Andrew's company uses standard office software, but he prefers EPIM's tasks and notes because they are consolidated in one program, easy to cross-reference, and he can export notes as Word documents when he needs to collaborate.

He uses the corporate calendar and email to engage with his colleagues, and EssentialPIM to document and track his activity. However, Andrew's workload has grown and he needs help managing his work. He wants to know how EPIM can help.

EssentialPIM is not project management software, but it does have helpful tools.

Approach work differently

To start, Andrew reviewed guidelines about task management and quickly learned he would have to develop a new mindset. He was accustomed to creating tasks in EPIM for work done, which sufficed for tracking time.

However, managing tasks requires forethought, and he would have to begin creating tasks beforehand and deliberate about their importance and timing. Rather than plowing through a day, recording tasks along the way, managing his work would require scheduling it.

His company uses JIRA to manage projects, so Andrew aligned his tasks accordingly (Figure 1). This would facilitate reporting his progress during status meetings and recording his time weekly in the company's tracking system. It also gave him a structure to practice scheduling his work.

Tasks structure in EPIM
Figure 1. Tasks structured in EPIM to align with a company's method of project management.

Create a schedule

With the structure in place, Andrew started a new practice each morning: planning his day. He considered meetings as the anchor of his schedule and created a task for each with its start and end times.

To see the day's schedule, he selected the Group By function and checked both Start Date and Detailed, then sorted by start date (Figure 2). Tasks ordered this way helped him see blocks of time to concentrate on his planned activity and then fill in the unplanned requests and housekeeping that pop up daily.

As he grew comfortable with this new practice, Andrew realized it reduced "context switching" and lessened his frustration of feeling unproductive. Without this schedule, emails and Slack messages had constantly interrupted, leaving him feeling like a ping-pong ball at the end of the day. Some days he had recorded 17 tasks where he dedicated enough time to track them. He was not surprised by the statistic that a person wastes almost 22 hours a week switching between tasks.

A detailed grouping of tasks
Figure 2. A detailed grouping of tasks and sorting them by start date visualize the day's schedule.

Custom views bring work to the foreground

Andrew learned that EPIM's customized filters were another tool to help manage work. He prepared a template to monitor his To-do list (Figures 3 and 4). To create this template, Andrew:

  1. Set the filter for the Tags column to display only tasks tagged as ToDo.
  2. Set the filter for Due Time to only those for the current month.
  3. Click in the Template window, choose to Save As Template, and name it "ToDo this month".
  4. Pin the Customized view bar to keep it visible.

With two clicks—one on the template window and a second on the template—Andrew can access his current To-dos.

Sample templates for tasks views
Figure 3. Sample templates for views with customized filters.

Example of a customized tasks view
Figure 4. Example of a customized view.

More to come

Priority can also be assigned—EPIM has seven levels (Figure 5)—but Andrew hasn't incorporated this feature yet. He is still adjusting to the mindset of managing versus recording tasks, and expects to explore EssentialPIM for other ways to help.

Seven priorities in EssentialPIM
Figure 5. EPIM offers a range of seven priorities.

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