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Mac at Work by David Sparks

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Chapter 9

Task Management

I am a believer in keeping task lists. I would like to say this arises from some inherent sense of order and organization. In truth, however, it arises from my realization that I am scatterbrained and often have the attention span of a goldfish. As a result, if I cannot do something immediately, I write it down. Dumping tasks into a list is liberating. When my tasks are on a list, I don’t forget them. When I was a student, I had a really simple task-management system. Every morning I’d eat my cereal and write on a napkin the three things I needed to accomplish that day and then put it in my pocket. It worked brilliantly.

Today my responsibilities have expanded, exponentially. I have personal and professional commitments that affect many people. At any time, I have many plates in the air and if any of them crash to the ground, it is a problem. As I write this sentence, I have 1,713 tasks stored in 257 projects. Although this sounds completely insane, I have it under control thanks to the tools I cover in this chapter.

This chapter gets into the nitty-gritty of the best available tools for task management on the Mac. The focus is managing your tasks; managing your team is covered in Chapter 17.

Task-Management Fundamentals

Before diving in, let’s cover some fundamentals of how a task-management system should work. There are four pieces to serious task management: capture, organize, process, and review. Putting these ideas in perspective will help later ...

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