This post is about how I structure my work. At Ericsson we use a lot of Microsoft Office 365 products and therefore the structure is very much tied to those services.
Let’s start with where I get my tasks from. I get my task from emails, chats, meetings or calls as well as to-dos from earlier.
When I get an email there are three different scenarios. Either I act directly and then archive it, I use the snooze function to snooze the email to a better time or there is a bigger task embedded in the email and then I create a to-do in my to-do app and then archive the email from the email client. My goal each day is to reach inbox zero. I do not move emails into folders since that takes a lot of time and the search functions in email clients these days are so good. Saying that I try to be clever of the titles of the email, so they are easier to search for.
Chats are similar but compared to email you can often act directly. Since there is no snooze function in Teams, I keep the chat shown until I’ve acted upon the to-do and then hide when they are done. This way I know who I’ve responded to and who are waiting on a response. Making sure no one falls between the cracks.
In meetings or calls I take quick notes to not lose focus. When the conversation is over, I clean up the note, move any to-dos into my to-do app and then store the note if necessary or place it in an archive folder or section.
Finally, we get to the to-do app. When it is time, I start working on my to-dos for the day, check them off or postpone them to a later date.
Each day my mission is to reach inbox zero, hide all chats in Teams, store any notes and finish all tasks for the day. I also make sure my desktop and downloads folder are cleaned after each day.
In the end of the work week, I write a report of the week having the following point:
- What did you do this week?
- What are you going to do next week?
- Do you have any problems preventing you from moving on?
- What are you thankful for this week?
- Any other comments about the week?
Here I get the time to reflect upon what I’ve done each week and what I’m going to do next week. I copy the report from the previous week and move up all tasks I said last week I should have done this week. If there is something I didn’t do, it’s good for me to reflect upon it and there could be a problem I should reach out for help with. This year I’ve also added what I’m thankful for since that is something I’m trying to get better at – being thankful.
From time to time I go over my to-dos in my to-do app to see if there is something I’ve been postponing multiple times. I take a moment to think about those tasks. Sometimes there is something missing for me to finish off those tasks, or it could be the tasks are not that important and I do not need to do them. In those cases, I remove them. Removing a task you have postponed for a long time is such a good feeling!
These are only my personal tasks. If I’m working in a larger project with multiple tasks and stakeholders it is great to have a shared overview of all the tasks in a project management tool, like Notion, in a simple presentation or in a spreadsheet. But don’t just create a timeline for the sake of it, they should be used and updated otherwise they lose its purpose. But project management is for another post.
Hope this post gave you some inspiration on how to manage your tasks. Please comment below if you have any suggestions for me on how to improve or share how you work with your tasks.