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One of the most important skills in a Project Manager’s pocket is organization. Being able to successfully manage and keep track of projects, tasks, and people are essential to succeeding in that type of position.

For Project Managers, it can be easier to carry over the tools and know-how for organizing their personal lives than it is for others. With that in mind, here are several tips and tricks from that trade that can help almost anyone manage, keep track, and organize parts of their own daily life.

Tackling Projects Using Tasks – One Bite at a Time

Tasks and to-dos 9 Best Apps For Managing To-Do Lists On Android 9 Best Apps For Managing To-Do Lists On Android If you need to keep track of what to do next, these Android apps could be a life saver. Read More are a huge part of any project. Whether it is for implementing a new piece of company software as a Project Manager or for landscaping the backyard as a home owner, each project should be broken down into tasks. Keep in mind the analogy of how to eat an elephant, which is, one bite at a time. Any project, large or small, can and should be broken down into a set of tasks.

Creating tasks is also important when there are dependencies. For the Project Manager, the task of installing the new software cannot take place until the purchase of the new application. In the same sense, the task of planting the new bushes cannot happen until they have been bought.

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So, whether you have a project like the example above for landscaping or something on a smaller scale like simply cleaning the house, list out the tasks first and keep in mind those dependencies. As you move through and complete each task, just mark it off the list. Your project will be completed in a very organized way, ensuring nothing is forgotten.

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Todoist, Wunderlist, Google Tasks, Remember the Milk, and Trello are some of the most popular tools for task, to-do, and personal project management Chrome To-Do List Showdown: Wunderlist, Google Tasks, and Todoist Chrome To-Do List Showdown: Wunderlist, Google Tasks, and Todoist Chrome has several extensions and apps that work directly with some of the most popular task managers. But, how well do they work and how easy are they to use? Read More .

Reminders Over Memory – Things Won’t Slip Your Mind

Some people have the most wonderful capability to remember anything and everything. However, this is not common for most. And often times, we can remember tasks for the office to be done in the morning more easily than recalling that we need to call the power company in the afternoon. Project Managers may use reminders for obtaining status updates, confirming deadlines, or creating status reports.

Outside the workplace, using reminders safeguards us from forgetting to do things, go places, make phone calls, or just about anything you can think of that needs to be done. Even if you happen to remember to make your car payment on the first of every month, having a recurring reminder set up on your mobile device or even jotting it down on the calendar for each month, almost guarantees it will never slip your mind. Because what if the day comes when it does?

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You can choose from plenty of tools for reminders. From apps on your mobile phone Put iPhone Reminders To Better Use With The Right Apps & Tips Put iPhone Reminders To Better Use With The Right Apps & Tips Adding reminders and calendar events to your iPhone should be a painless process – and it can be if you use the right time-saving apps and tricks. Read More and tablet, to desktop applications and browser extensions, to simple sticky notes and wall calendars. These days, mobile apps are probably the most popular method because they can sync across multiple platforms, pop up a notification right when you need it, and they cannot get lost or accidentally thrown away. You can also incorporate reminders into your task lists or use simple fun apps like MemoCool Plus.

Organizing the Team – Your Household Team

A big part of being a Project Manager is having to rally the troops How to Handle Difficult People as an IT Project Manager How to Handle Difficult People as an IT Project Manager A project manager needs to corral different people into a successful project team. There are some soft skills you can call upon to keep the project and team on track. Read More . Different pieces of a project and its tasks are usually performed by various people. Being able to get updates from team members, give them incentives at times, and doing it all respectfully are important to the project’s success. Unless you live alone, it is likely that you have your own team of household members who perform and are responsible for different chores.

Being able to keep everyone on track with their daily, weekly, or monthly chores and tasks can be accomplished in several different ways. You can post a whiteboard or chore chart on the refrigerator or wall, listing each person’s name and chores, which can be marked off as they are completed. Templates make it even easier 10 Amazingly Useful Spreadsheet Templates to Organize Your Life 10 Amazingly Useful Spreadsheet Templates to Organize Your Life Is your life a hotch-potch of missed deadlines, forgotten shopping and reneged commitments? Sounds like you need to get organized. Read More .

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Another method is to track your tasks and chores electronically. Many products let you assign tasks to other people. So, if your children are a little older or you live with several roommates, then sending chores to everyone on the list can provide them with helpful reminders to get things done.

No matter which method works well for your household, keeping everyone on track with chores and tasks means that your living space is more organized overall. And, if you have to poke or nudge someone to stay on task, just remember that you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.

Other Helpful Tips

Take advantage of lists so nothing is forgotten. Whether you use paper and pen or an app on your phone, making lists of items you need from the store, clothing you need to pack for a trip, or places you need to go on errand day, means you should not forget a thing.

Also, take your time when creating lists These 3 Types Of Lists Will Help You Be More Productive These 3 Types Of Lists Will Help You Be More Productive When it comes to being organized and productive, the to-do list is the ultimate tool. Three types of lists could give you all the power you need without complicating your planning too much. Read More and try to think of related items. If you are creating a packing list for your trip, for example, you may jot down “dress shoes”, which should then prompt you to write down “dress socks”. Or, for a grocery list you may want to buy steaks for the grill, which should then prompt you to pick up a side dish to go with them. Many task management tools, like those we mentioned above, can be used for these simple lists.

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Use email flags for easy spotting. If you receive an email from your school, notifying you of a deadline, one from your cousin about a birthday party, or a reminder notice from the phone company, mark these emails with a flag or star so that they stand out.

If your inbox is flooded with newsletters, personal emails, advertisements, and all those other messages you get, chances are that unflagged but important emails will be moved to the bottom of the list out of sight and thus, out of mind. Many email apps, like CloudMagic Email, and online clients thus offer built-in reminders for emails to pop back up again at a time you set How To Set Follow-ups & Reminders On Emails Without Installing Anything How To Set Follow-ups & Reminders On Emails Without Installing Anything Email and speed go hand in hand. So when you need to quickly schedule a message for later or send yourself a reminder to follow up on something, turn to these two simple services. Read More .

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Test and incorporate the tools that work for you. We listed some task list tools and reminder apps. Note that not every tool works well for every person or family. Just as different Project Managers have varying styles for performing their jobs, different people have varying opinions on which tools work for them.

Try out a few different task management tools before selecting the one you like.  Check out various household chore organizing methods to see which one works best for your family. One that you might check out that caters to households and includes projects, task assignment, reminders, and shopping lists is Cozi.

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Let’s Share Some Thoughts

If you are a Project Manager and would like to add to this list, feel free to include your suggestions below. Or, if you are just having trouble organizing some of the things discussed here and would like advice or help, post your question or dilemma in the comments.

Image Credit: Angry woman in a chaotic living room by wavebreakmedia via Shutterstock, SLBLAKE and TaOb62 via Shutterstock.com

  1. hildyblog
    November 10, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    A few points from a professional project manager (now retired).

    First, if you actually have a project with multiple dependencies, consider using a project management tool. Search for "open source project management" for low or no cost alternatives. Most are PC or web-centric and there will be a learning curve. On the other hand, they will allow you to create tasks that take a certain length of time and that start only when a previous task, or multiple tasks, are complete. Tasks can also be tracked by percentage complete so you can anticipate problems. That said, few people will actually need to track projects at this level.

    Second, lists and tasks are different and task oriented to do lists are not needed for shopping or packing. Google Keep is free and allows shared lists for such things as groceries. Checked items can be retained and unchecked, individually or en masse, for the next shopping trip or vacation packing.

    Third, remember that tasks don't have to be immediate. Put in yearly reminders (e.g. turn off the outside water so the pipes don't freeze). If you got a raincheck that expires in 90 days, put in an 85 day reminder when you get it. I've got an emissions inspection on my to do list (SplenDo) that will remind me in a year and a half that I need to get my car in that month.Your computer will remember even if you don't

    • Lynda
      November 11, 2015 at 5:42 pm

      Good tips, hildyblog! Thanks for sharing.

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