Task management apps are powerful, critical tools for maintaining productivity. But despite modern breakthroughs in productivity technology, many of us often fall short of utilizing these apps to their fullest potential.
I provide time management coaching to a lot of people so I see how they struggle with using their task management apps effectively. Here are the ten most common mistakes I have noticed people make when using task management apps, and tips on how to avoid them.
1. Not Taking Time to Learn the App
Task management apps have a ton of features, so they all have a bit of a learning curve. If you don’t take the time to learn your app well, you are only operating at a fraction of its potential for enhancing your productivity.
Solution: Have dedicated time set aside for learning your new task management app. Look for training videos on YouTube or on the app’s website and take the time to get fully familiar with your new productivity app
2. Not Reaching Out for Support
Many of my clients come to me for help with their apps BEFORE asking for support from the software provider.
While I am always happy to help, in many cases there was a quick and easy solution that the support team for the app could have provided.
Solution: Ask tons of questions of the support team for your productivity app. This also helps you test a new app’s support team to make sure they give great support before you build your whole productivity system into the app.
3. Neglecting to Prioritize Tasks With Task Management Apps
One of the most frequent mistakes is the lack of task prioritization. Many users have the habit of piling tasks onto the app without assigning any levels of urgency or importance. This results in lots of unattended or forgotten tasks.
Solution: Before adding any task, determine its priority level. Consider factors such as deadlines, task dependencies, or impacts on your goals.
4. Skipping Task Descriptions
A common mistake is not adding a succinct summary or description of the task. This proves problematic, particularly when working in teams, as tasks can become confusing.
Solution: Always add a brief overview of what the task involves. It increases clarity and keeps everyone on the same page.
5. Overlooking the Power of Labels or Tags
Labels and tagging serve to categorize or identify the type of task. Unfortunately, many users ignore this feature, leading to disorganized task lists.
Solution: Utilize tags or labels to group related tasks—this aids in quick identification and improves task organization. This also lets you tag tasks for delegating or outsourcing.
6. Avoiding Collaboration Features
Often, task management apps are used in isolation, ignoring the collaboration capabilities when working in a team.
Solution: Harness features such as assigning tasks, commenting, and sharing files within the app for effective team communication and collaboration. You can also use your app for delegating to your subordinates or to a virtual assistant.
7. Infrequent App Use
Ironically, many users forget to use their task management apps regularly.
Solution: Make it a habit to open the app daily. Live in your app workspace. Regular use ensures reminding about the pending tasks and staying on top of deadlines.
8. Not Updating Task Status
For many users, once tasks are entered, they forget to update the task status, leading to confusion about task progress.
Solution: Regularly update the status of tasks – whether they’re ‘in progress’, ‘completed’, or ‘on hold’.
9. Not Using Comments
On a number of occasions, I have written a new article on a topic only to find a partially completed article on the topic on my WordPress site. This happened because I forgot to add a comment to the task that I had already started the article.
Solution: Whenever you have to leave a task partially unfinished, post a comment as to exactly where you left off so you can quickly pick up at that point when you get back to the task.
10. Overcomplicated Task Structures
Complex task structures can make task management overwhelming. Many people spend more time developing elaborate task systems than they do actually finishing and ticking off tasks as “done.”
Solution: Keep the task structure simple. Use subtasks for breaking down complex tasks into manageable parts.
In conclusion, while these mistakes are common, they are also easily correctable. By making some slight adjustments to your usage, you can harness the full potential of your task management apps to boost productivity and efficiency.