If you’re struggling with your existing task and project management system – or perhaps a lack thereof – consider turning to some technology to make life simpler.
Today we’ll look at some basic functions of the Firetask app and how it can help you tame those never-ending tasks and to-do’s. The features below are by no means exhaustive, but I’ve highlighted those of particular interest for daily planning and productivity:
All-In-One One simple beauty of Firetask is that it’s a catch-all control center for anything and everything requiring your attention.
The categories feature allows you to ring-fence not only your tasks, but also non-tasks, e.g. your ideas, questions, issues, agendas and the like. This is important because you’ll have access to add to or review these ‘non-task’ notes as and when, without them interfering with what you need to accomplish today.
Project Management Often we have several projects on the go, full of their own respective tasks; the projects feature in Firetask makes it easy to corral and manage them.
The feature is particularly helpful in breaking down everything needed for a specific project into a series of next steps (or individual tasks). Firetask makes it easy to view the next step due per project or to view the project in its entirety depending on your focus.
In the interest of advancing several projects at a time, the overall view helps anticipate and focus on next incremental steps to moving each project along without becoming overwhelmed.
If you’re working more intensely on a particular project, the project view itself makes it easy to see all tasks in context, track progress and make any adjustments as needed.
To-Do’s by Context One way of working productively is to perform batches of tasks based on their context e.g. phone calls, errands, emails, etc. Since to-do’s can also be viewed by their context in Firetask, it becomes that much simpler to prioritise and plan.
For example, say you had an hour to make five phone calls, viewing your list of calls will help you identify the five most important. Or if you’re headed to the post office, view your list of errands to see what else you can do along the way to maximise your trip.
Anytime, Anyplace The app syncs across your Mac, iPad and iPhone, utilising cloud-syncing. So whether you’re at work, at home or on the go you can be ticking boxes and managing your to-do’s knowing they’ll update in a flash across all devices.
Fireballs When your task has become overdue the context icon will appear with a flame around it like a fireball. A helpful feature to highlight anything overdue or incomplete. If you have several of these each day, it’s a good visual indicator that your planning may not be realistic and need some review.
So be sure to include a time estimate alongside each task. Add the hours and compare to the time you have available. Better to keep it real, plan what you know is doable and keep those fireballs at bay.
Besides, if you finish everything for the day with time to spare, your next action will right there at your fingertips, wherever you are.
Finally it’s worth noting that if you use or are familiar with David Allen’s GTD Getting Things Done methods, you’ll find the app works in tandem as it’s built around and supports those systems. However it’s not necessary that you use the GTD approach to benefit from the app.
To start taming those to-do’s or to learn more about Firetask and its features go to http://www.firetask.com.