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I have built my productive task/time management system in various applications and various strategies. It seems that I have concluded in a system that helps me a lot, but I want to force this to 99%.

I use Asana and found that using ONE workspace for everything works for me. This makes everything easier to tag, to see all projects together and finally to get ONE list with every task from every project, prioritised.

Where I am still lacking is in tagging and prioritising tasks. The tags I use are categorised:

By place:
@work, @home, @errands

By importance:
A-must do, B-should do, C-nice to do, D-delegate

I usually plan to do tasks late at night and most of the times I fail because I do not have much energy. Choosing tasks by energy level could be nice, but is it worth it?

Do you think that tagging tasks by "energy level" is effective?
Which is the sequence that you choose which task to do next ?

Asana (as many other task management apps) lets you save custom searches, so saving a search like "@home, B-should do, low energy" is possible.

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First thing I see missing is tags for the time it will take. This can help you schedule. –  Jan Doggen Sep 16 '13 at 13:30
    
It is cool that you have managed toc reate your own system of prioritrizing the tasks in the way it is more convenient to you. I have never used Asana. I implement the software Comindware. Before I had JIRA. Well, to sum it up they are all practically the same with tasks. –  user6296 Sep 25 '13 at 10:40

2 Answers 2

Obviously, you should not do this if the cost of tagging your tasks exceeds the benefit of having them. There is really no way of knowing what works for you until you've tried it. Many productivity systems involve trying to estimate the effort that a task requires, so it may be a good idea.

Personally, I believe personal productivity systems should minimize overhead work, so I would abstain from doing it.

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After trying a mess of time management "systems", I finally came up with something that's working for me quite well. I use google calendar...but instead of tasks, I set up appointments for myself. They're color coded yellow for work, gray for errands & home stuff, green for personal projects or "me time" and red for a scheduled, actual appointment. The description of the meeting/task includes A,B,C,D for must/should/nice/delegate; I always write AAA BBB CCC etc so it's a searchable string. Stands out better, too. I can also include links and reference materials for myself if needed, so when I'm in the grocery store, I have the shopping list attached to the "shopping" errand.

For me, actually scheduling a hour to run errands or a half hour to do dishes or three hours to garden seems to have had the psychological side effect of making me do it with as much consciousness as having a meeting with someone else.

Being visual, it's ~really~ easy for me to see where I may be out of balance between work/home/self just be seeing if a particular color stands out in a particular week.

I've got the added benefit of sharing the claendar with family and friends so they can coordinate with me to get together and get things done--they know that yellow and red are fixed in stone, as are any items designated AAA.

Overhead is as complex as I need it to be. A quick "AAA - laundry", a few clicks, and I'm done. Or I can spend ten minutes pasting links to a couple NAS systems I want to read about some evening.

Sometimes I'll encounter tasks of a yet-to-be-determined length. For instance, I know a client needs a website update, but I have no idea if it's a 40 hour project or a six hour project. In those cases, I'll take my best guess (usually I'll allocate a week) and make "work on client website" a five-day all-day appointment. I'll have my "meeting with client to gather requrements" appointment set, and sometime between the two, I'll aloocate a half hour or an hour to "eveluate client requirements and schedult work time." That's when I know the exact number of hours and the exact deadline, and can change the all-day events to specifically timed events.

I would say that in 80% of cases, I finish things when they're scheduled to be finished. When I don't, it's usually becuase a client re-prioritizes someting for me or I realize I'm out of clean socks, so laundry needs to happen tonight instead of Thursday. I review my calendar twice a day. Before I start anything, just to review what I've got to get done, and then at the end of the day as a checkup for how I did. Of course, if soemthing new comes along and I need to re-prioritize, I can take a few minutes to do that as needed. In the 20% of cases where I don't complete a task, I just drag and drop it to the next available open slot. I may need to juggle some things around in the schedule, but it's a very intuitive interface to visially see where tasks and appointments are going to land.

For personal "I'd like to do that someday..." I color code that green with a CCC "nice to do " code. I put it in a calendar slot that's open, usually on a weekend, then move it to another time when something with a higher priority comes along. Again, it's just the idea that as a graphical interface, it's easy to drag and drop to-do appointments from one place to the next.

The biggest advantage to me from a productivity standpoint was rather than having a "to-do" list, I have an actually "appointment" to pay bills or do laundry or work on a client's project...and that's what I've found works the best for me as a system. I've also found that the flexibility to just move an appointment to another day when something pops up unexpectedly is super easy. I can instantly see what my future schedule looks like when I move an appointment, too.

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Great approach! How do you deal with tasks that you just don't know how much they'll take until you actually dedicate time to do some analysis on them? –  Alpha Sep 14 '13 at 8:04
    
When you put a task on your calendar, it's supposed to be done on the same date/time. Are you able to finish all tasks as planned? if not, how do you postpone the tasks? Also, how do you keep track of the tasks that you are not intend to do right now but some day when you have free time. –  matrix Sep 15 '13 at 16:37
    
@Alpha see editied answer above. too long for a comment. :) –  dwwilson66 Sep 16 '13 at 10:49
    
@matrix see editied answer above. too long for a comment. :) –  dwwilson66 Sep 16 '13 at 10:49
    
@dwwilson66, great! I used to do this using trello. This was super simple. But then things got complicated for me (multiple work projects, personal commitments, super extended work hours etc.) so I switched to toodledo. –  matrix Sep 16 '13 at 15:19

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