Below are the 2 most important theories of simple task management:

1. Grade urgent and important: Efficiency is also a result of doing the right thing at the right time. One easy way of doing that is to make an urgent and important (U& I) grid in your individual task list, or to assign it to the list.

Each task should have an urgent and important rating given to it. The ratings should be reviewed regularly, if not daily. The U& I grid gives a clear view of the tasks that should be finished on a priority basis. Most people would assign the priority as given below:

  1. Urgent and Important (U-I)

  2. Urgent but Not Important (U-NI)

  3. Not Urgent but Important (NU-I)

  4. Not Urgent and Not Important (NU-NI)

If a task which is marked ‘Not Urgent but Important’ is pushed aside for a long time, it will automatically become ‘Urgent’ as time passes and come up as ‘Priority’.

Ideally, one would question why a ‘Not Urgent and Not Important’ task is in the task list, in the first place.

2. Need to have and nice to have: How well you do is the result of how many tasks you do which really matter. Another theory that helps in good task management is to do more things that are needed and fewer things that are nice. A great company is built not by doing nice things, but by doing things that are needed.

Every individual and company has limited bandwidth, time and resources and, hence, they should be put into doing things that are needed. Every project and task should have a ‘need’ rating and a ‘nice’ rating. With many people involved in a company, a project and a task, it becomes difficult to decide what is actually needed to build a great company and what is merely nice to have when building an organization. A lot of nice tasks also come in because of the corporate structure and because people want to keep themselves busy.

To put it differently, one should do things that matter and do them well. The rest of the time, one should sit back and prepare oneself to do the next set of things that matter.

A ‘need’ and a ‘nice’ rating would be useful in project tasks or in tasks when you are building something. This is also a good theory to have in product development. We often end up adding a lot of features to our product and service which are nice to have. There is nothing wrong in doing that as long as we have taken care of the features that we need to have, since both use the same resources. It is always more productive and beneficial to do things which are actually needed and which actually matter.

The University Canada West, one of the best universities in Canada, is the best source to learn different types of task management skills.