self-Assessment the Way to Better Task Management?
May 20, 2021. 7pm Eastern (GMT -4)

To register, click here: https://live.remo.co/e/self-assessment-the-way

See you there!

Francis

Webinar: 3 Hidden Secrets to Using Contexts and Tags for Tasks in 2021

Are you using the best contexts or tags for your tasks? Or none at all?

If you read the 2001 version of Getting Things Done by David Allen, you may know that 20 years later, in an era of new technology and working from home, the original contexts must be updated and customized.

Perhaps you already use (or tried to use) your own contexts or tags, wishing that there were more clear directions. It’s hard to figure out the best way; some have even argued they are unnecessary, but is that true? Finding the right way for you is an effort in frustration.

In this webinar we’ll use the latest research to explore the secrets of task tagging i.e. contexts. You’ll learn why we use them all the time, mostly without knowing how. Yet, they are powerful when properly customized and applied.

Furthermore, you’ll see why you may need to update the way you tag your tasks in order to increase your productivity, not once but several times. You’ll see why this is especially true for ambitious overachievers: they don’t have a choice but to keep changing.

Save your spot: Thursday, January 28th 2021 at 6pm Eastern
https://live.remo.co/e/3-hidden-secrets-to-using-contex

Join us in this free, interactive session. Then, remain for a few more minutes to complete an exercise with other attendees at your private, virtual tables.

Finally, this webinar is based on a deep-dive article I wrote which will be launched during the event in text, audio and video formats.

We have a lot to learn from each other. See you there!

Francis

P.S. The webinar will be live-streamed to YouTube from the interactive Remo platform, where space is limited. Never used Remo before? It’s a step above Zoom – so here’s a quick tutorial and an equipment checklist. Remember  to close down other apps and tabs so you get to use full bandwidth and  memory.