Task management involves familiarizing yourself with the processes, tools, principles, and even the life cycle of a task. An understanding of these aspects is necessary so you can make the most of it and ensure completion of the task. While it is true that these may depend on the factors surrounding a particular task, invariably, the concepts remain the same.
When it comes to its life cycle, we will discuss the basic phases included, which can be modified depending on the complexities and objectives of a given task.
The Basic Task Life Cycle
Its life cycle commences the moment a task comes your way, and ends when it has been abandoned. The first phase is task creation, labeled “Open.” In this stage, you need to gather information, as well as set task objectives, due dates, and getting a list of what needs to be done to accomplish it. Once these have been procured, you can then send out an email to everyone who has a role in performing the task. The second phase is labeled “In-Progress” wherein the individual or group will work on completing the things noted in the checklist.
The third phase is called “Review.” It is when the task has been considered complete, which means that every item in the checklist has been done. In this stage the task manager will receive an email from team members stating that the task has been completed, and he in turn will send an email to his superiors informing them of such. It will then be reviewed and tested, and the task manager will determine if it needs further clarification, assistance, or testing. Once these are addressed, the task manager will proceed to the fourth phase which is labeled as “Closed.” This means the task is successful.
Sometimes, when the need arises, you will be required to put a task on hold or even cancel it. Changes are inevitable especially when outside factors play a crucial role in the delivery and completion of a given task.
Traps in the Task Life Cycle
A common mistake that a task manager and the members of his team make is putting on hold the feeling of gratification until such time the task is rendered complete. At the onset you might think there is nothing wrong with it however as you go along with the task, you will realize that completing it takes a lot of time and effort, and if you wait until it is all done before you allow yourself to feel good about what you are doing, that will instill pressure and frustration on your part. As a result, you and your team will feel unmotivated and might eventually feel bored. Celebrating each step, no matter how small, is recommended in order for you to be encouraged to keep moving forward even when faced with difficulties along the way.
Another trap that we usually fall into is the lack of time management skills. We are often tempted to focus on the easy ones and neglect the unpleasant aspects of our task. We procrastinate and keep on putting our work aside, until such time we become pressed for time. Cramming may be effective at giving us adrenaline rush but it can also mean delivering unsatisfactory results.
The Need for Focus
A task can take an hour, a day, a week, a month, or even a year to finish, depending on the scope, size, and requirements involved. If it takes only a day or a week then managing it should not be a problem. However, it becomes more challenging if it takes a longer time than that, especially if this task is not the only one you are working on at the moment. For this reason, you need to be able to balance things well and know how to set priorities. If you lack focus, the chances of you getting sidetracked will be significantly high, and this is something you do not want to happen.
A better understanding of the life cycle that each task goes through is necessary for you to perform your job well. If you clearly understand each one, you can eliminate time killers, increase productivity, and get to the final destination on time, or even earlier.