How often do you feel frustrated because of the amount of work you need to do or when you forgot to follow up on an important subject? If this is you, keep on reading.
In today’s article, I will share some insights into how I manage my work on a daily basis as a leader.
There are a lot of tools that can help you with managing your workload. In my case, Trello is my best friend here. So let’s look at this demo Trello board that simulates some of the things that I do at work:
Look at the columns
There are the following columns:
- Highlights and notes
This column lists all the optional things I’d like to do. Also, I’m a team leader and every year I need to provide a written performance review of each of my team members in order not to forget the person’s achievements that year. I also write constructive feedback. Here, I’ve created a card for each person. In this card, each comment is a separate feedback that I want to provide.
- To do
It is my backlog of things that I am required to do.
- In progress
It is the things that I started to work on or that require my attention.
It is the best one which lists all the things that I completed or doesn’t need to follow up on.
Looking at the labels
One of the features that the Trello app provides is to categorize each task using labels.
With that feature, I decided to create different labels that help me to organize my day. Below I explain the reason for each one and when it is useful to use them.
- Quick tasks
Everyone has tasks that don’t take more than approx. 5 min to complete. For example, approving holidays, creating a Jira issue without a description ( developers can populate this better ), updating a weekly status page, etc. These are easy tasks that we can do between meetings when we have 5, 10, or 15 min to spare. So during these slot times, I can look at my board and see what I can quickly dispatch and deliver. It is a way to get things done.
- Complex tasks
Those are tasks that require more time to do: 1, 2, or more hours. In those cases, I try to book some slot times in my calendar. If I see that I only need ~2 hours to do the task, I book for example 50 min on one day and another 50 min on another day, etc. I try not to book 2 hours on the same day. Why? Because other people might need my attention or help; they might need me to answer a quick question. My colleagues are my main focus.
This label represents a task requested by my leader or someone that is substituting them. So with this label, I know that I need to pay more attention or try not to forget about the task. I usually try to understand when we need to deliver it because with dates we can prioritize our tasks and manage our time better.
- To follow
There are some tasks that I don’t need to be involved in or don’t require much action on my part, apart from general supervision. It can be, for example, a big project that can impact our work and I need to follow the discussions, etc. Also, it can be a Jira issue that was created by my team member that depends on external people to complete it. In this case, I can help my colleague reach people outside of the team at every stage of the process. So for these kinds of tasks, I name the label “To follow” because I need to be updated on this task.
- My Day
This label tells me that I want to complete this in the current day.
This label is used for tasks that depend on other people to complete. For example, when I ask to create a new DNS for my website. The DNS creation is the responsibility of other teams. Another example is when I’m waiting for some answers from other people to complete the task.
For some of these labels, like Quick tasks, Complex tasks, and Management, I usually set deadlines using the cards that are assigned to them. Next, I order the cards by priority. The tool also allows me to use these cards to post comments and updates.
To summarise, I use the Trello board to organize my workload on a daily basis, dividing it into 4 columns: Wishlist and Notes, To do, In progress, and Completed. I use labels to understand what kind of tasks I have at hand and how to prioritize them. I find it extremely helpful because it’s easy to use, very intuitive, and efficient. Overall, Trello has been an indispensable tool when it comes to managing my time well.
Enjoy the rest of the day and thank you for the time that you took to read my article.