In this video and article, I am going to show you my approach to organizing and viewing tasks in task management software. For the demonstration, I used Notion, but most common task management software systems that allow tagging can be used in a similar way.
You can also access and copy the task management template shown here in the article.
Task Management Software Setup
Let’s start by looking at my initial task setup. I created a simple table in Notion and added the fields I wanted to have for each task. What I love about custom tools like Notion is that I am not restricted to the fields that someone else thinks I need to be productive. I can add as many fields as I want.
I sorted the initial table by due date so I can see the upcoming tasks that are due.
I have some unusual fields others may not think of such as focus levels and tagging. I will explain why these are important later in the article.
Viewing a Single Task in Depth
When I click on any Task to open it, I can see a more in-depth view of all the fields. Here is what I use them for:
- Task Name: self-explanatory . A short name or title of the task
- Due Date
- Assigned To – Who will do the task
- Tags – I tag tasks to group in other ways such as out of office tasks
- Focus – Will this task need deep focus or is it a simple task
- Instructions – link to video/written instructions on how to do the task
- Comments – When I have to leave a task for any reason, I add a comment to remind me where I am at
- Notes/Text below
Priority Task View
But this table isn’t all that useful as is. To make this task management software table really useful, we need to start sorting, filtering and creating views.
Here is an example of a Priority view I created that ONLY shows the top priority items.
The benefits of showing only the high priority items is twofold:
- Tight time constraints – If you can only work for a short time today (illness, vacation, upcoming meeting), the high priority task view ensures you know which are the hightest priority tasks in this tight time frame
- Improves focus – by removing all the less important tasks from your view, it is easier to focus on these highest priority tasks. Once the highest priority tasks are done, you can move to the next, medium priority tasks
Next, let’s look at the Project view I have created.
View by Projects vs View by Single Project
The View by Project helps gather together all the tasks and group them by project. So, if I have decided to set a block of time aside this afternoon for Marketing, I can see all the marketing tasks together.
But I still find this view distracting because it is showing many other tasks other than the tasks for the project I am working on. So I went a step further and created views for EACH of the projects.
Here is what my Marketing only view looks like. As you can see, it removes all the clutter so I can easily focus on just the tasks relating to this single project. Of course, within the project view, I can also sort by priority levels, due dates, etc.
Low Energy View
Earlier, I said I use some fields that aren’t usually used in common task management software programs. In this case, I created a field called Focus and gave it options like:
This identifies which tasks are really simple to do and which require deep focus. So I created a Low Energy View in the task management software to show ONLY the Simple focus levels, then sorted them by priority.
So, at 3pm in the day where I don’t have a lot of focus energy left, I have a ready list of simple, yet important tasks I can work on. Similarly, I can create another view for deep focus and schedule a time block for these first thing in the morning when I am freshest.
Here is the low energy view.
Delegate or Tag View
Another field I love that many don’t use is the Tags field. I use Tags for things like:
- identifying tasks I want to delegate
- identifying out of office tasks such as errands I want to run
- tagging tasks I want to delegate
If your task management software doesn’t support tagging, it might be worth looking at other software.
In this case, I created a view called Delegate to identify all the tasks I want to delegate to others to get them off of my list.
While I prefer table-type task lists, many people prefer a Kanban view like Trello. Here is an example of how you might set up a process view using the Kanban view feature in Notion.
This lets you just drag the card to the appropriate column based on where the card/task is in the process.
I like that Notion lets me with with tables, lists, text, graphics and Kanban views so seamlessly.
Addition Views and Next Steps
Some additional views I can create in this task management software include:
- finding unassigned tasks
- gathering together out of office errands
- pulling all tasks to be automated together
I hope you have enjoyed this look at how I use views to prioritize and organize my tasks and keep my focus. You can download this task management template here and copy it for your own use or use it as inspiration for organizing within your existing task management software.
Stay happy and productive!
Garland – “Captain Time”