Why Task management tool works for me and not for you
By Pranav MistryFeb 7, 2019
Despite their success in recent years, there are still some misconceptions regarding task management tools. Some of which you may have heard are listed below.
1) WhatsApp and emails work well enough
While WhatsApp and email are great communication tools, they are not designed for project management. Does it ever happen to you that the work you discuss on WhatsApp and email gets forgotten, delayed or not done at all? The thing is whatever you discuss in these tools would be saved in an unstructured fashion that means it's really easy to lose track of what’s going on in the project, plus there is no clarity on accountability when all you are using WhatsApp and email to manage the project.
Moreover, some studies suggest that email may have an adverse effect on the productivity of the team members. When you are utilizing WhatsApp or email, your chances of getting distracted are extremely high.
A work management tool allows team members to collaborate on a shared project at their convenience.
2) The team does not accept the tool
It is a fact that companies of all size are in the constant state of change. It can be a difficult and time-consuming project to change the software that underpins your business, as it is demanding when you have to change an old habit into a new one.
We at SmartTask realized that the teams might be uncomfortable to adopt a whole new system early on thus we introduced a specific feature called Productivity scoring which provides the statistics on the productivity of individual team members. This helps individuals keep track of their own progress.
Moreover, studies suggest that if an organization doesn’t adapt to change there’s a 40-80% chance of failure for that organization. Just as Kodak’s refusal to adopt digital technology over film resulted in their downfall.
3) Team members don’t want their progress to be transparent
A task management tool there is a clear sense of accountability.
Fear of failure makes some people averse to transparency according to a study. This is one of the reasons why people procrastinate.
However, if you want your project to move fast, then everyone needs to have a clear idea of who is doing what by when.
In fact, It’s a good thing if people know about your progress because if you are stuck somewhere then they might help you out.
4) Task management in spreadsheets is easier
Though spreadsheets are free and easy to use, they have a ton of problems when it comes to task management.
- Spreadsheets don’t prompt with notifications.
- No way to know overdue tasks.
- A spreadsheet has no activity feed. As anything changes, the spreadsheet does not maintain the prior value for auditing/control.
- Spreadsheets, especially those installed locally on each individual workstation, do not provide real-time or multi-user editing. In an era where more and more individuals are accustomed to such features in cloud-based or work management software, this can lead to lost, incorrect and overwritten information rendering the spreadsheet useless.
As you can see, while working on team projects task management in spreadsheets would be disadvantageous, as you’ll be spending your precious time on something that can automatically be done by a task management tool.
Plus you would need to schedule meetings to notify all the team members regarding the progress and the targets. As you can probably guess this would use up too much of your time and in turn would give you stress.
5) I think I can remember everything
Early research done on human memory found out the memory cut-off to be about 7 to-do items plus or minus 2. Despite what you might think human brains aren’t designed to remember things. Information is constantly being bombarded on us but the only way for us to memorize it is to lower the number of tasks we can hold in our mind.
Thus, Trying to memorize everything in your project isn’t the best idea. As there would be many small details missing in your memory, if anything were to go wrong, you would be unable to backtrack to the root cause and in the end, you will be overwhelmed trying to figure out what went wrong. Thus it’s best to not take the risk.
Moreover, there is evidence that having your brain at too many places all at once may indeed be harmful resulting in lower IQ and brain damage. Even regular multitasking activities such as texting while watching TV impacts your brain negatively. Here are some ways to get over the feeling of being overwhelmed.
In this case, having a work management tool would help you effortlessly commit to your current task without worrying about what transpired and what is to come.
6) It’s too complicated for me
It is true that task management tools have been complex in the past, but with time they have evolved so much and with newly available User Interface they are easier to use than ever.
One reason you might think that it’s complicated before even using it is that of something called the fear of unknown. Studies suggest we fear an unknown outcome more than we do a known bad one.
Did you know your brain prefers predictable negative consequences over uncertain outcomes?
That fear would go away once you start to familiarize yourself with any new system in your life. Just like that, you just need a little bit of time to know your way around the tool.
Mr. Geet Arora who is the project head of Sundyota Numandis explains how a task management tool made his life easier.
If you are a leader task management is going to be a big factor in your life at some point in time.
7) It would only increase my work
James Allen says if you can finish a task within 2 minutes then that task should be addressed then and there. But if it takes more than 2 minutes then that task must be logged somewhere so that you don’t forget it to do later. And you have to make sure that when the time does come you strictly remember to do it. This works wonderfully when your goal is efficiency.
Task management software are designed to reduce workload and increase efficiency. You might think otherwise because initially, you may find using the tool a little bit complicated. But we don’t realize that forgetting tasks is a much bigger problem than getting accustomed to a new system.
8) Don’t have time for it
It’s a common trait among working class people to think that they don’t have time for anything. But there may be a psychological factor in play here. There are a few scientific reasons why you might think that way. For example, if you don’t prioritize tasks or if you don’t have a daily routine, no matter how much work you do, you’ll never fully accomplish anything.
Furthermore, despite what you may think, the most successful people don’t have any advantage over you, they have the same hours in their days as you. In fact, they often find ways to work fewer hours. How does that work?
To illustrate, most people don’t use their 40 hour work week to accomplish as much as they can. They spend time going to meetings, checking email, getting distracted and getting some work done in between. After they go home they think to themselves about the 8 hours of work they did but don’t take into account the power of distractions and how they derail you from your thought process.
You might think that you don’t have enough time to enter data into the tool. It was the same with me but instead, what I realized is that a task management tool saves my time by organizing tasks by priority and reminds me when necessary.
9) Can’t decide which tool to use.
It is a daunting task to hunt for a work management tool that not only has the features you require but also the one that your team accepts for the duration of the project. If you cannot decide between tools then you need to identify your needs, evaluate your costs, make a comparison and identify your approach based on your requirements.
You have to decide if you want your team communication to be synchronous or asynchronous. For instance, if you want your team to communicate synchronously then you are better off with chat software where the other person is expected to answer immediately. But if you want the communication to be asynchronous then you must try out a task management tool.
Or if you want an eagle-eye view of project progress by milestones then you need a tool that provides a feature like SmartTask’s Portfolios.
As you might have noticed one common trait among the people who oppose the idea of Task Management Tool is that they don’t realize human minds aren’t made to work as a storage device.
Hope we addressed all the misconceptions. If we haven’t do let us know in the comments below.
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