How to Keep Track of Commitments
Whether you want to be more organised in your job-hunt or are keen to improve your organisational skills for the workplace, there are plenty of handy tools and strategies available to keep track of your commitments.
There are many different platforms and project management tools out there, so it pays to be strategic about which ones you use. It’s wise to choose just a couple of tools that sync well with each other to avoid confusion or double-handling.
All the following tools are free, although some offer paid versions with increased functionality.
Paper or Digital Lists and Calendars?
Many people still prefer paper lists for organising their tasks, and to be sure, there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of grabbing a pen and crossing jobs off when they’re completed.
But there are downsides to paper based systems. You have to carry them with you, or you’ll fall into the trap of having multiple lists or scraps of notes all over the place. It’s harder to liaise on projects when relying on physical worklists, and many workplaces now require that you use task management software to collaborate with colleagues effectively.
Using a calendar app is almost essential in modern life, and there are plenty of good free ones to choose from. Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar and Apple Calendar are the most widely used, and also the ones you’re most likely to use in the workplace.
These allow you to create multiple calendars (for example for work and home commitments), colour code your obligations, invite other people to events, and set text and email reminders. They can by synced across all your devices, and even add events directly from your emails.
Task Management Software
Task management software is great for planning your job-hunting tasks and keeping track of your applications, networking, and goals. A huge number of workplaces now use task and project management software to manage teams and projects, with options for worklists, time tracking, calendars, file sharing, and discussion boards.
Being relatively easy to use, these give you a visual breakdown of your progress and tasks, as well as issuing deadline reminders (very handy for when a job application or follow-up needs to be sent!)
Trello and Asana both offer cloud based project management software with free basic versions. You can also sync these platforms with Google Calendar to keep track of your commitments in one place.
Online To-Do Lists
There are a lot of apps out there designed to replace the paper to-do list, with plenty of extra functions such as setting reminders and being able to share tasks with others.
Of those with free options, Todoist is the pick of the bunch, although its functionality improves markedly once you start paying. If you are willing to pay, Apple Things and Microsoft To Do are also major players in this field. Asana’s free version also has a handy to-do list built in.
Keeping track of how you spend your time is a crucial part of staying organised and productive. You may be surprised where your time ‘vanishes’ to when you track it for a week.
Toggl Track and Harvest are two of the best time trackers, while Rescue Time is designed more to block distractions by measuring how long you spend on certain platforms such as Facebook. Note that many of the above tools have a time tracker in them, such as Asana, Trello, and Todoist.
Being well organised makes you feel in control, it earns you respect, and sets you firmly on the path for career success. And with so many free tools on the market, there’s no better time to get started.