If you’re like me, your desk and computer are colorfully adorned with sticky notes. So many sticky notes. And lists. I have those too. And… I also use spreadsheets. In fact, I have so many different ways of tracking my tasks and to-do’s, I’m frankly a little overwhelmed, because I know that some are inevitably going to fall through the cracks.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. After being stuck using the same old tricks, I finally started to understand the benefits of an online task tool for personal task management and for the projects I manage, too.
Why Track Your Tasks?
So let’s start with the obvious question. Why should you track tasks in an online tool. The main reason, for me, is to better manage my tasks, especially when they involve other people or require multiple steps (aka sub-tasks) to get them over the line.
If you’re just writing a to-do list and scratching off each item as you complete it, you’re just doing the bare minimum. The more complicated your tasks, the less productive such a rudimentary system will be. When you track tasks online, you’re able to prioritize all the sub-tasks and work on them collaboratively with another team member.
When I’m managing other people’s work, moving my spreadsheet online enables me to get visibility into what everyone is working on. That way, I can assign tasks and make sure work is equally distributed across team members. That leads to a more efficient project. I can also see when each task has been commented on or completed. I don’t get that with my desktop spreadsheet. And I sure as heck don’t get that with sticky notes.
See, when you’re tracking tasks online you’re always in the loop about its progress. It’s not simply a static note on a piece of paper, but one of many tasks on a timeline, so you can see when the deadline is approaching. That way you’re not caught off-guard and scrambling to complete the task at the last minute.
How to Track Your Tasks Online
I was impressed with how easy it actually is to import my cluttered system of stickies and spreadsheets into our online tool. To start, you can take that old Excel spreadsheet or even a Word list you’ve been collecting tasks in and import it into your online task management app. With ProjectManager.com, this is done in one click, by pulling the dropdown Menu and selecting “Import”.
Instantly, your static documents are converted into a dynamic task tracker. And you can see your tasks in one of two ways: as an online task list or on an online spreadsheet and Gantt chart. Whichever view you choose, you now have the ability to share access to the task list with your team, no matter where they are or when they need access, because it’s now available in an online app. Tracking apps create opportunities for collaboration by allowing team members to attach notes, files and links to comments. Now you can address issues at the task level, generate production notes and note document hand-offs.
Once the tasks are in your task tracking software, you can give them a due date and assign them. As schedules change and tasks need re-assigning, you can easily update the owner of the task, either online or by the mobile app. Don’t forget that when you track tasks all in one tool, you have more control over managing them. You can see all the tasks together as they relate to your schedule and the team’s workload. If there’s someone who is overallocated, then you can reallocate resources to get the tasks done without burning out your team.
Finally, you can also link dependent tasks, such as if one must be completed before another can begin, to prevent lost productivity and ensure tasks are completed in the right order. And this is just a sampling of how you can manage tasks online. Check out our ultimate tracking tasks guide to drill down into more functions and features.
How Tracking Apps Improve Productivity
There are many ways tracking your tasks makes you more productive. One of the greatest benefits of getting your tasks online is that the app can automate a lot of the busy work that keeps you away from more important tasks. It also doesn’t forget, like us humans with our penchant for sticky notes, right? The app never misses a deadline and neither will you because it will send you an email alert. Those notifications can also be sent to team members, so they know when a task is coming due, and can schedule their time accordingly.
Having your tasks online means they’re always available to access, whether you’re at a desk or working remotely. With distributed teams having an online task management app is not a luxury, it’s a requirement. You and your team can update tasks, projects and files anywhere and at any time, if you’re connected to the web from a desktop, laptop or mobile device. This way your tasks are always accurate.
While your team is working and updating their tasks, you’ve got a window into the progress of the project, getting their updates in your personal feed. Now you’re able to control not only your task list, but easily manage the entire project’s tasks from one application. You see when a new file or comment is added to a task, and you can easily bring in the team to discuss task management, getting their valuable perspective.
Tasks can also be imported into an online Gantt chart, which tracks them over a timeline to give you a quick and easy visual view of your project schedule, task durations and dependencies. From here you can simply drop-and-drag edit any task when you must change a due date. Plus, being part of a larger project management suite of tools means you can track tasks from a dashboard and then generate reports with a click of your keyboard.
ProjectManager.com, a task and project management app that gives you all this and more. From viewing, managing and prioritizing do-to lists, whether yours or your team’s, to syncing with Google calendars and fostering collaboration over the web, tasks have never been more manageable. See for yourself by taking our free 30-day trial.