Task Management Software for Focus and Productivity

The right task management software gives you the tools to take control of the sea of endless tasks and competing demands on your time. If you want you or your team to increase productivity then you should consider task management software.

A good task system tells you what needs to be done today and what needs to be done now! This is important because in today's world our brains are wandering off what needs to be done more than you think!

Did you know, that the average attention span when online is 8 seconds! This is just 1 second more than a goldfish!

And it is no wonder...social networks, internet content...all vie for yours and your employees' attention. Our minds are being trained to wander through this barrage of information and to sift out what is necessary - which only adds to the problem of attention shift.

The productivity issue is that if your job is to add value to knowledge then you really need sustained attention and a software system that tells you what tasks to do next. 

Task management software

What task management software is available

The great thing with task software is that it does not involve you pulling out your wallet. There are plenty of free ones that do an adequate job and if you like them then you can step up to a more serious version.

Whether you use task software that is built into your mail server, such as Google tasks or Outlook tasks, or use specific task management software such as Remember the Milk, MangoApps, Producteev, Wunderlist, you want to be able to:

  • generate tasks and sub-tasks (and to be able to do this from your emails as well),
  • track your task completion at the individual, team, or company level,
  • organize, schedule and ensure that your tasks get done on time,
  • create task hierarchies and prioritize resources, and
  • assign these tasks and resources across individuals, teams, or company.

But the problem is that there are 100’s of task management systems on the market that it can be difficult to choose the right software for you.

In short, task management software should be able to track the life-cycle of the task - across the entire organization, project team, or the few employees in your small business.

But there are a few important questions to ask to get the right software for you.

Choosing the right task management software

When you are thinking of buying task management software there are a number of questions that you need to ask:

✔ Does the software program allow you to organize your tasks into groups or different projects?

This is important as then you are able to prioritize by projects and tasks within projects (similar to much project planning software).

✔ Are you able to schedule your tasks so that you know when the tasks need to be done and by whom?

Building a task schedule is important as it helps you to identify task bottlenecks and priorities.

Your task management software should also be able to assign people to these different projects so that people on the project have tasks scheduled daily.

The assignment of tasks to others needs to be able to tracked through to completion by the software program.

✔ Can you print out your prioritized task list in different formats or export your task list to MS Excel or HTML?

✔ Are you able to email your task list to others?

Being able to assign or delegate tasks though the task management system makes delegation as simple as an email.

Most people manage their tasks and their emails on the one system. Some of the greatest gains can be leveraged from interfacing your email system with your task system.

✔ Can supporting information or notes be linked to tasks? These notes time stamped and shared across activities.

Files or weblinks need be able to be attached to each task. This is particularly important in other software programs such as calendar scheduling software or appointment scheduling software.

✔ Can you turn emails into actionable items in your task management system? Given that the average white collar worker spends more than 2 hours reading and responding to email, it is important that you task management system is connected to your email program.

By prioritizing your emails through your task management system ensures you spend your time on what is important, not just what is at the top of the Inbox.

The capability to turn emails into actionable items is also important for any personal time management software.

✔ Is their a steep learning curve to understand the software.

You don't want to have to have PhD in order to run your system. A modest learning curve with flexibility and good support is important.

✔ Are you able to sync your tasks with the team and can the data be backed up across different systems?

✔ Can your task management system integrate with other applications such as Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes?

Being able to sync with smartphones or your PDA is becoming increasingly important.

✔ Does your task management system link to other departments in your business?

Linking task management software to other departments you have a finger on the pulse of your business and ensure that your employees are spending their time on the highest priorities of the business.

For example, organizations that bill at the task or project level, can easily

  • incorporate the time and resources spent on a project,
  • generate invoices and wages, and
  • estimate future costs.

This could streamline your business and improve the quality of the service you provide your customers. What could be more important for your business or your productivity!

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