Thursday, September 22, 2016

Keeping Track of Tasks with SplenDO

A few jobs back, my monitor would be covered in post-it notes. It was my way to keep track of my tasks, or my progress in particular tasks. It's a practice I wish I kept up, and I'm disappointed I let the lack of office-supplied stationary get in the way of doing it. For my development, it was the time I felt the most productive.

Between Notepad, Sticky Notes, and actual notepads, I've never managed to find a sustainable suitable replacement. Memory only goes so far.

For the last few weeks, I've been trialling out the SplenDO on my mobile. This is what I found so far.

The useful:
  • Putting rooms on meetings - Knowing when meetings are is useful enough (though mostly taken care of by Outlook), but having the place of the meeting at your fingertips is invaluable.
  • Tasks I'd normally delay - Some things I know I tend to procrastinate on, such as anything involving chasing up people. Having it as a task (and one that becomes overdue) compels me to get it out of the way sooner rather than later.
  • Temporal tasks - For the occasional task that has a deadline, it's very useful to have a reminder close to when it's needed.
  • Tasks that come up in conversation - So much of what needs to happen at work is stated during the course of conversations. This alleviates the need to carry a notepad and pen everywhere, or trying to remember every action item after the conversation is over.

The not-so-useful:
  • Habitual tasks - The daily stand-up happens at 9:45am each weekday. While I have the tasklist to remind me of this, it doesn't do much to have it as a task. I find I do it just to tick it off that it is done.
  • Aspirational tasks - If the task isn't necessary, then putting it on the list becomes a source of frustration as the deadline passes.
  • Setting times on non-temporal tasks - This is a case of over-planning. If a task is not time-dependent, it makes no sense to try to give a deadline to it.

The verdict:
As far as keeping organised goes, this is far superior to my old post-it note system. It's simple to use, and it's notifications keep it relevant. It's great for someone who always has a smartphone around.

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