Most productivity applications like Outlook, Gmail and Lotus Notes have task list capabilities within their programs. However, some users may not like the task functionality and/or want a cloud-based task tool that can be seen from any device. Below are a few new suggestions for task list applications. Also see a prior blog post from 2012 called “Recommended Task Management Apps”.
OmniFocus can track tasks by project, place, person or date. Tasks can be organized by goals or large projects and sub-tasks affiliated with them.
Wunderlist 2 lets users manage and share to-do lists. It includes features such as; reminders, recurring tasks, subtasks, and detailed notes. This cloud-based app does sync across all of your devices. This is a free app.
Clear is a task app that was designed to use gestures. For example, to create a new to-do list simply go to the main list overview page and touch and drag a list and a new task list will appear. Marking an item complete just takes a left-to-right swipe. Every list is color-coded to assign a bolder color to identify more priority items. To change priorities, simply drag an item to a new place in the list. To view a demo go to YouTube.
According to a study by the CAP Venture Group, it is estimated that 80% of information is still retained on paper even though more than 80% of the documents we work with are already in a computer somewhere. According to Xerox, approximately 30% of printed documents are for one-time use only and further studies found that about 45% of documents printed in a typical office are thrown away within 24 hours. Another Gartner study called “Electronic Document Management” revealed that the average document was copied between nine and eleven times.
One of the keys in gaining efficiencies in data management and increasing productivity is to reduce the paper workers manage. A key component to creating a paperless office is to create user trust in finding and accessing data electronically. Employees are inundated with data in multiple formats and finding it more and more difficult to manage the amount of data and be effective and efficient at their job. Without a consolidated system to manage data along with sound file structure and data management guidelines users will tend to keep a ‘backup’ copy of data and records in paper. Although paper does have its uses for work purposes such as reading, reviewing at meetings or processing data, it is not the optimal format to archive, store and file records and documents. When moving towards a paperless office it becomes even more vital that file structures, whether on a Shared Drive network or in a cloud-based system, is well-organized. It is also important that there is a clear and designated location to store data when there are multiple document and record systems available to users. Finally, data management practices need to be clearly defined such as document naming conventions, versioning, and data conventions.
Along with benefits of improved productivity and reduced commute time, there are challenges in remote, mobile and telework environments. All employees should have clear expectations from their supervisor on schedules working from home and being in the office. Ideally, there should be staff meetings to review these expectations so everyone is clear. Then, have a group or shared calendar that staff can post their leave and telework days.
Below are some questions for managers to facilitate the dialogue with staff;
Should telework or remote work days be fluctuating or should they be relatively set?
If a staff person wishes to switch telework days because of personal reasons, will that be acceptable? And in which circumstances?
Should staff stagger their schedules so that the office is always covered?
If there is an important meeting or training, and some of the staff are teleworking should it be required for them to come to the office for certain functions? If so, what type of functions?
If there are staff who do not want to telework and work from home, will that be acceptable?
How will the staff know who is teleworking or working remotely? (e.g. shared calendars, separate telework schedule or staff meetings)