Effective and efficient task management is essential to any project. Whether you have one person or 100 people working on a project, sloppy task management can be devastating to motivation and productivity.
Making long lists of tasks and sub-tasks isn't a chore; it is perhaps the best tool to increase motivation and productivity. To use a painting analogy, a blank canvas can be an almost depressingly difficult project to begin, but the simple act of creating a list of elements to include can radically transform the whole task.
Human beings are motivated by their own progress. You know that feeling of accomplishment that you get after finishing just about any task? Your goal should be to reproduce that feeling as many times as possible whilst working in order to make the whole process more fun.
You can do that by making your task list as detailed as possible. A detailed task list is also just plain useful. The smaller and more creative you can get when defining each task, the better. A long list of small and detailed, but easy tasks is a lot easier to take on than a big and gargantuan, but slightly vague task.
Everything I've just said about task management can be completed with a plain, yellow legal pad and a pen. Why bother with task management software instead of this more traditional option?
Paper and ink is deceptively minimalist. It's easy to jot down lists as an aside while we are working on something else. However, it's also easy to jot down material that is not relevant to task management.
To have a list of tasks that is effective in structuring your activity, your list must be kept from competing with the more extraneous ideas and doodles that are likely to make their way onto a piece paper of paper.
The solution is to create a master list with software dedicated specifically to task management. Software will lend you a sense of empowered ruthlessness that allows you to both brainstorm extensively and cut out completely the stuff that just doesn't belong.
Unlike a piece of paper, software will allow you to collaborate and share your master task lists more easily, whether your fellow masterminds are next door or several states away.
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