Skip to main content

Capture Then Process Your Tasks For Higher Productivity

Check out my book for more ideas:
click here.
Everyone is busy. During the day we received additional requests for help, ideas that pop into our heads and there are other project tasks that we need to undertake. How we capture and then process these items can affect our productivity and effectiveness. Having an approach that suits you is key to making sure that progress gets made.

The biggest failure that I see is not have a 'mechanism' to capture the new items that make up your workload. For some this is a notepad with 'to do' items on it. For others this is their in-tray, their e-mail inbox, an app on their phone, a whiteboard in their office, or something else altogether. Whatever it is that you use it is essential that you use it to ensure that everything is captured. Don't let anything fall down the cracks.

Once you have a mechanism in place then you can review and prioritise the actions in your list. I see many quick tasks get stuck behind longer tasks. The quick tasks might get another colleague's project back on track and so making the right decision about what to work on is critical, especially if you work as part of a team. Working from the top-down makes sense only if you have recently prioritised your list. Take the time out to evaluate your (consolidated) list and work out what will get you the best results for the least amount of effort and prioritise accordingly.

Finding a small chunk of time is also essential in order to get through your list(s). However you capture your items you will end up with a list of some sort. Even a small amount of time each week will allow you to complete a few tasks and make sure that there is nothing in your queue of work that is going to bite you if you leave it for a few more days. Flushing these queues periodically is also a good way to make sure that work flows and it keeps you right with your obligations.

People often rely too heavily on their e-mail programs and their memories, not always the best strategy for productive task management. If you find yourself being chased for information, struggling to close out actions, remembering what you were asked to do, or feel a little overwhelmed with what you have to do then please review the three main steps listed above:

  1. capture everything, 
  2. prioritise, 
  3. regularly nibble your way through your list.
Be systematic in your capturing and processing. Build a routine, form a habit. It will make your working life easier if you haven't done this already.



Giles Johnston
...fixing MRP systems and re-engineering business processes

Popular posts from this blog

Where to start with Kaizen, if you just aren't sure

Kaizen is a great word. It is a word that can unleash the potential of both a business and an individual. Kaizen means more than just continuous improvement. It is a word that is linked to: Confidence Growth Exploration Courage Many people I speak to, that are new to improvement projects, aren't sure if they are on the right path when it comes to embracing the spirit of Kaizen. If you are also one of these people then let me share with you a few thoughts that can help you feel at ease about starting and leading change. Start with your concerns A great place to start your improvement life is with anything that isn't right. Getting your concerns out into the open really is the first step for most of us. If you aren't happy with something, raise it. This isn't only a great place to start, but something that you shouldn't give up. Whenever a standard is not being met, or not even defined, get vocal and then do something about it. Start small The intention of Kaizen is

Stimulating Kaizen opportunities - the 'mechanical' way!

I often end up in conversations about how to stimulate Kaizen ideas and opportunities. If you have read my other posts, you will know that I split the improvement journey into two halves. For many people, the initial Kaizen focus is all around fixing things that are wrong / not working properly. Once you get past this point you need something else to focus and motivate you to generate improvement opportunities. The two halves of the Kaizen journey The discussion that I often end up in, is the one around the imagination quandary. People talk to me about not being creative, or not being inspired to come up with improvement ideas. Do you ever feel this way? It seems that there is a popular view that some people are creative and some aren't. Great Kaizen ideas are not just the product of 'creative' people. There are lots of ways that you can generate improvement ideas without having to sit on a mountain top cross legged waiting for inspiration. Finding a 'mechanical' w

Kaizen projects: being honest about being off track

Projects, especially improvement projects, have a tendency to get off track. There is often a clear distinction between projects for customers and projects for ourselves. If our improvement projects fall behind then our customers won't be barking at us; it is no wonder that if something is going to slip it is our Kaizen endeavours. For some people this can be a tough conversation to have. No one wants to be a 'failure' and pride often gets in the way. In my experience it seems that it is believed to be far more credible to ignore the requirement to improve than to admit that we aren't making progress. So, if you find yourself (and your business) in this situation, what can you do about it? Let me share with you two options to increase the visibility in your business around progress with projects and four options to help get your projects back on track. Increasing visibility Ok, no more hiding the status of Kaizen activities . This also means no more being precious about