It’s Monday morning. You’ve got leftover tasks on your calendar from last week, an inbox full of new requests, and team members who need marching orders for the day. How do you get on top of it all and manage daily tasks in an efficient way?
Enter daily task management. You’ll be cleaning up your overdue assignments and starting fresh with an actionable plan to delegate, manage, and execute your aligned to-do list for work before lunchtime.
The process of managing your daily tasks can be tricky, especially when you’re leading an entire team through more than one complex project.
The good news is you don’t need to be a productivity expert — or develop superhuman habits — to come up with a successful plan for tackling your day-to-day tasks. You just need to learn these top tips to manage your daily tasks.
What are the benefits of daily task tracking?
There are many benefits to daily task tracking, ranging from achieving benchmarks to saving valuable resources. Here’s a closer look at some of the top advantages.
Stay aligned with goals
It’s easy to get distracted by shiny object syndrome. Identify how and why your team members or fellow managers deprioritize current projects for new ones. You can also use daily task tracking to evaluate your day-to-day functions versus the outcome they’re supposed to achieve.
Identify non-essential tasks
At the start of each new workday, take a few minutes to review your project and task lists and see how they can be simplified. Then, challenge yourself to cut down half (yes, half!) of those tasks to only the ones that directly impact your goal. Then, try to cut it even further a couple of days later by delegating, outsourcing, or rescheduling them from your project management tool.
Become more accountable
Document expectations of yourself and others by assigning tasks where everyone can see them. Automate reminders to save time on following up if things fall behind. And make sure your team knows that communication is important, and there’s no shame in asking for help, reassigning obligations to those with lighter loads, or simply finding a way to reprioritize tasks if goals change.
Improve task estimates
Use software that tracks time for specific tasks. Look at your results over time and adjust to meet the average amount next time you assign a similar project. Remember that additions such as breaks, waiting for third-party feedback, and other related actions will impact the work itself.
Say goodbye to multitasking
According to the Harvard Business Review, a work environment that fosters flow will generate five times more productivity than multitasking. Assigning tasks with a singular focus will not only get them done quicker, but it will also make daily task organization that much easier.
Add self-care into your schedule
It’s important to keep in mind that even if we are very motivated and eager to accomplish goals, the fastest way to achieve them is by taking great care of ourselves, so we can perform at our best. This means creating tasks entirely dedicated to self-care.
Even if it doesn’t feel productive to take a break from work, acknowledging that our work lives are a marathon and not a sprint will go a long way toward accomplishing even more than you could without it.
Start by incorporating 10-minute breaks every hour, taking a full lunch every day, and setting aside at least a few minutes at the beginning and end of every day to reflect on where you are and where you’re going.
What is the best way to manage daily tasks?
There is more than one way to manage daily tasks. However, productivity experts, researchers, and students of self-help bestsellers all agree on the following practices for managing your daily to-do list.
Prioritize your tasks
There are lots of ways to think about prioritization. Some people use the urgent and important model. Others rely on the idea of effort versus benefit. However you choose to do it, finding a methodology for decision-making that you like and sticking to it will go a long way towards prioritizing your tasks.
Focus on one task at a time
Getting the most out of your time is a basic concept of productivity. However, multitasking and other factors can slow you down. Single-tasking can help you focus on the things that really matter. It can also help you get into a state of flow.
While it might seem boring to work on one thing for a long time, limiting your focus can actually help boost creativity. When you’re single-tasking, it allows you to explore new ideas and paths. It also helps you find the results that you may not have even thought of.
Also, people who spend their days working on various tasks need long periods of time to recharge. Single-tasking allows them to feel free and end their work sessions feeling refreshed and more successful.
Set time limits
Having a set of time limits on projects and tasks helps you keep track of your availability.
For example, if you want to work on a project for 10 hours this week, then you need to find a way to schedule 10 hours to finish that project. But if you limit yourself to five hours, you’ll likely find productive shortcuts that allow you to stay within those parameters.
Having a limit on how many hours you can work each day also helps prevent you from overextending yourself.
Chances are, the tasks you manage on a daily basis either directly involve or impact at least one other person. One of the best ways to keep everyone in the loop is by scheduling regular face-to-face meetings. These are usually a group or one-on-one session, and they can help you identify areas of concern or improve the way you support your team. However, it's also important to make sure that the meetings are productive and that the quality of communication is maintained.
One of the best ways to improve team communication is to keep track of all of your conversations in real time. Doing so will help minimize the chances of losing valuable ideas and resources.
If meetings aren’t needed or possible, given everyone’s busy schedules, it’s important to keep communication organized and easy to reference. You can accomplish all of this by simply using a project management tool that enables you to create notes, loop in other collaborators using @mentions, and tie directly back into task details.
This can be done through a shared digital document. But for more complex projects, you’ll want to use daily task management software to scale your efforts and unlock other productivity hacks.
Take breaks between tasks
Focus on the frequency and quality of your breaks while managing daily tasks. The number of breaks you need and when will vary from person to person and can be affected by a variety of factors, including your health, sleep quality, and work environment. Make sure you learn how to observe your own energy levels and develop realistic expectations for yourself.
When you’re on a break, consider what activities you will or won’t allow yourself to do. For example, checking a work email while on a break doesn’t really give you the chance to pause and step away from your computer. Actions such as taking a walk, brewing a cup of tea, or simply turning off electronics for ten minutes can greatly reduce fatigue and help you be productive the entire workday.
Look to delegate when needed
Being a leader means that you can’t do everything yourself, so delegating is very important.
Delegating isn’t just about lightening your load. If done correctly, delegating your daily tasks when needed can help build trust and develop your team's skills. It can also help you better identify, hire, and train the ideal individuals to tackle projects. This also helps prepare employees for future responsibility and further develop their skill set for their career long-term.
If the tasks you want to delegate are unskilled or can be done by anyone who has the time and basic information, consider hiring a virtual assistant or freelancer.
If you’re hesitant to propose this given your current department budget, consider the opportunity costs of continuing to do this particular task. Is it keeping you from the tasks you were specifically hired to do? Are there more effective uses of your time? Reflect on these questions to determine whether outsourcing is right for you.
Features to look for in daily task management software
Daily task management software can help you manage the complexities of leading a team and organizing more than one project at a time. Here are the must-have features to look for in your next purchase or trial.
Subtasks are all the actions needed to complete a given task. One of the first steps in adding subtasks to your daily project to-do list is adding or highlighting all the tasks that represent a single step. This umbrella of smaller tasks represents the true time and resource budget you’ll need to complete the larger task.
For example, you may be working on a blog article. If your to-do list simply says write a new blog article, you’re missing out on other key steps, such as performing keyword research, outlining the blog article, assigning the blog article to team members, setting a due date, linking the outline to the blog article task, reviewing the blog article draft, and preparing to publish the blog article.
If you’re not sure whether you need subtasks for a particular action item, your team can decide what is or isn't a single-step task based on what they have done or don't have time to prepare. Once you’ve gathered input from your team members who have specific knowledge of the task, you can then do additional research to determine the exact time it will take to finish.
After going through the list of single-step tasks and sub-tasks, make sure that the list doesn't include any tasks unrelated to the main project goals. Doing so will help keep the list organized and prevent the overuse of subtasks.
Today, more people are working from home and using collaboration tools that allow them to work seamlessly from anywhere. With a daily task management software, you can create a secure environment for your team to work together.
Cloud storage allows you to organize and store all your documents. It also allows you to keep track of all your conversations. Top daily task management software will even allow you to create custom-form requests that help you to complete tasks faster. From there, you can also keep track of all the details of your process, such as milestones and reports, while seamlessly collaborating with the rest of your team and stakeholders.
Collaborating on documents, sharing files to those who need them, and getting approval on work completed can be challenging if there isn’t already a system in place for sharing facilities. That is why having the ability to share ownership of tasks is so important.
Sharing facilities makes it easier to communicate with relevant team members, save time on manual data entry, and keep everyone in the loop in real time. This is especially important for work that requires at least one other person’s input, assistance, or approval in a timely manner.
Instead of wasting time asking for file access, updating permission settiings, and guessing file names, your team can easily communicate with one another through a central shared platform.
Time tracking makes it possible to properly estimate and record the time it takes to complete a given action. This is great for planning out your work for the day, providing accurate cost estimates for clients, and prioritizing projects.
Some daily task management platforms allow you to track all of your work within the platform. Count your hours and minutes more accurately as you go about your day. Add a time log entry or start a task timer while you’re at it. Automate when your timers stop or start to keep you on task.
Typically when you start using the timer, it will continue running until you stop orstart tracking another task. In daily task management software tools such as Wrike, it will also continue running if you close your browser window.
And when you start tracking the time spent on a task, leading solutions such as Wrike will display an Activity Streams entry that indicates that you've started working on it. A clock will appear at the top of the screen that shows how much time you've spent on the task.
Limit yourself to one timer for one focused task. If you need to keep your place but switch tasks, Wrike offers multiple time tracker options to save your spot and return to it later.
We’ve saved the biggest and best productivity benefit of daily task management software for last: free in-app templates. Wrike and other leading solutions offer free templates for everything from complex project management in phases to Kanban-style management to marketing calendars. Using a template developed by experts will save you time trying to reinvent the wheel whenever you get a new project. It will also make coming up with and delegating related tasks easier since they’ll already be preloaded on the template.
Why use Wrike as your daily task organizer?
Wrike is a daily task management tool used by team leaders and project managers. With its ability to create, assign, and manage ongoing tasks, Wrike is an obvious choice for a daily task organizer. Unlike other daily task organizers, Wrike offers the ability to improve communication and collaboration through a number of highly detailed yet simple-to-use features. Here are just some ways successful brands have used Wrike to streamline even their most complex to-do lists.
1. Automate data entry
Once a task is added to Wrike, users can create and attach custom tags. These tags automatically sort tasks into related folders and project categories. Instead of manually searching for related tasks within one long to-do list, team members can see tasks related to them in their own workspaces, individual projects, or anywhere else they’d intuitively expect to see them.
2. Make requests seamless
Requests coming in from other sources such as the sales department or even clients can overwhelm your team if there isn’t a system in place to prioritize and assign them. In Wrike, users can master the art of balancing ongoing work with new tasks without skipping a beat. There are many ways to do so, which means you can pick the one that works best for you and your unique team. From custom workflows to request forms, it’s never been easier to stay on top of new or conflicting initiatives.
3. Stay on top
Wrike makes it possible to monitor and manage everything task-related. That means viewing individual team members’ progress, task roadblocks sorted by project or department, potential missed deadlines you can problem-solve ahead of time, and even billable hour usage. Whatever you need to see, Wrike will make it visible to you.
4. Get useful reminders
Swap the sticky notes for reminders sent when and where you need them. Wrike gives users the option to add a Chrome Extension, which will automatically notify you about upcoming deadlines or tasks due that day. You can also have Wrike send you an email with a breakdown of the day’s work every morning so you can get stuck in right away.
5. Kick-start action
Wrike also offers team leaders and managers the power of project templates. Whether it’s one of our many effective pre-made templates ready for you to use right away or one you’ve customized yourself, Wrike helps turn project plans into actions that much faster.
Manage your daily tasks with Wrike
Plan out goals, tasks, and subtasks every day with Wrike's project management software. Begin with our library of customizable templates, which come pre-populated with everything you need to get started. Custom project dashboards, automated reminders, and detailed task description options will help you start every day off on the right foot. And when you’re ready to check off the boxes? Wrike will be there to support you when you create your next series of to-dos.
Want to supercharge your productivity? Get a free two-week Wrike trial to see how easy collaborative project management can be.