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Working With Task Lists

Completion requirements
Task Lists

Depending on the size and complexity of your projects (we use the term project as a reference to any big task/responsibility or project you need to deal with), some may require little to no planning, while for others you may want to consider doing some more detailed planning.

Avoid doing too much planning for simple projects that don't need it. Doing a full plan with objectives, vision, risks, strategy and issues for a simple project that will only take a few hours or days may be overkill.

For simple projects, you can usually get away with a simple statement of purpose and maybe some objectives if you find them useful.

The key question to ask yourself is this: will adding any of these things to the plan add any real value? If the answer is no, then skip it.

You will quickly learn to distinguish between projects where extra planning is useful and those where it is just overkill.

Task List Example

The task list is where you keep track of all the tasks associated with your project.

This list is also hierarchical, so you can break up larger items into smaller steps.

This is another step where you need to watch out for over-organisation. Just because you can break up a task into smaller and smaller steps, doesn't necessarily mean that you should.

For example, you could break down the task of sending an email to a colleague into: researching the topic, creating an outline, first draft, editing, proofreading and sending.

The question you need to ask yourself is this: does breaking this task up into smaller steps add any value? In this case, it probably does not.

In general, you should avoid breaking up a task into sub-tasks that are smaller than 30 minutes, unless you find it useful to remember the details.

One exception is "next action" reminder tasks that help you remember where you left off; we'll talk more about these tasks in a later unit.