I have decided to start writing about the tools I use everyday that help make me productive. The best part about most of these tools is, they’re free!
I’m a church administrator, which means I support everything the church does. I focus on equipping those who are leading every ministry with the tools, organization, and infrastructure that will help them succeed. This means lots of communication, setup, organization, and follow through. One really important thing I rely on to get all of this done is task management.
To do this, I rely heavily on Remember the Milk (RTM).
It’s an on-line task manager that uses all of the same brilliant tweeks that help with every-day task management that Google has made popular in Gmail and Google Calendar. You can enter in tasks, due dates, repeat functions, and just about everything else with every day language instead of codes.
You can add tags to tasks to be able to group them by attributes. For example, two tags I use often are “communication” and “wemail” . Every Wednesday I pull up all of the tasks that are tagged with “wemail” to find all of the things that need to go out in the weekly email. When I open up my email and want to write the emails I’ve been thinking about, I pull up the “communication” tag to make sure I don’t forget anything.
I think my favorite feature is the ability to input tasks in MANY different ways. The best is obviously to do it from their website. You can also send tasks to RTM via email, SMS, twitter and ESP (currently in Beta).
I have found that there is no “magic bullet” for task management. Tools like RTM are only as good as your commitment to use them. I have grown proficient in my use of it and rely on it every day. I don’t have to stop and wonder what to do next. I just have to open up my RTM account and scan for the next task that sounds like it needs to be done. I would go into more detail about how I use RTM, but you need to use it for yourself and find your own pattern/rythm that works for you. I would just recommend reading through the “Getting Started” tutorial in the help menu so you know how to use RTM as a tool.
There are two things I’ll tell you about because I find them so useful. The first is RTM’s iPhone app.
The iPhone app requires a Pro account ($25/year) which i splurged and bought it after using RTM for about a month. There is a free trial (15 days) with the app, which I would highly recommend trying before buying.
I use the app to add tasks and see what I need to do when I am either too lazy to open a browser window or I am not at my computer.
The second thing I use is the ability to email in tasks. On Sunday, it is controlled chaos. We’re setting up a full sound system and room for a church service in just a few hours, putting on a service, and then packing it up until the next week. I use the notes app on my iPhone to write down things we need to get or do before the next week or to followup with something/someone from Sunday. Then, I can email that note to my RTM account after it’s all over and I’ve instantly turned all of those notes into separate tasks. That is extraordinarily helpful for me.
So there’s my recommendation: Remember the Milk. Try it out. See if it helps you out.