I am a task management enthusiast, which I credit for my high volume of annual sales and the primarily stellar reviews I’m fortunate enough to enjoy. Without the assistance of a task management system to help me stay on top of my busy workflow, my production would suffer. I constantly search for and often try out new or different task and project management systems to help manage both my business and personal tasks. I’ve tried dozens of systems since I switched from old fashioned real estate to Redfin and I’ve also switched my focus from contact management to task management.
At Redfin, I work with a team and we have an internal system to collaborate with team members on the activities required for the sale of each home but it’s intentionally limited to that specific purpose and doesn’t lend itself well to customization or incorporating other aspects of business or personal task management. Many of the available options incorporate the ability to share tasks with others and currently that doesn’t interest me, I prefer a single user product, although that certainly may change someday depending on what I happen to be doing in the future.
Personally, I schedule tasks for paying bills, articles I’d like to read, shows/movies I’d like to see, music I’d like to download and many other things. For business I schedule tasks for rescheduling canceled appointments, providing information promised to people, waiting for answers or documents from others, deadlines for contingencies and following up with email, texts or phone calls that require actions of any kind.
The biggest benefit of any task management system is also the biggest danger. Having a system is perfect for creating tasks quickly and then being able to forget about them which frees up your mind to focus on the tasks at hand but it’s also very easy to let items pile up and remain undone. Just because you’ve taken a step to address the task by sending it to a task management system, that doesn’t mean it can be dismissed. Psychologically, you’ve kind of dealt with the item but really, nothing has been accomplished. I think it’s a good habit to review current and upcoming tasks every single day.
The things that I look for or would like to see in a task management system are:
- Cross platform compatibility. The system MUST have a windows or web version in addition to mobile apps. Mac users would probably enjoy a Mac version too but I am not one of them.
- Chrome or G Suite Gmail extension to quickly add, categorize and tag new tasks directly from email or websites that will also reference that email or website by directly linking from the task. Without an extension, at least the ability to forward or Bcc a task into the system.
- The ability to quickly “share” email, texts and voicemails as new tasks from mobile .
- Start dates and due dates for projects, tasks and sub-tasks.
- Recurring tasks and integration with a preferred calendar.
- A pleasant and super fast user experience with a drag and drop interface with a minimum of clicking to accomplish the scheduling, categorization, tagging and prioritizing of tasks.
The two systems that I seem to like and use the most are:
- Todoist (Foundations) is the one I’m currently using but I tend to hop around.
- Nozbe A new Nozbe Teams coming in 2020 if they offer a single user plan, otherwise the original Nozbe is still around
none of which are perfect but with a magic wand, I could fix the one or two things each of them lacks to better fit my needs. Since I am not the only user and real estate sales isn’t their primary focus, it is what it is.
I also follow, with great interest:
Most of these have a free version or offer a free trial. The extras are always worth paying for once you’ve decided on a system that you’ll use for at least a year. Prices range from about $30 – $100 per year. There are lots of other fantastic systems out there but for now, I will keep my attention focused on the above solutions.