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- Task Management

 

Task Management

Article by Joyce Sim (written on 8 March 2009, published on 6 August 2009)

Whether you are a student, a homemaker or a working adult, do you often wonder why you seem to encounter never-ending work?

This happens for a number of reasons:

  • You do not understand your task fully.
  • You do not know where to begin; you feel overwhelmed just thinking of the complexity of the task.
  • You are reactive, instead of proactive when executing the task.
  • You do not possess the enthusiasm and the determination to complete the task.

1. Information, Information, Information

You need to have adequate knowledge and information to understand something well. Knowledge and information do not come to you by themselves. So you need to do some research on the task given to you and ask around for ideas. Better still, if you have your own store of resource to draw upon.

Take for example, if you are a student, you can build your own knowledge resource by making notes of books and articles you come across during leisure time. You can make a list of reference book titles, cut out and index important news articles, record or highlight texts that are related to your course of study, etc. This advance preparation, though a little troublesome at time of reading, will come by as extremely useful and save you a lot of time when you need it, as you would not need to filter irrelevant contents. It’s the same for working adults and homemakers who are more capable of pre-emptive actions. Adults should take note of the sources of information relevant to work and needs.

2. Organising and Scheduling

It’s normal for people to feel lost and not knowing where to begin when entrusted with a huge task. Just like writing an essay, you’ve got to let your ideas flow. Jot down whatever come to your mind. Web and map to expand your ideas, and from there, organise them into sequence, starting from the easiest. Work out a simple time schedule, allocating a little less than adequate time to complete each part of the task. This helps to balance your emotions. On one hand, you would not dare to procrastinate, as the short time schedule gives you the feeling of urgency – of imminence; on the other hand, you know you’ll have time to revise and improve your work later if you keep to your schedule.

3. Act

Most people are task-oriented rather than service-oriented and hold the receptive and reactive attitude to work. What one should do is to be proactive and take the initiation to come up with plans and strategies to achieve your or your organisation’s objectives. When you are in control, you can move forward step by step as planned or anticipated. Of course you’ll need to have a deep understanding of the objectives.

So, the scenario of good task management goes this way:

  1. You are briefed on a new initiative.
  2. You immediately scan through your ‘resource bank’ for related information.
  3. As a proactive person, you proceed to in-depth researches on the information (books, web contents, software, etc.) and draft out a proposal from your ideas.
  4. You present your proposal, obtain feedback, modify, implement and monitor your project step by step.
(Here, every stage is an achievement, unlike the receptive and reactive approach where you will be forever working on meeting uncertain/transient goals held by your superior.)