When time management takes too much time

Mike Gunderloy has a great post on Web Worker Daily today entitled, “Why Time Management?” He makes a great point:

It’s easy to get so distracted by all the neat management ideas and systems coming along that you spend all your time setting up and managing systems.

I’m attracted to the shiny shiny. I admit it. That got me my job on Web Worker Daily and that job more than feeds my addiction. While I’ll play with a new task management system for a while and marvel in its bells & whistles, I’ve found in the long run that simplicity wins. Despite the fact that I’ve reviewed and played with more task management systems than I can possibly count, the one that I use day in and day out is Toodledo.

I’ve whittled down the settings so when I log in to the page this is all I see to enter a task:


Task, folder, due date, repeat. That’s all I need. The software has many more features, but I found that the time I was taking to manage those features wasn’t paying me back in increased productivity. I like Toodledo over basic list managers because everything appears on a single page. I can access my list using my phone, email tasks into the list, have the task list emailed to me every morning, have the task list appear on my Google start page and add tasks via a Firefox plug-in. All with very little clicking or effort.

In other words, it’s in my face enough to continually remind me what needs to be done, but simple enough that it quickly gets out of my way.

For C3, we’re getting a great deal of use out of Basecamp for project management…setting milestones, check lists, and dealing with the files that accumulate as we’re working through a project.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Basecamp over the years. Now I’ve found peace. Is it the most robust project management application out there? No. Not even close. It doesn’t do more than it does, and for some of what it does it works in a very rigid way. But what I used to curse about Basecamp is now what I embrace. When I add a new user to a project, I’m not spending all my time changing settings and futzing with buttons and dials and explaining to our non-tech geeks how to do stuff. They get it immediately, and it doesn’t require a huge departure from the workflow they’re already used to. They’re actively using the application and we’re generally on time with all our projects.

It’s one thing to review something interesting for a blog site. But when I’m looking at tools that I’ll actually use in my own personal and professional life, I’ve learned to make sure the new shiny shiny is truly an answer to “My problem is…” in the most simple and straight-forward way, and not just about “Wouldn’t it be cool if…”


2 responses to “When time management takes too much time”

  1. I heard about basecamp recently and wrote it down I haven’t had a chance to check it out yet.

    Do you think it’s a good management tool?

  2. It has its strengths and weaknesses. How “good” Basecamp is for you really depends on your team and the type of projects you do. If you don’t accept the tool’s mindset, you can get very frustrated by it easily.