Integrating a task management app into your workflow is a great way to keep your work on track. Yet while there are many task apps available, many lack important functions and features that are critical to your productivity. Here, you’ll not only get a rundown of important task management features to watch out for, but you’ll also be given a strong set of effective task management tips to keep you and your team moving in the right direction!
As I’m sure you know, there are many task management apps available. The best task apps are ones that are much more than just simple to-do apps or reminders. In fact, the most useful ones integrate many important productivity features and tools, essentially serving as your all-in-one digital productivity workspace. So here, let’s delve into what to look for in a task manager application and what features are important considerations. Then later, we’ll run through some effective task management tips to keep you on track.
Let’s get started…
Task Management App: Important Features To Consider
When asked about his approach to productivity and how he schedules his work, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk put it very simply: “If other people are putting in 40 hour workweeks and you’re putting in 100 hour workweeks, then even if you’re doing the same thing…you will achieve in four months what it takes them a year to achieve.”
Now, 100 hour workweeks may work for super-acheivers like Elon, but for us mere mortals, you and I may not be willing (or able) to put in such a crazy amount of hours. But there are certainly ways that we can take the hours that we do dedicate to work and get more out of them. Many studies show that most of us are not utilizing our working hours effectively and efficiently to get maximum results.
So if you’ve got a lot on your plate and a lot you want to get done, then task organization is going to be critical for you to manage and prioritize your work.
One very effective way to stay organized is to of course make use of task management apps. Most commonly, these are web-based apps that run on your mobile device or computer that help you track tasks and prioritize your work.
Now as great as task management apps are, I’m sure you’ve been in this familiar spot: You know you’ve got to better organize yourself. You know there are some great tools to help keep you on top of your work. And maybe you’ve even downloaded and installed a few task management apps to take for a test drive.
But very often, the hectic pace of daily life gets in the way and we abandon our task management aspirations (and apps).
Has this happened to you?
The big problem with task management tools and applications is this: They have to intuitively fit into our existing workflows and processes. And I say intuitively because most often, we don’t have the time or flexibility to stop what we’re doing and learn a new task management tool…and then figure out how to integrate it into our existing work.
This is why the best tools naturally and unobtrusively fit into our pre-existing workflows.
Another big problem with managing our tasks and keeping ourselves on track is having to juggle multiple applications simultaneously. If you have to open a handful of different apps, login to a variety of platforms, keep an eye on multiple browser tabs (each running a different app), and manage notifications coming at you from various directions, then you’re going to quickly get overwhelmed.
In fact, for most of us, this is exactly what we’re dealing with.
The key with finding the right task organization application is making sure that the tool you use doesn’t create more work and overwhelm for you. This of course leads to less productivity — the exact opposite of what we’re after here!
So it’s important to find a task management app that simplifies your work, fits in with your current processes, that’s unobtrusive, and that doesn’t complicate your workflows.
Put Your Work In A Single Spot
When you’re on the hunt to find the best task organizer application to use, it’s important to note that realistically, you’ll need more than just a task manager. In other words, the best way to make task management work for you is to have everything you and your team needs all in one spot — including additional features like instant messaging, filesharing, scheduling, and more.
So really, the best task managers are more than just simple to-do organizers. After all, it’s counter-productive and even downright frustrating than having to jump between a handful of different platforms just to get your work done.
A great task organization app should eliminate the need for keeping your email open and constantly checking it, relying on various different platforms like Skype, Zoom, and others. This way, things will be much more streamlined for you. And, your task management app should integrate tightly with services you already rely on like email, Google Drive, Dropbox, and others.
Said another way, what makes for the best task management app is a tool that combines communication tools, project management features, tasks, video calls, file sharing, reminders, and more, all bundled into a single tool.
This is certainly a tall order. However this eliminates the need for bouncing between tools and platforms, which is a productivity killer. Constantly switching between applications is disruptive and distracting, which again, is counter-productive!
The less clicking around, logging in, and emailing files you do, the more organized and productive you will be. The more application you can remove from your workflows, the more productive you’ll be — that’s the name of the game!
So in this way, you could think of your task management application as your complete digital workspace — a workspace that supports all your communications, to-do’s, file sharing, and so on. With this arrangement, you’ll have everything you need, when you need it, all in one spot.
With this understanding, let’s now take a brief look at some top features and functions that should be integrated into your task management application.
File Sharing At Your Fingertips
First up, when you’re researching task management apps, one very important feature to look for is file sharing. This is key to keeping on-task and staying productive. Earlier we talked about a task manager that seamlessly and non-disruptively integrates with your existing workflow. Now very likely, you’re already using a cloud-based file management system like Dropbox or Google Drive.
The best task organization tools allow you to easily integrate these file management platforms directly into your task application. This means that the files related to your individual tasks — PDFs, Word docs, spreadsheets, and more — are always on hand and easily retrieved.
This saves you the hassle and frustration of digging through emails looking for attachments or files on your computer. The good news is, many task managers provide the option to attach files directly to tasks, including Hibox.
Get Your Notifications Under Control
Next, in order to get the most out of your workday, reminders and notifications can certainly keep you on track — so long as they aren’t disruptive and intrusive. And that’s really the true point of a task manager, isn’t it? The idea here is for our task manager to keep us on task so that we can get our most important work done and not get distracted with low-priority work.
The trouble is, if you’re using a variety of tools in your workflow (rather than having all your work in a single digital workspace), you’ll be getting alerts and notifications popping up from each one. And every single notification creates disruption and distraction, taking you off-task — and once again, that’s opposite of what we’re after here!
However, if you’re using a productivity and task management tool that keeps everything in one spot for you, not only will you be eliminating all those other aforementioned tools and apps, but you’ll also be eliminating all the notifications that come along with them.
And you know what? The best task managers do exactly this. And further, the best task apps allow you to control and prioritize notifications based on each task’s urgency. This way, alerts aren’t constantly going off in various applications, taking you away from important work needs to be done in a timely way.
Later on, we’ll talk about how you can use notifications related to your top-priority tasks rather than using a traditional to-do list to stay on top of your work. But in the meantime, by simplifying the overall time and energy it takes to organize yourself, you can make the best use of your task manager.
The simpler your task management system, the better you can stay organized.
Keep Your Work Synched Between Devices
Alright now next, when searching for a top task management app, consider this: We live and work in a mobile world of course, don’t we? Many of us are working from mobile, desktop, and laptop devices, often simultaneously.
This means that the task organizer you decide to go with has to function flawlessly across all of these devices too. You’ll want your task organization, plus all the other features and tools you need, to be available to you whenever and wherever you need them.
Using a task manager that only works on non-mobile desktop and laptop computers bogs down your productivity and slows down your work. Instead, you’ll want to use a task management tool that functions on both desktop and mobile devices. This way, you’ll have everything synchronized and at your fingertips at all times.
In other words, you want to make your task organization as mobile as you are!
The best task management apps not only function on both mobile devices and laptop and desktop computers, but they also seamlessly synchronize and update across all your devices too. This means that whether you’re on the go or in the office, all your tasks, notifications, and messages between clients and co-workers are up to date.
Being able to synch your important tasks, messages, and more across the devices you use keeps your productivity moving forward no matter where you find yourself. It’s been said a few times already, but once again it’s all about non-disruptively integrating your task manager of choice seamlessly into your existing workflows and methods of working.
Best Task Management App For Teams, Workgroups, And Clients
Lastly, let’s discuss task management and keeping your work organized within a larger group. Now first off, being accountable is a big component of productivity. Sharing your goals and tasks with co-workers, or if you’re a freelancer or consultant, with your clients, will certainly help to keep you moving and land your deadlines.
And further, being able to assign tasks to others helps keep them on track too.
Having your tasks organized and prioritized in a single place that’s shared with your team, and potentially your clients, goes a long way to keeping your projects on track.
However in this scenario, where you’re working alongside others, very often more than just sharing tasks will be required. To really keep projects on track, direct communications needs to be integrated into your organization tool too. And this is much more important than it may seem at first.
Consider how much time wasting and distraction is caused when we’re constantly checking and replying to email, searching for messages and files, and you quickly realize just how important built-in communication is to your task management.
Using an app that has intuitive team communication built right in is the best way to streamline your processes. Otherwise, important tasks can slip through the cracks when you are jumping between your email, group chat, or video call and your task organization app.
Importantly too, having built-in direct messaging supports group collaboration. Once again, it’s all about keeping everything you need at hand when you need it, all in a single task organization app.
Unfortunately, many task management tools don’t support real-time collaboration. Here, once again, separate tools for communication, project management, tasks, file sharing, and so on are needed. And this holds teams back and prevents them from staying on track.
As we’ve stated several times already, the best task organization apps have everything your team needs to communicate, share files, and manage tasks built in to one central place for real-time collaboration.
And now that we’ve had a look at the top features to look for in a task and productivity app, let’s now take a look at some efficient tips for task management — and how you can integrate them into your approach to task management.
Effective Task Management Tips
We’ve been addressing some of the most important features to look for in task apps. And as we know, the best tools combine much more than just simple task or to-do managers. Really, top tools like Hibox become the center of your digital workspace. So here, let’s look at some top tips to better organize yourself within your task app.
Reduce (And Even Eliminate) Distractions
First up, one of the hardest aspects of staying focused is distraction. And very often, this boils down to something we’ve already touched on: Notifications — that is, alerts from our phones, from our email, and from the various apps we use each day. All of this adds up to being constantly distracted and taken away from our work.
So a first step to being effective at managing our tasks and handling our work is to eliminate as many distractions as possible. If you use Google Chrome, extensions like Do Not Disturb can take care of any notifications you have set for just the amount of time you want to be left alone for work. If you want to even take it a step further, you can even block certain websites for certain time periods to keep you on track with StayFocusd.
And of course regarding your task app of choice, as we’ve discussed, utilizing a tool like Hibox that becomes your single digital workspace not only eliminates a myriad of apps…but don’t forget, all the notifications and distractions that they bring are gone too.
Don’t Slip Back Into Old Habits
This entire article has of course been focused on getting you set up with a digital task manager that’s going to fit into your pre-existing workflows.
And the trick of course is to actually use your task management app!
See, even though digital task management tools are simple and easy to set up and use, it can be very easy to forget to use them! Often what happens is, we get caught up communicating, brainstorming, and tracking tasks via email, texting, and even by hand on paper. And very often, this leads to disorganization, lost files, forgotten tasks, and more.
When we forget to use the task manager we’ve chosen, the details and specific tasks and projects can easily get lost.
This disorganization can become even worse if you’re working with a team or going back and forth between clients. Having task management that is integrated with your messaging, project management, and filesharing in a platform like Hibox is the best way to make sure your communication is actionable.
Don’t Make To-Do Lists, Schedule Tasks Instead
For most people, it’s natural and intuitive to simply start listing off what needs to get done for the day. Sometimes we do this by hand on paper, but even a dedicated to-do list app isn’t much better. To-do lists may be your go-to but they aren’t the best way to plan out how you’re using your time.
The problem here is that a to-do list can quickly feel daunting and overwhelming. So in this way, rather than focusing on our top priorities, instead our to-do lists overload us. It’s difficult to prioritize to-do list tasks, and we wind up multi-tasking and jumping between our to-do’s without actually making much progress or getting much of anything done.
Often, we procrastinate, tasks wind up getting pushed to the next day, and our work winds up taking up more of our mental focus than they really need to.
Well, if it’s productivity and organization that we’re after, then typical to-do lists and sticky notes simply aren’t going to cut it. Instead, we need to take a very different approach to managing our tasks and workload.
So rather than creating a traditional to-do list, it’s much more effective to use a task manager. Here, you’d create and prioritize your upcoming tasks that you know must be completed throughout the week. You can take this a step further by scheduling and setting deadlines for each one at specific times.
Then, rather than facing an overwhelming to-do list and spinning your wheels without much progress, instead you’d simply address your most pressing, highest priority task, get it done, and then move on to the next one.
Further, co-workers, managers, and clients can monitor your progress as you reach deadlines, keeping your projects and workload on track.
Single tasks that are scheduled, that you’re reminded of with notifications, are treated differently than long, overwhelming to-do lists. Further, having a deadline for each of your top tasks keeps you on track and even gamifies the process of completing critical tasks that need to be done.
Assigning yourself a set of tasks, prioritizing them, and then scheduling them throughout your workweek is a much better way to ensure that you’re on top of your projects, staying productive, and hitting all your deadlines. This takes the pressure and overwhelm off you each day, and keeps you focused on exactly what you need to be working on.
Stay Organized By Knowing How Long Repetitive Tasks Take
When co-workers, managers, or clients want to know how long a particular task will take, sometimes it’s difficult to estimate. Yet at the same time, it’s important to be realistic both for yourself, and for them. It’s better to be honest with yourself and coworkers than to be unrealistic with your time. Otherwise, it creates unnecessary stress.
That said, estimating how long certain tasks might take to complete can be difficult. So rather than estimating, if the tasks you perform are repetitive, simply time them. As simple as it sounds, just time how long your routine tasks take. This way when they come up again in the future, or when others are looking for an estimate for the amount of time it will take to complete a specific task, you’ll have a much better idea about how long itll take to complete.
Now you can certainly time your tasks manually. However Hibox has a time tracker built directly into it’s tasks feature. This way, you can simply start the timer and go about completing the task, and then get a final result once you’ve completed it.
This will give you a direct understanding of how long each of your regular task take so you can better organize your time and share estimates with others.
Keep Your Work Organize And Moving Forward
So there’s a look at some effective and efficient task management tips as they relate to the task management app you choose to use. As you can see, a few very simple changes to what you’re already doing can have a big impact on your work and your productivity.
With this out of the way, let’s now take a quick look at where you can take all of this next…
A Task Management App That Bundles It All!
While there are many task managers available, we’re of course going to encourage you to try out Hibox for yourself. Hibox comes complete with task management, group chat, calendars, and more, all built-in and ready for you and your team.
For file sharing, Hibox integrates Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive. This way, no matter what file sharing service you’re using, you’ll have the files you need, when you need them, to keep your productivity moving. And, you can share files directly in your chat streams, and your team can start video call without having to log into another program all with just one click.
What’s great too is that Hibox allows you to streamline which tasks you get notifications for based on priority and deadlines. You can even set which set of task you get notifications from. When you set this up for yourself, you’ll know that when you get a notification, it’s for a priority task rather than from a minor distracting issue.
This means that with Hibox, you can eliminate having to juggle between various tools and platforms. With Hibox, you’d simply log into a single workspace. There, tasks, instant communications, access to your files, and helpful notifications in a single place will keep your productivity on track!
And of course, as you’d expect, Hibox syncs seamlessly across all your devices and computers. This way, everything you need to complete your tasks is at your fingertips whether you’re in the office or on the go.
To stay on track and keep yourself and your team organized, try Hibox for free today!