task management http://96.126.99.92/taxonomy/term/11688/all en-US How to Delegate at Work and at Home in 4 Easy Steps http://96.126.99.92/how-to-delegate-at-work-and-at-home-in-4-easy-steps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-delegate-at-work-and-at-home-in-4-easy-steps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://96.126.99.92/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/office-5322514-small.jpg" alt="office team" title="office team" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know you could delegate, and you know you <em>should</em> delegate. You agree that the ability to delegate effectively determines your ability to accomplish more &mdash; at home and at work &mdash; but how do you let go? How do you trust others to accomplish the tasks you assign? And how do you manage it all without actually creating more work for yourself? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-your-house-in-one-day">How to Clean Your House in One Day</a>)</p> <p>If you want to manage time, resources, and people in a way that frees you up to focus on things that are truly important for your professional success or personal fulfillment, you need to delegate. Why not start delegating right now? Here's how.</p> <h2>Step 1: Choose the Right Resources</h2> <p>Find people who can do the tasks just as well as you could, or if you're a perfectionist, maybe not quite as well. (Thinking household chores and family members here. So what if the laundry isn't folded just right? It's done.) Think like a celebrity to come up with ways to outsource daily tasks. Would Beyonce really pick up her own dry cleaning? Pay the delivery fee and transfer that task to someone else's calendar. Or hire a college kid or work-at-home mom to run errands. They need the cash, and you need the time. Be picky at work. Ask your boss for the help of someone in particular instead of whoever happens to have free time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-never-pay-full-price-for">25 Things to Never Pay Full Price For</a>)</p> <h2>Step 2: Delegate the Right Things</h2> <p>Never delegate responsibilities just because you don't want to do them. That's not efficient; it's just rude and fosters resentment. Delegate the tasks that free up your time for the things that you alone are uniquely qualified to do, or that directly contribute to your Big Plans.</p> <p>Leverage technology, especially when organizing a lot of people. Staffing the community food pantry, running the school book fair, or heading up the charity race? Keep your eyes on big picture planning and let others choose to contribute the way they want with <a href="http://www.volunteerspot.com/?utm_source=Wisebread&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=LDdelegation">VolunteerSpot</a>, a free sign-up tool that anyone can access 24/7 from any smart phone or computer.</p> <h2>Step 3: Communicate Standards</h2> <p>Let people know why you think they're great for the job. Compliment their talents and the potential you see in them to really rock the task and then take the time to provide clear guidance. Don't expect others to have the same depth of understanding for what is required for a particular task. That big project you've been conceiving and nurturing for months is just another to-do for the new intern. You might be surprised to out how many steps really go into something you have been doing for a long time. Besides, when you force yourself to really explain something to someone else, you can gain valuable insights about how to do things better. (Se also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-power-of-mentorship">The Power of Mentorship</a>)</p> <h2>Step 4: Let It Go, and Reinforce the Positive</h2> <p>The only thing worse than never delegating is micro-managing. Once you delegate a responsibility, you need to trust that it will get done satisfactorily. Allow freedom for how to arrive at the end result. While you may have an idea about the best way to accomplish a task, the person you're delegating to may have a better idea. Good leaders understand they have a lot to learn from their subordinates.</p> <p>Whenever you delegate, there is going to be a learning curve. You have to accept that things aren't going to go smoothly every time. But more often they will, and when they do, share in the rewards and give credit to those who helped you accomplish your goals. Praise them for a job well done and they will want to do it again.</p> <p>Delegating &mdash; it's not so hard when you break it down. And once you get the hang of it, you're going to want to delegate more and more.</p> <p><em>What are some things you delegate, and what is your best advice for getting started?</em></p> <p><em>This is a guest post by Lela Davidson, the author of &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1936214431/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1936214431&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Blacklisted From the PTA</a>&quot; and &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1936214962/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1936214962&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Who Peed on My Yoga Mat?</a>&quot; and a proud member of Team VolunteerSpot. VolunteerSpot's free volunteer scheduling software lets organizers quickly set up volunteer needs in an online calendar and invite volunteers to sign up from their computer or smartphone. Learn more at <a href="http://www.volunteerspot.com/">their website</a>.</em></p> <a href="http://96.126.99.92/how-to-delegate-at-work-and-at-home-in-4-easy-steps" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Delegate at Work and at Home in 4 Easy Steps" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://96.126.99.92/lela-davidson">Lela Davidson</a> of <a href="http://96.126.99.92/how-to-delegate-at-work-and-at-home-in-4-easy-steps">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/5-benefits-of-a-task-management-system">5 Benefits of a Task Management System</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/8-personal-finance-moves-you-can-make-while-jogging">8 Personal Finance Moves You Can Make While Jogging</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/13-things-successful-people-do-every-morning">13 Things Successful People Do Every Morning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/10-tips-to-make-working-from-home-a-success">10 Tips to Make Working From Home a Success</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Productivity delegating task management teamwork Tue, 27 Aug 2013 09:36:52 +0000 Lela Davidson 981435 at http://96.126.99.92 How to Be Less of a Grump at Work http://96.126.99.92/small-business/how-to-be-less-of-a-grump-at-work <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-be-less-of-a-grump-at-work" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-be-less-of-a-grump-at-work</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/how-to-be-less-of-a-grump-at-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://96.126.99.92/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000014768098Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="http://96.126.99.92/small-business/how-to-be-less-of-a-grump-at-work" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Be Less of a Grump at Work" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>Lurking issues not properly handled often lead to frustration, fatigue, a vague feeling of impending doom, and the fear of missing an opportunity. Take these steps to confront common causes of grumpiness, so that you can be authentically optimistic, pleasant, and energized by your business almost all of the time.</p> <p><strong>Let People Know When You are Really Busy</strong></p> <p>If you are unusually busy, then you may become frustrated when your employees interrupt you with non-urgent matters that do not advance your progress toward a project deadline, shipment of customer orders, or response to a crisis. Certainly, you want to be available to team members so that you can coach and mentor them. But there are days when you need time dedicated to mission-critical tasks.</p> <p>So, rather than scowl at employees, let them know when you are busy&hellip; and that you are not able to provide your usual upbeat and inspiring leadership. Be clear about the signs of your extreme busyness, such as a closed door, muted Blackberry, and delayed response to email. And, if possible, advise when your schedule and availability will be back to normal.</p> <p>These times should be the exception to your routine. If you are nearly always overwhelmingly busy and can&rsquo;t be bothered most of the time, then reconsider how the workload is assigned, how orders are prioritized, and crises are avoided. Make adjustments so that your business and its employees invigorate you rather than annoy you.</p> <p><strong>Ask Questions Rather than Make Assumptions</strong></p> <p>If you become aware of a potentially destructive situation, find out what is really happening rather than making wrong assumptions that dampen your enthusiasm. For example, what if your honest employee seems to be violating a policy, a loyal customer seems to be vetting competitors, and a long-time vendor seems to be requiring long lead times than usual?</p> <p>Rather than concerning yourself with the outcomes of sketchy scenarios, ask open-ended questions and be willing to listen. Conducting your own investigation brings clarity to whatever errors or inconsistencies may exist. Being able to quickly identify and address possible predicaments, rather than allowing them to linger, can stem grumpiness or lessen its duration.</p> <p><strong>Deal with Trouble as Quickly as Possible</strong></p> <p>Minor yet unresolved predicaments can lead to grumpiness. These types of troubles (and the troublemakers who cause them) will not significantly harm your company but nevertheless require attention that you&rsquo;d like to direct elsewhere.</p> <p>Devise a plan to deal with problems as swiftly as possible. This process is difficult but the pay-off is satisfying. At the same time, your employees&rsquo; collective mood will brighten as they will be glad that you took care of nagging issues for your sake and for the long-term viability of the business.</p> <p><strong>Hire Innovative Thinkers who will Accept Guidance</strong></p> <p>Ideally, your employees take general direction from you and figure out ways to deliver results aligned with the business&rsquo; strategy. If you must provide detailed instructions for all assignments, then you may be grumpy because of the energy and hours required for this constant supervision. Similarly, if you are the only one who has the capacity and willingness to bring innovation to your business, then you may be frustrated with resistance from employees oblivious to new opportunities and changes in the marketplace.</p> <p>People who take charge when needed but also accept guidance when appropriate can boost business results and enthusiasm. These are the folks who <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/9-reasons-people-dont-do-what-they-are-supposed-to-do?intlink=us-openf-nav-mostpopular" target="_blank">do what they are supposed to do</a> and <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/7-mistakes-bosses-make-that-drive-employees-crazy" target="_blank">are not driven crazy by slight modifications</a> to your annual business plan.</p> <p>To hire or engage such people as full-time employees or contract workers, look for those who have:</p> <ul> <li>initiated new projects;</li> <li>contributed to teamwork;</li> <li>adapted to varying organizational roles;</li> <li>learned from failures, and;</li> <li>experienced success in many realms.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Find Time to Conceive and Execute Fresh Ideas</strong></p> <p>If you spend most of your time managing day-to-day activities, then you may be unable to concentrate on conceiving and executing new ways to improve your business, deliver more innovative products, thrill more customers, and cut costs while keeping service levels high.</p> <p>Even if you absolutely adore overseeing daily routines, there will be days when you become envious of businesses similar to yours that are successfully leveraging new technologies, pursuing new strategic relationships, and landing new accounts. Then, you will be sorry (and, yes, grumpy) that you haven&rsquo;t tackled such challenges and reaped such rewards due to lack of time focused on thinking and acting strategically.</p> <p>To stay upbeat, set aside time to dream up and implement new ideas.<i><br /> </i></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://96.126.99.92/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://96.126.99.92/small-business/how-to-be-less-of-a-grump-at-work">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/12-straightforward-ways-to-say-no">12 Straightforward Ways to Say &quot;No&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/dont-panic-how-to-meet-a-deadline">Don&#039;t Panic! How to Meet a Deadline</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/the-time-management-problem-most-of-us-have-and-how-to-fix-it">The Time Management Problem Most of Us Have — and How to Fix It</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Small Business Resource Center employee relations moods office distractions problem solving small business task management time management workplace emotions Sat, 10 Dec 2011 22:03:50 +0000 Julie Rains 816777 at http://96.126.99.92 5 Things You Can Stop Obsessing About http://96.126.99.92/small-business/5-things-you-can-stop-obsessing-about <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-things-you-can-stop-obsessing-about" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-things-you-can-stop-obsessing-about</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-things-you-can-stop-obsessing-about" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://96.126.99.92/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000018236562Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="http://96.126.99.92/small-business/5-things-you-can-stop-obsessing-about" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Things You Can Stop Obsessing About" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>There's plenty to worry about in small business. Here are a few items you can safely remove from your anxiety list.</p> <p><strong>1. How Clever You are on Twitter</strong></p> <p>Twitter is a format that lends itself to witty statements and clever one-liners, but you don't have to be clever to use Twitter successfully as a marketing tool. Because, while your customers may appreciate humor and snark, they appreciate other things more: discounts, coupons, helpful information, and relevant links.</p> <p>If witty isn't your strong suit, don't worry. Witty is nice, and it is also forgettable. Real help and real value can make a more lasting impression.</p> <p><strong>2. Your Business Plan</strong></p> <p>While the MBAs around the world cover their faces in horror, let's think for a moment about the function of a business plan. Oh, wait, does it actually have one? Let's poll the crowd.</p> <p>From <a href="http://www.mjdemarco.com/" target="_blank">MJ DeMarco</a>, author and self-made millionaire, in his book <i>The Millionaire Fastlane</i>: &quot;Business plans are useless. Yes, I said it. Business plans are useless because they're ideas jacked-up on steroids.&quot;</p> <p>From <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/why-you-dont-need-a-business-plan">Mike Michalowicz</a>, entrepreneur and author of <i>The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur</i>, writes &quot;If you have a good product, service or idea, don&rsquo;t worry about a business plan. You have what you need, which is the salable idea. All you need to do is put the wheels in motion to start capitalizing on that idea.&quot;</p> <p><strong>3. Your Schedule, in Fifteen-minute Increments</strong></p> <p>Yes, it's great to have a handle on your schedule, to plan things out, and to commit your time to what is most important. But flexibility is key for a small business owner, and tying yourself to a micro-managed schedule is, most likely, just going to drive you crazy.</p> <p>If micro-managing your employees doesn't work, why do you think micro-managing yourself is a good idea?</p> <p>As Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi writes in his book <i>Finding Flow</i>, &quot;Time stress has become one of the most popular complaints of the day. But more often than not, it is an excuse for not taking control of our lives. How many of the things that we do are really necessary?&quot;</p> <p>Instead of trying to cram more into your days by dividing them into ever smaller and more disparate segments, cut out all but the most important activities of your business. There are <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/regain-control-of-your-time-today-1" target="_blank">smart ways to regain control of your time</a>, they don't involve buying a thicker planner or a more detailed calendar.</p> <p><strong>4. Your Chance of Failure</strong></p> <p>Failure is a normal part of life and business. If you have a hundred ideas, not all of them are going to be wins. Nobody has a 100 percent success rate. Think about each failure as a course in how to succeed next time.</p> <p>James Allen writes of failure as &quot;one of the pathways to attainment.&quot; MJ DeMarco calls it &quot;the sweat of success.&quot;</p> <p><strong>5. Almost Anything Below Item #3 on Your To-Do List</strong></p> <p>There's always a long list of things to do in running a small business, whether yours is an operation of one or 100 or 1000. But putting item after item on your daily to-do list isn't going to help you be more productive. In fact, it may have the opposite effect.</p> <p>Time and productivity expert Laura Vanderkam <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505125_162-47240686/is-your-to-do-list-too-long/?tag=mncol;lst;2" target="_blank">postulates that a shorter to-do list helps you focus and accomplish</a>. &quot;And when you aim to do only 3 things, you're highly likely to get them done&mdash;and then move on,&quot; says Vanderkam. &quot;That beats shuffling the same 20 things from one day's list to the next.&quot;</p> <p>Less is, in fact, more, both on your to-do list and in your mental obsession box. So let some things go, and start getting more things that matter done.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://96.126.99.92/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://96.126.99.92/small-business/5-things-you-can-stop-obsessing-about">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/13-ways-to-use-social-media-in-business">13 Ways to Use Social Media in Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/join-us-at-the-new-york-times-small-business-summit">Join Us at the New York Times Small Business Summit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/10-silly-internet-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-today">10 Silly Internet Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/12-straightforward-ways-to-say-no">12 Straightforward Ways to Say &quot;No&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Small Business Resource Center business planning leadership management small business social media task management time management Fri, 02 Dec 2011 21:08:52 +0000 Annie Mueller 804600 at http://96.126.99.92 Use Systems To Save Time And Money http://96.126.99.92/small-business/use-systems-to-save-time-and-money <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/use-systems-to-save-time-and-money" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/use-systems-to-save-time-and-money</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/use-systems-to-save-time-and-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://96.126.99.92/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000004446193Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="http://96.126.99.92/small-business/use-systems-to-save-time-and-money" class="sharethis-link" title="Use Systems To Save Time And Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>Systems aren't difficult to understand, and the best systems are usually the simplest.</p> <p><strong>What's a Business System?</strong></p> <p>To boil it down, let's just say a system is a set of tasks that are repeated in pretty much the same way at the same time in order to accomplish the same end.</p> <p>That's the best kind of system, though there are other, haphazard systems which are formed by default.</p> <p>You know the kind I'm talking about. It's the &quot;scramble to find the receipts and the invoices and do the taxes before the due date goes by&quot; system. It's not good, or conscious, or planned; if it's something that happens with any kind of repetition, however, it's your system.</p> <p>Since you're going to have systems, put a little effort into making sure they work for you instead of against you.</p> <p><strong>A Simple Approach to Systems</strong></p> <p>First, make a list of any work that you have to do on a regular basis. Next, go through that list with the following list of questions.</p> <ul> <li>What are the work items you put off? Systematize so you don't keep procrastinating; you just stay plugged into your system and things happen.</li> <li>What are the tasks you're not good at? Systematize them so they become as streamlined as possible and you spend as little time as possible on them.</li> <li>What are the tasks you avoid or forget? Systematize them so they get on your schedule and get done with a minimum of hassle.</li> <li>What are the tasks you love and do best? Systematize the detail work that accompanies them so you can focus on your strengths.</li> </ul> <p><strong>How Systems Help You Save Money</strong></p> <p>Use systems to keep from making the same decisions over and over again. Instead of thinking through a routine task again, put it on autopilot with a system. Use the time and mental energy saved to come up with <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/putting-pinterest-to-work-for-you" target="_blank">creative marketing ideas</a>, contact prospects, make a sale, or negotiate better prices from distributors.</p> <p><em>Use systems to automate routine tasks</em>. Avoid the money lost due to late taxes, late bill payment, and other losses that can be chalked up to procrastination and oversight.</p> <p><em>Use systems to simplify delegating or</em><b> </b><a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-save-money-with-outsourcing" target="_blank"><b>outsourcing tasks</b></a>. When you can hand off a routine task to an hourly employee or outsourced worker, you free your time for your core work, the work that actually makes you money.</p> <p><em>Use systems to keep mundane, administrative work organized and accomplished.</em> You can pay a professional organizer, or you can use systems and be your own professional organizer.</p> <p><strong>Why You Avoid Systems</strong></p> <p>People hesitate to set up systems because set-up requires a little time and conscious effort. For routine tasks&mdash; the kind that most benefit from implementing a system&mdash;it's easy to mistakenly think that the effort of creating a system is more effort than the task deserves.</p> <p>These routine tasks may be simple, but they're important. Neglect them, or allow them to be done haphazardly if at all, and your business will suffer.</p> <p><strong>How to Set Up Systems That Work</strong></p> <p>To set up a system, choose one task to systematize. Then walk through these seven steps.</p> <p><em>Step 1: Ask &quot;What needs to be done to complete this task?&quot;</em> Then list each action required, from start to finish, to get the task to completion.</p> <p><em>Step 2: Ask &quot;How does it need to be done?&quot;</em> Then list any special methods or criteria required to get the task done correctly.</p> <p><em>Step 3: Ask &quot;When does it need to be done?&quot;</em><b> </b>Don't default to the deadline; choose a time that gives you the ability to correct mistakes or deal with last-minute issues, if applicable.</p> <p><em>Step 4: Ask &quot;What resources, tools, or supplies are required to get it done?&quot;</em> Then list what is needed.</p> <p><em>Step 5: Ask &quot;What people need to be involved to get it done?&quot;</em> List the people and assign roles/action items.</p> <p><em>Step 6: Ask &quot;Is there anything that could be improved to get this task completed more effectively?&quot;</em> List any steps that could be eliminated, people who could be freed up to do more important work, or portions that could be outsourced. Good systems allow you to find <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/time-is-money-now-act-like-it-scott-allen" target="_blank">the most efficient way to do the simplest tasks</a>.</p> <p><em>Step 7: Make it a system</em> by a) creating a System Sheet, b) putting it on the schedule, and c) gathering the necessary supplies in a single, designated space.</p> <ul> <li><b>A System Sheet</b> should list all the steps to be taken from start to finish. Include any pertinent information (methods, criteria, contact info of the person responsible) next to the corresponding step. Don't skip this step! Even if it's a simple task and your system sheet is two lines long, create one. Doing so will enable you to hand off the task to someone else and be sure it's done the way you want it to be done.</li> <li><b>Put the system (or task) on the calendar</b> of the person responsible for it. If that's not you, put it on your calendar, too, in order to follow up and ensure that the system is followed.</li> <li>Finally, if possible, <b>gather together all the supplies needed and designate a space</b> for them. Keep the supplies in that space and be sure that one of your steps on the system sheet includes a supply check, so you don't run out.</li> </ul> <p>Does it take some time to set up a good system? Yes, it does, more than the task itself might take. However, that time invested in building a system will enable you to breeze through the task every subsequent time it has to be done. If you invest 60 minutes in building a system, and save 10 minutes every time you use it, it doesn't take long for a system to start paying you back in moments gained and money saved.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://96.126.99.92/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://96.126.99.92/small-business/use-systems-to-save-time-and-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/12-straightforward-ways-to-say-no">12 Straightforward Ways to Say &quot;No&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/dont-panic-how-to-meet-a-deadline">Don&#039;t Panic! How to Meet a Deadline</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/time-management-tools-too-busy-to-read-this-post">Time-Management Tools: Too Busy to Read This Post?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Small Business Resource Center business management small business systems task management time management Sun, 20 Nov 2011 20:41:48 +0000 Annie Mueller 788932 at http://96.126.99.92 Don't Sweat The Small Things—Or, Well, At Least These 4 Things http://96.126.99.92/small-business/dont-sweat-the-small-things-or-well-at-least-these-4-things <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/dont-sweat-the-small-thingsor-well-at-least-these-4-things" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/dont-sweat-the-small-thingsor-well-at-least-th...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/dont-sweat-the-small-things-or-well-at-least-these-4-things" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://96.126.99.92/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000009775474Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="http://96.126.99.92/small-business/dont-sweat-the-small-things-or-well-at-least-these-4-things" class="sharethis-link" title="Don&#039;t Sweat The Small Things—Or, Well, At Least These 4 Things" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>Your business is your baby. Well, at one distant time in the past it was. If you&rsquo;ve been open for awhile; your business has grown up.</p> <p>And like a grown-up, a developed business is resilient, probably more resilient than you think. But many entrepreneurs refuse to believe their businesses can withstand one bad day, one unforeseen expense, one minor mishap. In their minds, problems start small then blossom out of control. It&rsquo;s the classic &ldquo;Mom&rsquo;s slippery slope&rdquo;: first it&rsquo;s dirt behind the ears, next it&rsquo;s sleeping in the gutter. For the entrepreneur, first it&rsquo;s one bad sales day; next it&rsquo;s selling your office fixtures on Craigslist and eating salt soup for dinner.</p> <p>Sweating the small stuff one can really hurt your business by keeping you needlessly fixated on minor problems <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/80-ways-to-steal-valuable-minutes-for-your-work-day-1" target="_blank">while ignoring the Important Stuff</a>. Below are four things business owners commonly fixate on when they should be treating their business like a grown-up who can tie their own shoes, thank you very much.</p> <p><strong>1. One Bad Day, One Bad Week, or Even One Bad Month</strong></p> <p>While over-optimism is a sure death knell for a business, pessimistic short-sightedness can be just as damaging&mdash;sometimes fatally so. A smart business owner knows that changing your strategy prematurely based off of a short-term assessment can ruin an otherwise solid, sound approach. You had a bad day? Well, how was your year?</p> <p>Granted, you shouldn&rsquo;t be afraid to adjust. But you always need to be thinking long term&mdash;the longer the better. As Warren Buffet said concerning long-term investment, &ldquo;Our favorite holding period is forever.&rdquo; Bad days happen, randomly sometimes and in no way because of anything you did wrong, in fact. A good business owner knows this, and doesn&rsquo;t make rash decisions in a frantic, fruitless attempt to avoid some periods of negativity.</p> <p><strong>2. Indolence from Employees</strong></p> <p>It takes a village, as they say. In your business&rsquo; case, it takes a village of employees. A lot of times though, you&rsquo;re not going to see eye-to-eye with certain employees on how to raise your precious business. They might rebel slightly, exhibiting classic passive-aggressive tendencies like &ldquo;doing things their way.&rdquo; And it will be aggravating.</p> <p>But the worst thing you can do is let your employee&rsquo;s negative attitudes distract you from the big picture. Letting personal conflict with an employee who thinks they know best is going to happen sometimes. But don&rsquo;t sweat it. Don&rsquo;t let their indolence distract you from your ultimate goal. Personal conflict with employees is natural, but is nothing that should derail you.</p> <p><strong>3. Small Theft and Other Losses to Take Personally</strong></p> <p>As a former shop owner, one of the most frustrating experiences I had was the first time a small case of actual theft occurred. At the time, the violation was, to put it mildly, quite upsetting. Someone had stolen from me! From my business, my <i>baby</i>!</p> <p>Truly petty theft happens in almost all businesses&mdash;pens go missing, people don&rsquo;t chip in for coffee, maybe a stapler goes AWOL. It&rsquo;s insulting, and if it&rsquo;s a pattern, certainly address the problem. But do not obsess over it!</p> <p>In my case, I allowed the theft to affect me personally and ultimately allowed the theft to distract me from what mattered most&mdash;growing my business in a positive fashion. Being stolen from was (and is) very upsetting. And if you catch someone stealing, punish them accordingly. But if it&rsquo;s not a recurrent, truly damaging pattern, suck it up and move on. Don&rsquo;t let the isolated actions of a few thoughtless individuals take up your good time. Your time is worth too much.</p> <p><strong>4. Slow Response from Advertising</strong></p> <p>I don&rsquo;t know how many business owners think that people actually see an ad and immediately go to patronize said business, but I do know business owners who have just had an ad air or run in the paper certainly think so. Advertising works gradually. Just because the phone didn&rsquo;t start ringing off the hook the second the newspaper went out this morning doesn&rsquo;t mean your ad didn&rsquo;t reach people. The best test is to see if people are familiar with your business. If nobody in the world saw your ad, maybe you need to switch mediums. But if you don&rsquo;t get an immediate response, don&rsquo;t sweat it!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://96.126.99.92/jacob-harper">Jacob Harper</a> of <a href="http://96.126.99.92/small-business/dont-sweat-the-small-things-or-well-at-least-these-4-things">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/12-straightforward-ways-to-say-no">12 Straightforward Ways to Say &quot;No&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/dont-panic-how-to-meet-a-deadline">Don&#039;t Panic! How to Meet a Deadline</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/time-management-tools-too-busy-to-read-this-post">Time-Management Tools: Too Busy to Read This Post?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Small Business Resource Center focus small business task management time management Sat, 19 Nov 2011 20:51:44 +0000 Jacob Harper 788933 at http://96.126.99.92 What Is Procrastination Costing You? http://96.126.99.92/small-business/what-is-procrastination-costing-you <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/what-is-procrastination-costing-you" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/what-is-procrastination-costing-you</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/what-is-procrastination-costing-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://96.126.99.92/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000017297137Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="http://96.126.99.92/small-business/what-is-procrastination-costing-you" class="sharethis-link" title="What Is Procrastination Costing You?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>If time is money, then wasting time means losing money. What is your procrastination costing you?</p> <p><strong>Lost Opportunity</strong></p> <p>When great opportunities arrive, are you quick to act on them and walk through that open door? Almost all opportunities come with a time limit; if you put off doing the things you need to do to take advantage of the opportunities you're given, you'll lose them.</p> <p><strong>Lost Ability</strong></p> <p>Many abilities come with a time limit. Athletes know that their careers are a race against the clock. The rest of us often don't realize this truth fully. We think our abilities are inherent, when they are largely dependent on our youth or current life situation. We assume certain freedoms and abilities that aren't guaranteed. Circumstances change, life happens, obligations pile up; things you might take for granted now, such as good health, free time, personal space, reliable transportation, and more can disappear.</p> <p><strong>Lost Time</strong></p> <p>Do we even need to talk about the fact that you're wasting time when you procrastinate? Procrastinating may take on an active form; <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/4-productivity-concepts-you-need-to-know" target="_blank">you may be doing something</a>, but it's not the thing that you need to do. Most likely, it's not the thing that will make you money or build your business.</p> <p><strong>Lost Money</strong></p> <p>Here's the part you all really care about most: the money.</p> <p><a href="http://www.my168hours.com/main/about-the-author/" target="_blank">Laura Vanderkam</a>, author of <i>168 Hours</i> (<a href="http://www.my168hours.com/main/about-the-book/" target="_blank">a must-read book of time wisdom</a>) and the forthcoming book <i>All the Money in the World </i>discusses time and money, and how procrastination affects both.</p> <p><span style="font-style: italic;">&quot;</span><i>Time and money are inversely related variables. You can spend time to save money or spend money to save time. <i>The problem with procrastination is that it often tips you&mdash;unconsciously&mdash;into the latter bucket because you run out of time, and hence spend big bucks when you didn't have to.&nbsp;</i><i>Think rush fees on shipping, late fees on bills, overtime payment for employees when better time management would have saved you that cash.</i></i></p> <p><strong>A Few Examples to Ponder</strong></p> <p>Time and money are essential resources in business. Procrastination wastes both of them. Here are a few of the more common ways:</p> <ul> <li>tax penalties due to late tax payments;</li> <li>tax penalties and fees due inaccurate records because you procrastinated on invoices, receipts, record-keeping, hiring an accountant, and so on;</li> <li>high interest on loans or inventory financing because you haven't yet applied for that low interest loan or talked to your banker or distributor about lower rates;</li> <li>lost grant money because you were late applying so someone else got it;</li> <li>fees imposed due to breaking city codes and environmental regulations which you knew about, but failed to act upon soon enough;</li> <li>lost sales because you were late to follow-up and your competitor wasn't;</li> <li>lost customers who left because they got tired of late deliveries, unreturned phone calls, unresolved issues, etc;</li> <li>lost profits from the products you never shipped.</li> </ul> <p>As I've said before, <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/the-ability-to-execute-is-your-most-valuable-asset">execution is the most valuable asset in your small business</a>. Procrastination is the antithesis of execution. It isn't just a bad habit or a personality quirk. It's a malevolent, passive way of taking your business straight to the bottom. Love your business? Want to succeed? Quit procrastinating.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://96.126.99.92/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://96.126.99.92/small-business/what-is-procrastination-costing-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/how-to-stop-chronic-procrastination">How to Stop Chronic Procrastination</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/12-straightforward-ways-to-say-no">12 Straightforward Ways to Say &quot;No&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://96.126.99.92/the-7-stages-of-procrastination-read-this-right-now">The 7 Stages of Procrastination (Read This Right Now!)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Entrepreneurship Productivity Small Business Resource Center procrastination small business task management time management Fri, 18 Nov 2011 00:47:42 +0000 Annie Mueller 781128 at http://96.126.99.92 5 Benefits of a Task Management System http://96.126.99.92/5-benefits-of-a-task-management-system <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-benefits-of-a-task-management-system" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://96.126.99.92/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000008792767XSmall.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>This article is <a href="http://mylifescoop.com/featured-stories/2010/01/5-benefits-of-a-task-management-system.html">Wise Bread's contribution</a> to <a href="http://mylifescoop.com/personal/">Life Scoop</a>, where ordinary people learn how to make surprising things happen with technology.</em></p> <p>I'm trying yet another task management system and I think I've found a keeper. I've been on a search for quite some time, and while many people have strong opinions on their favorite apps, the best one for you will serve <em>your</em> particular needs and lifestyle. You may need to try a few before finding the right one for you &mdash; I've tried at least a dozen. I've settled on <a href="http://www.toodledo.com">Toodledo</a> for the five specific problems it solved for me.</p> <h2><b>Decision Making</b></h2> <p>When I used to look at my list of to-dos, I wanted to run and hide. I knew I&nbsp;needed to make a <em>daily</em> list of a few things to accomplish, since it would be impossible to do everything in one day. But I'm indecisive, and it's a <em>long</em> list. The decision making process was a huge task in itself, and to have to do that on a daily basis grated at my soul. So I ended up doing whatever I remembered to do, or whatever came my way, which meant things didn't get done because I had completely forgotten about them (but they were on the list somewhere).</p> <p>What Toodledo does is assign the <strong>importance </strong>of a task <em>for</em> me, based on a number of factors like due date, priority, and whether I've <strong>starred</strong> it (another way to highlight a task). I don't need to choose. I just go down the list. This goes beyond typical sorting functions of other apps where you can only either sort by priority or due date. Toodledo calculates importance by due date, priority, <em>and </em>whether I've starred it. Sometimes it's more important to start on a something that's due further out because of its priority and how long it'll take.</p> <p>Toodledo also has a <strong>scheduler</strong>, which allows Toodledo to just tell me what to do &mdash; this feature is only available for their Pro account ($14.95 per year). Say I have 2 hours free and I don't want to decide what tasks I&nbsp;should do in that time. Like figuring the importance scale, Toodledo analyzes all my tasks and picks from my list that will be the most effective use of that time. Each task has a field for estimated time the task will take, so this is taken into consideration when the tasks are scheduled based on your availablity.</p> <h2><b>Managing Distractions</b></h2> <p>Oftentimes I'm working on something when I get distracted &mdash; the phone rings, an instant message appears, I notice a new email &mdash; and then I completely forget that I was working on something. I'll get off the phone and decide to check email. Before long I'm off doing something else with the original task left hanging. Many people call this &quot;multi-tasking&quot; but most of us know that there are very few things we can really do at the same time. I can walk on the treadmill and read email at the same time, but I&nbsp;can't talk on the phone and write an article at the same time.</p> <p>I'm not disciplined enough to follow strict rules of checking email only twice a day or turning off my phone. But I can always go back to Toodledo (after I'm no longer distracted) and see the task I was working on previously.</p> <p>Their <strong>timer</strong> feature also helps me to stay on task when my mind starts to wander and I want to do something else. Click the timer button and it keeps the clock running for the time spent on that task. Knowing that before I switch tasks I have to stop the timer button actually gives me incentive to just finish what I'm doing. That one small barrier is enough to prevent the impulse to check email or facebook status until I've completed the task at hand.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div align="center"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/iStock_000011054946XSmall.jpg" alt="" /></div> <div align="center">&nbsp;</div> <h2><b>Scheduling Time</b></h2> <p>Two features of Toodledo that helps me manage my time is the timer (which tells me exactly how long I've spent on a task) and the time estimation I can include for each task (to get a handle of what I can expect to accomplish in one day). Sometimes a day passes by and I wonder what I did all day. With the timer function, I&nbsp;can see exactly where all my hours went, and it does make me feel better to know that I actually didn't spend all day on Facebook. It also helps me see where I&nbsp;may be spending way <em>too much</em> of my time on...</p> <p>Being able to see how long a task will take also helps me plan my day. If I'm just going down a list of items, I might think I&nbsp;can complete 10 things. But taking into consideration the time it'll take for each task will keep my expectations realistic. If there's a big project I&nbsp;need to slot most of the day to, I might only accomplish 3 things that day, but it still would have been a full day of working.</p> <h2><b>Goal Setting</b></h2> <p>Toodledo allows me to set goals, and assign tasks to that goal. Setting specific tasks to goals ensures that I keep my eye on the ball. I can look at my next steps and see how far I've come. The Pro account offers a chain display that shows the number of tasks completed for each goal, as well as the goal's chain. The chain gets longer for each consecutive day that a completed task contributes to the goal. Make progress on a goal each day to get a long chain. Miss a day and that chain will get broken.</p> <p>It's important to see beyond the task list at the bigger picture and know that checking off the tasks brings you another step closer to your goals.</p> <h2><b>Better Organization</b></h2> <p>At first glance Toodledo's interface is not very appealing. But dig a little deeper and their layout is pretty brilliant. It is super easy to navigate and customize. They have more fields for tasks than I've ever encountered, but if there are fields you don't ever use, they don't show up. Another important (yet simple) feature they offer is various ways to organize your tasks &mdash; folders, context, goals, stars &mdash; that allow easy access to any task.</p> <p>I'm a stickler for organization, and the problem with some of the other apps I've tried was how inadequate I found their flexibility to be. Having multiple labels on each task and being able to view them according to any of those labels help a great deal in organizing my entire list of tasks (about 200 at this point).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div align="center"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/iStock_000004791880XSmall.jpg" alt="" /></div> <div align="center">&nbsp;</div> <h2><b>Meeting Your Needs</b></h2> <p>A regular spiral notepad worked for me for a long time. But when I saw how much of my time was spent organizing and reorganizing and then selecting tasks, I knew I&nbsp;had to get help. Among the dozen or so task management systems I tried, a few stood out even though they weren't perfect for me. If you're looking for some places to start, here are some other popular options.</p> <p><a href="http://mail.google.com/mail/help/tasks/"><strong>Gmail Tasks</strong></a> &mdash; Integrated into your Gmail and Gmail Calendar, it's clean, simple, and takes up little room. Before I switched to Toodledo, I was using this for time sensitive tasks. I always had my Gmail Calendar open and I could enter tasks directly from there. These were tasks I knew I&nbsp;couldn't just write on my notepad because who knew when would be the next time I looked it over.</p> <p><a href="http://www.ubernote.com/webnote/pages/default.aspx"><strong>Ubernote</strong></a> &mdash; This is more note-taking than task management, although they do have a task feature. Other features include a variety of tools that integrate your web surfing (submit notes via email, bookmarking, web clipping).</p> <p><a href="http://www.rememberthemilk.com/"><strong>Remember the milk</strong></a> &mdash; Easy to use and hugely popular, it is accessible via iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Google Calendar, and even Twitter.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zoho.com/"><strong>Zoho</strong></a> &mdash; Zoho is a treasure trove of productivity and collaboration apps. If you work in a team and have use for all their various apps, this is a great system to use.</p> <p><a href="http://www.5pmweb.com/"><strong>5pm</strong></a> &mdash; We use this for <a href="http://dealista.quickanddirtytips.com/">Dealista</a> production and I really like it for projects that involve multiple steps and people. It's not ideal for a long list of tasks, but it works well for project management.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wrike.com/"><strong>Wrike</strong></a> &mdash; Another useful app for project management among a team, but not ideal for personal task management. Greg wrote a great <a href="http://blog.liferemix.net/basecamp-not-you-check-out-wrike">review of Wrike</a>.</p><a href="http://96.126.99.92/5-benefits-of-a-task-management-system" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Benefits of a Task Management System" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>For more ways to do everyday tasks better, faster, and smarter, check out these great tips from <a href="http://mylifescoop.com/personal/">Life Scoop</a>:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://mylifescoop.com/featured-stories/2009/12/6-ways-to-use-technology-to-upgrade-your-career.html">6 Ways to Use Technology to Upgrade Your Career</a></li> <li><a href="http://mylifescoop.com/featured-stories/2009/11/3-technologies-that-help-stay-at-home-moms-build-an-online-busines.html">Stay-At-Home Moms: Build an Online Business</a></li> <li><a href="http://mylifescoop.com/featured-stories/2009/11/3-ways-technology-makes-personal-finances-easier.html">3 Ways Technology Makes Personal Finances Easier</a></li> <li><a href="http://mylifescoop.com/featured-stories/2010/01/7-tech-tools-to-supercharge-your-productivity-in-the-new-year.html">7 Tech Tools to Supercharge Your Productivity in the New Year</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://96.126.99.92/lynn-truong">Lynn Truong</a> of <a href="http://96.126.99.92/5-benefits-of-a-task-management-system">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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