How to Organize Your To-Do Lists Using Action Items
To-do lists are the crucial tools for effective task management. The more tasks on a to-do list you complete by the deadline, the more productive you are.
Project managers and their teams often struggle with determining who is responsible for what task and when it must be completed. You can save time and increase productivity by escaping this dilemma.
In this article, you will learn how to accomplish that by using action items in your to-do lists.
What Is an Action Item?
The action item is a task on your to-do list. Your to-do list may contain more than one action item when the project is complex. Whenever you complete one action item, you get close to project completion.
Action items are more descriptive than a typical task on your to-do list. Designing a logo for an e-commerce client is an example of a typical to-do list item. However, action items would explain a lot more than that. Here is a list of action items that relate to the logo designing project:
- Host a brand discovery call with the client.
- Brainstorm logo ideas with designers.
- Build a prototype for logo concept one.
If you ask the action items using the terms “What,” “Who,” and “When,” you should get definite answers. The term “Who” indicates the person responsible for completing the project. Similarly, “What” will clearly identify the resources required. “When” specifically mentions a deadline for the task at hand.
You might need to send a project progress report to your client for any large and complex project. Action items help you create such reports effortlessly if you maintain the following tracking data:
- Title of action items
- Tracking number or IDs
- Date of creation
- Task priority level
- Estimated completion date
- Assignee and task creator’s name
- Short and long description
Any online to-do list apps or the tools mentioned in this article will help you in tracking action items. Follow the below-mentioned strategies to create a better to-do list that includes action items:
1. Start It With a Verb
Oftentimes, to-do lists only show the task name, such as “Presentation on an e-commerce blog,” or “Infographics for a tech blog.” Such short descriptions only confuse the resources.
Use verb forms instead, such as “Joe will create the slideshows and Kelly will present them to the client,” or “Sam will design the infographics and Jessy will upload them to the blog”.
Such items in a to-do list make the tasks more motivating and actionable. Additionally, collaborators will find your task boards or reports more meaningful if you use verbs instead of random nouns to describe the tasks.
2. Clarify by Capturing Details
Capture and Clarify are the two most important terms of the GTD system that drive productivity. Therefore, you need to include these in your action items. At the same time, your action items should be clear and concise.
For example, “Social media graphics” design doesn’t provide minimal insight into the task. But, if you mention “Client promotion through social media graphics for Instagram,” it gives a lot of details that your graphic designer can use to begin the work.
OneNote is a powerful note-taking app that you can use to write down clear and short action notes. You can further use a bulleted list to break up the action item into smaller tasks. You can also insert elements like a table, image, audio, website link, etc., to leave suggestions for your graphic designer.
3. Simplify a Large Task Into Action Items
It’s better if you write action items that are not divisible into any smaller tasks. When you break up a big task into small action items, you make the task more flexible. Multiple resources from your team can take up one small task and complete them within a short time span.
This distributed task completion enables you to quickly complete a big or complex task without burdening one team member. Let’s say you want to pitch a blogging website project to your client. Your action items could be something similar to the following:
- Joe prepares a video presentation.
- Kelly creates a demo of the website.
- Sam schedules the pitch with the client.
- Jessy presents the pitch to the client.
Notable is a markdown-based note-taking app that you can use to create and share action item lists. It also offers effortless note-taking and collaboration features like tagging team members, linking to other notes, import notes from other apps, etc.
4. Set a Due Date
The terms like due dates and deadlines are the most effective force that drives anyone towards task completion. Therefore, whenever you add an action item to your team’s daily to-do list, make sure that you’re assigning a due date for that task.
ClickUp is a comprehensive tasks and project management tool that implement the action items concept automatically. You’ll find many professional project management templates in this app. With a few clicks, you can personalize any of these templates to suit your project.
5. Keep Action Items in Multiple Lists
Action items are the most granular form of any project. Segregate the action items into multiple lists under one project.
For example, a website development project requires different skills like web development, graphic designing, animations, creative writing, and server hosting. So, you can create five distinct lists of action items depending on the required skills.
TickTick is an online note-taking app that you can use to outline your action items for one project in multiple lists. The app supports unlimited subtask creations. Therefore, it’s easier for you to create a hierarchy of tasks under one project.
6. Daily or Weekly Review
To ensure that the action items are serving towards the goal of efficient and quick processing of tasks, you need to review the to-do lists. Depending on the length of the project, you can follow daily or weekly reviews.
The review process will help you in perfecting the to-do list by incorporating comments and feedback from team members, collaborators, and clients.
Todoist is an ideal to-do list management tool with smart views like boards and tasks. It particularly helps in reviewing all the action items under one project. You can effortlessly tweak the action items as necessary.
Make the Most of Your To-Do Lists
You can make more actionable to-do lists if you implement the above strategies in creating to-do list action items. Whenever you assign such tasks to your team members, they can easily understand the task, deadline, and objective.
Moreover, action items help you break up a big and complex project into smaller, more manageable tasks. It enables you to get things done effortlessly.
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September 18, 2021 at 01:37PM