TIP: Consider meeting personally for complex issues. Written communication is often but not always the most efficient method.
Prioritization and Assignment
After setting a priority, a task may disappear from your Todo view until P1 is set. If you need to do a task immediately, do it and set P1 to Bypass. If a task is entered without selecting an owner, the task will appear on a manager’s list for setting Owner.
It is recommended to adjust the Location field to ~10% of screen width and Action to ~30% by making other fields smaller.
Unless sorted otherwise, the order of the Todo filter is: Needs discussion, Ready to assign, Ready to prioritize, Periodic due, and Normal tasks. Within those groups, tasks are sorted by P1 and then Entered date as a secondary key. This order encourages removal of obstacles from co-workers before doing one’s own tasks.
- Sometimes programming changes to TaskRing will not appear until you press Ctrl+R to refresh the browser cache.
- Enable your PC speakers for audible notifications.
- Changing views should take less than a second. If not, check your internet connection. Refresh times are shown at bottom of the screen.
- Try to write tasks concisely because a typical task is read about a dozen times. For example, instead of “I found spelling errors, so please check the spelling,” just write “Check spelling”—that way, tasks are easier to scan and prioritize.
- When someone asks you to come to his or her desk/office regarding a task, consider first setting Next to that person so that upon your arrival, he or she can easily access the task.
- When you have a question for a co-worker that will likely become a task, instead of sending an email and then creating a task, it is recommended to ask the question via TaskRing. For example: Location – “Front page”, Action – “Did you remember to fix the image?”
- When applicable, use hyperlinks to help co-workers find documents, spreadsheets, web pages, and so on. in one click.To create a hyperlink: create plain text, highlight text, click Link button, paste URL, and click OK.
- Consider entering hashtags in the Action field, so you can search accordingly. For example, if Karen wants to follow up on certain tasks of co-workers, she might enter “#karenfollow” in those tasks.
- If you did a task not on the list, add it (so you can look back and see what you accomplished).
- It happens all the time: Mary requests that John does XYZ, and they walk off. John gets distracted and forgets to do XYZ. When you think of an idea or task, enter it right away to be sure it is retained.
- After changing a grid task, it might no longer belong in the current view. To update the view, click the browser refresh button. (This approach is intentional as it allows you to verify the change before the record disappears from the view.)
- To sort a field, click the grid heading.
- Consider creating a company-wide shared document in which policies can be described that are particular to your company’s use of TaskRing. For example, the document might explain what types of tasks should be given which priorities; who is responsible for which areas, rules about setting P1, P2, P3, and so on. Organizations that are less hierarchical might want to allow anyone to set P1.
- To categorize tasks—e.g. Engineering, Accounting, or Sales—add the category as a prefix to the Location (e.g., Engineering | latest model | front wheels).
- To forward a discussion to someone, set the Next field to that person.
Each time you set Next to a co-worker, it creates an interruption, so try to avoid unnecessary use of the Next field. For example:
- A co-worker adds a task for you to do, and you reply “OK, will do.” or “I’m working on this” or “I’ll think about this”
- A co-worker advises you of a change in a task and you reply, “OK.”
- After changing the priority of a task, you add the message: “I changed the priority.”
Also avoid messages that are covered by TaskRing functions. For example:
- A co-worker asks if a task is still needed. Instead of replying “no,” consider setting the priority to Skip.
- “Please set priority” or “please assign an owner” are unnecessary as the system, when used properly, automatically prompts the proper person to take those actions.
Those are all non-actionable interruptions. There are exceptions in which non-actionable messages, like the above ones, are appropriate, but often they just distract the co-worker in reduce work flow.
In the Action field, try to remove elements of past discussions to speed reading for everyone involved. For example, a thread like, “Date stamp, Date stamp, Harry, Date stamp, John> let’s meet. Mary> Let’s meet tomorrow, sorry I missed you, John> OK” can simply be deleted, leaving the core task.
In the Task view, new users often leave clutter that diluting attention to real tasks. This includes tasks:
- where a discussion has been concluded but the NEXT field was never cleared
- simple tasks that are done but never marked done
- discussions in limbo – a face-2-face meeting might be in order
To get a task off your task view set P1 to Wait to postpone it indefinitely or set a tickler for some future date.
When using TaskRing on a smartphone:
- To change views click the menu icon.
- To view details of a task click the task and then the toolbar Edit button (pencil).
Activity lists tend to grow faster than people can finish tasks. Take comfort in knowing that you are doing well if you are usually working on the highest priority tasks, working efficiently, and moving tasks to the Done list. Also, consider setting the priority of questionable tasks to Skip to unclutter the list and make time for more strategic thinking.
The Ominous Ones Why are there so many tasks with priority 1? It’s human nature. When we get an idea, we think it’s the greatest, most important thing to do. So why bury it in the list at a lower priority? One, one, one. What’s the antidote?
- Enter Est to get a clear picture of task times.
- Periodically review the one’s and lower some priorities (increase the number). (Seek supervisor approval if needed.)
- Or ask the TaskRing administrator to use the renumber function, which will change all 0s to 1; 1s to 2; 2s to 3; and so on up to 8s to 9 (9’s stay 9). Then, move the most important 2s back to 1.
- If needed, schedule a meeting to discuss priorities.