This article is the continuation of the last one("Paper planners are tools for people who are good at task management."). The last article was written about task design(No.3) in the following steps to practice reverse thinking.
- Make your value clear
- Set goals on the basis of your value
- Design tasks to achieve goals
- Set a date to each task(Write down tasks and appointments on the calendar)
In this article, I would mainly wish to tell you about the problem with paper planner and the solution to the problem using Dreamscope regarding No.4(scheduling tasks and appointments).
Requirements for scheduling
Let's think about the same example as that of the last article and suppose that you are promoted to the leader of the sales department and you create the goal that you will accept the order of A program as your first job of the sales leader. And, I want you to imagine that you create a task list to achieve this goal and also you roughly know the required time for each task and the date of each meeting. (Please assume that you have completed the step 3 of the flow to practice reverse thinking described above.)
- Make the draft of strategy for accepting the order.
- Have the meeting about the strategy for accepting the order with a sales manager.
- Have the kickoff meeting and share the strategy with the people involved.
- Write the proposal.
- Review the proposal.
- Have a rehearsal of the presentation.
- The day of the presentation.
The next step is scheduling(No.4), i.e. the step to write down tasks and appointments on the calendar. Here, let's think for a moment, what do you usually consider when you set a date to each task or appointment? You should probably try to meet the following two conditions unconsciously.
Requirements for scheduling
- The order of tasks : The order of tasks involved should be maintained.
Ex. A rehearsal of the presentation should be took place before the day of the presentation.
- The feasibility of tasks : The total required time for tasks per day should be less than available times of the day.
Ex. If you have 9 hours as available times in a day, the total required time for tasks of the day should be less than 9 hours.
If you have a lot of time and your schedule is open, you don't need to struggle with this work. However, there are few people like this. Particularly in business, you should often face the situation where you have to set a date to a task on a tight schedule. It's really tough work to set a date to each task considering the order and the feasibility of tasks in a too busy situation. I have also experienced such a situation many times and this situation often causes me to fail in scheduling.
Why do you have difficulty in scheduling with paper planners?
Then, why is it difficult to set a date to each task with paper planners particularly in a too busy situation? Let's think about requirements for scheduling described above.
1. The order of tasks : The order of tasks involved should be maintained.
The easiest way of checking the order of tasks involved is to show only tasks involved and to hide other tasks.Canceling noise encourages you to concentrate on your work without being misled by too much information. It's very important not to see noise because noise is the cause of your mistake. However, unfortunately you can't do this by paper planners. You can only use different colors according to each project at most.
2. The feasibility of tasks : The total required time for tasks per day should be less than available times of the day.
The easiest way of checking the feasibility of tasks is to visualize the total required time for tasks per day. Also, it is the best way to visualize the total required time for tasks by type, i.e. business or personal life because most people want to manage the total required time by type. However, paper planners don't allow you to do this because they can't do an automatic calculation. If you want to do this with paper planners, you can only know the volume of tasks from the number of tasks roughly or make a note of the required time for each task and calculate the total by summing them manually. In other words, paper planners forces you to spend a lot of time and effort because you have to recalculate the total required time every time a task is added or updated.
In this way, paper planners force you to have difficulty in checking both requirements because of the limitations of paper. If you try to check these with paper planners, you would be required patience.
Dreamscope allows you to set a date to each task easily and precisely.
On the other hand, electronic tools(task management tools) should allow you to check both requirements easily because they are more flexible about how to show tasks than paper planners. However, as long as I investigate, no tool allows you to check these two requirements for scheduling perfectly. Particularly in terms of the feasibility of tasks, most tools measure the volume of tasks in not the required time but the number of tasks. It's difficult to measure the volume of tasks in the number of tasks precisely.
So we've added a simple way to help you check the order and the feasibility of tasks to Dreamscope. You can see the total required time for tasks per day as for feasibility and use the strong filter function as for the order of tasks. Also, switching feature between business and personal life lets you to see only tasks in relation to business or personal life and check only values in relation to business or personal life as for the required time for tasks per day. You can set a date to each task easily even in a too busy situation by using these features of Dreamscope.
Dreamscope helps you give an immediate answer about when you can finish an assigned work
I think it always happens that you are asked about when you can finish an assigned task from your boss. I hated this question several years ago because I was not good at organizing many tasks and couldn't answer the accurate delivery date. But I couldn't afford to ignore the question. So while I answered a little bit tight deadline in order to show a willingness to my job, as expected, I had to work through the night the day before the deadline and it sometimes happened that I failed to meet the deadline. However Dreamscope frees you from such a situation and you get to be able to give an immediate answer about when you can finish an assigned work if you can only estimate the required time for each task.