Since becoming a freelancer last year, I have found it very difficult to keep my mind on track and balance the daily tasks required for clients and personal projects. In an attempt to solve the issue I tried almost every online task system there is to offer, however none of them were either enjoyable or clear enough to keep my mind on track. Each system seemed to provide a rather overwhelming and overcomplicated interface to something that should be simple and straight forward enough to just create and carry out a small set of tasks.
Each website or application I used seemed to just build on my hatred towards all online task management systems. Eventually I’d had enough, so came up with a solution for managing tasks that is best for the way I work. It’s not a fancy website or application that requires to signup and pay yet another subscription fee, instead it goes back to basics; a whiteboard and some post-it notes.
It is true what they say ‘out of sight is out of mind’. I needed something that was visually available 24/7, so I purchased a cheap whiteboard just big enough to fit on the wall right next to my desk where it couldn’t be missed. The board is split into four sections; Backburner, To Do, Actions and Payments and use different coloured post-it notes for the various types of action, foe example Blue: Client task, Yellow: Personal task, Pink: Notes or Shopping Orders, Green: Meetings & Events.
Backburner: For tasks awaiting quote confirmation or personal projects and tasks that are your least important.
To do: Tasks that are next in line for me to complete
Actions: My current actions, my tasks for the day ahead. Be it a design task or a meeting at 4pm in London they all go into my actions for the day.
Payments: Last of all payments, once I have completed a task I move it over to payments with a completion date written on the post-it. Ready for my invoice to be sent out.
This visual task system may not be for everyone but it has helped improve my day to day productivity since working for myself, as I am reminded to update it daily unlike all the online task systems I have not enjoyed using.