Before starting anything major in life, it is always a good idea to take a complete inventory of everything that you have on your plate right now. This exercise helps to make sure that you focus on the right things, and reduces anxiety that comes creeping to remind you that you are forgetting something.
Today I took two inventories: a virtual and a physical.
I started with the physical inventory, where I walked around the house with a pen and a set of index cards and noted everything that needed to be done on the cards. Each room got its own index card, and as I was scanning the room, I wrote down what needed to be fixed, organized and purchased.
For example, I wrote down that I wanted to hang up a glass whiteboard in the office, order an artwork that I could put in the two picture frames that I hang up the day before, and process my inbox where I accumulated all incoming paperwork that needed to be scanned and filed. I did this for each room. When I got back to my computer, I entered all the items from the index cards into Asana.
Task Management with Asana
Asana is a free online project management tool, and I have been using it on and off for a couple of years, as a task tracking tool. I prefer Asana over the more simple to-do managers like Remember the Milk, because it has the functionality of a full-blown project management software such as Jira, that I have used in several prior employments. Again, this is a personal preference, and I like the option to create projects, work with a team, and even track time using Harvest.
All my Asana tasks are categorized into projects, this helps to put the tasks into proper context and make the lists of tasks more manageable by filtering out tasks that are not related to a particular context. All my home organization tasks were transferred from index cards into an Asana project “Home & Family”.
As I mentioned before, I have been using Asana previously, so I started by going through existing tasks and updating them. As I reviewed the tasks, I would come with follow-up or related tasks; in this case, I would add those new tasks to the same project.
Currently, I have my tasks split into the following projects:
This project is used for daily administrative tasks, such as “call the bank”, or “book a doctor’s appointment”.
Home & Family
The “Home and Family” project is shared with my husband, and we use it to track all family-related activities, such as home renovations, vacation planning, etc.
Since I have several initiatives going on at the same time, I keep a separate Asana project for each of them. For example, I sell my photos on stock photo sites and have a project “Stock Photography” where I track upcoming photo shoots and activities related to that – for example, ordering props for the shoots.
Obviously, I created a dedicated Asana project for my new startup and added a few tasks to it. Even though I haven’t officially started working on my new business, I registered a domain name for the startup, and created accounts on all social media sites for the business name, to make sure that nobody else takes it.
The most annoying thing that could happen is that the username for your business is taken on one of the social sites. I am still not 100% sure of the choice of the business name, but it costs around $15 to register a domain name for a year, and the social profiles are free, so it’s a small investment that will give me a piece of mind.
Today I picked up all the existing tasks that were lingering in different places, hidden in the back of my brain, and put them all in one place. It felt great to get control of my life. I am not done yet, though. The next step will be to come up with a plan on how to get those projects to completion, and put it all on a timeline.