Let’s face it. There are so many task management applications out there and every few years a new one comes to the market. Every new one claims to have improved the experience somehow. But ultimately working with tasks and the data entry it involves can be problematic and it’s one of the main reason certain people don’t use such apps for managing tasks. It’s the additional data entry step and the need to check the system periodically, keep it up to date (e.g. mark tasks as done). It’s an additional effort.
So the question become: when is the additional effort worth it? Well, clearly, the answer must be: when the cost of not doing it is greater than the cost of doing it. But what are some of those situations and how do we calculate the cost of doing something vs. the cost of not doing that.
If I was to start with a personal example that perhaps many of you will empathize with, I would say there are situations in my work and my life when I feel swamped with so many things to do that I don’t even know where to start. Procrastination can set in, simply because it’s so difficult to choose the next step that I should be working on. That’s when I start creating lists. Lists work like tasks do. In fact, tasks do more than just lists. Assuming lists track things to do, tasks track that plus more: meetings, calls, emails, etc.
Fact: tasks are very good at breaking up complex work into smaller actionable steps.
A journey of 10,000 miles starts with a single step, as they say.
Another important use case is when you want to delegate and keep track of what you’ve delegated. Tasks are great because a sales person can easily put together a list of tasks for a sales assistant or a virtual assistant to perform. Such tasks might be relatively low value jobs which are more efficiently and more cost effectively handled by assistants, so the main sales people can focus on selling. A few examples of such tasks: data entry, research (e.g. figure out the titles for your contacts by looking in LinkedIn, or fish out information about companies: size, location, key people, etc.).
For this scenario, tasks are good at delegating and they allow multiple people to collaborate on the task. Clevertim CRM for example allows users to add comments on tasks and therefore collaborate, exchange information, report progress or flag tasks as being blocked (e.g. couldn’t call contact as he’s on vacation). The sales people assigning tasks are notified when there’s progress or when the tasks are marked as done or accidentally deleted. They have visibility into the assigned task.
Tasks are even better when the person or team to delegate work to works remotely, potentially in a different country. A good example is the use of virtual assistants, who could be located in different countries with lower cost of living. Shared tasks allow you to collaborate efficiently with such a remote team/person and get the most out of the relationship.
Fact: Tasks are perfect for delegating/outsourcing work, especially when the teams are not co-located.