The daily grind, for so many, can feel like a constant juggling act. You attempt to balance work, household chores, bills, family – and hopefully some leisure in between if there’s any time leftover. Trying to find time for things we enjoy – or for projects to improve ourselves – can often feel impossible. It is incredibly frustrating to not move forward with things that you truly value. It’s just as frustrating to get stuck under a tower of tasks that never seems to get any smaller.

An online poll by the Mental Health Foundation found that in the past year, 74% of people have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope. A report by ACAS, the workplace experts, had similar findings. These included 66% of poll respondents had felt stressed or anxious about work over the past year – and 35% struggling to balance home and work lives.

This encouraged us to look for a helpful way to improve task organisation and to make them seem less disheartening.

One example is for you to embrace online apps and tools which are available, as they can support your progress in breaking down into manageable segments an expanding task list. This can prevent you from falling into the pattern of trying to complete multiple tasks simultaneously while considering other items that may need to be started soon. This common mistake can lead to us feel overwhelmed. The effort to move forward becomes mentally taxing and stagnates our progress.

Some scheduling style techniques, such as Personal Kanban, and post-it note-style tools like Trello boards, encourage you to condense the mass of tasks that you may currently be working on into a more manageable and visually pleasing format.

Both strategies encourage breaking down your to-do list into two main areas – which are followed by a done or complete column.

To Do / Options / Ideas

This column (or two columns if you would like to separate your ideas from the general to-do list) should be used for everything you currently have pending. Trello, for example, will allow you to organise this further with handy coloured labels and due dates, etc.

This list, when viewed alone, can result in our slipping into the habit of trying to tackle as many tasks as possible and struggle to complete tasks at a standard we are happy with.

Doing / in progress

The In Progress list, according to the Personal Kanban, should be restricted to three tasks. This will allow you to focus on the tasks clearly and will give you the ability to complete them without reaching a mental block.

Resist the temptation to add any more than three, or to add tasks that should be broken down into multiple tasks. For example, if your task is to start a new business or write a new business strategy, it will obstruct your progress instantly. These need to be broken down further.

Complete / Done

Although this column may appear self-explanatory, not all tasks are indefinitely complete.

For example, self-assessment is an annual business task. Once complete, a due date can be added, and, once relevant, the card can be moved back to the To Do column. For the other completed tasks, it is simply rewarding to see them move over to the completed column. Enjoy the sense of satisfaction as the list grows!

We hope this simple concept can help you manage your planning and task lists. For further guidance on how an app can help you, please contact us today.

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