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Sorting Work into Projects and Tasks

Completion requirements

When tasks are prioritised, it is important to distinguish between the short-term urgency and long-term importance. We have dealt with this in Learning Unit 2.

The problem with traditional to-do lists, where you write everything you need to do into one big list, is that it quickly becomes unmanageable as you add more and more details.

One way to solve this problem is to separate projects and tasks.

A project represents an outcome or result that you are working on, whether it involves a single or multiple steps, while tasks represent the individual action steps for each project.

Everything that you need to do is either a project or a task of a project.

An example of a project might be a presentation that you need to give to an important group of clients. To prepare this presentation, your tasks may include doing research, creating an outline, developing props and other creative materials, writing the presentation details and preparing handouts.

Separating projects and tasks helps you make better use of your time by allowing you to focus on outcomes instead of just actions. You'll find that focusing on a specific project for a chunk of time is much more effective that jumping from one unrelated task to another.

You'll also be able to plan and organise each project individually, grouping all related to-do items as a part of the project's task list and significantly reduce the size of your master project list.

When the time comes to work on a specific project, you can put all your focus and concentration on the individual action steps without getting distracted by other projects or tasks.

Once you separate projects and tasks, you can keep track of the projects in a master project list, which gives you a high-level overview of everything you are working on (your outcomes.)

Then, you keep track of the tasks for each project in a project specific task list, which is part of the project plan. The task list collects all the related tasks and action steps you need to take as part of the project.

Click here to view an explanation on how teamwork can impact on the effective completion of tasks.