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A Better To-Do List, According to a Scrum Master
The personal task board helps you see how your actions move you toward your goals.
There’s one problem that no to-do list, in any form, can solve: they don’t show you the bigger picture.
Day after day, you’re simply pushing around individual actions without seeing the “why” behind them.
That’s where the task board comes in.
It’s a visual snapshot that allows everyone to see and analyze the workflow.
Here’s how to make your own:
#1 Gather your supplies
You’ll need a display board. A whiteboard works here, but you can just use a big piece of paper if that’s what you have handy.
And you’ll need sticky notes in several different colors.
#2 Make your columns
On your board, create six columns: goals, to-do, this month, this week, today, done.
It should look something like this:
#3 In the first column, write out your goals
These should be key personal projects that you want to work on.
What projects will allow you to be successful (however you define it) and happy?
Rank them from most to least important.
This will help later on, when time is limited and you have to choose how to spend it.
#4 Identify the actions needed to achieve each goal
Write each action on a separate sticky note in the color that’s chosen for the specific goal.
One of the key ingredients of successful planning and execution is to make your actions as concrete as possible.
Use the format “verb + noun” to define actionable tasks. For example: “write newsletter” or “send proposal.”
Ideally, each action should be something you can complete in one day.
If not, break it down in smaller actions.
#5 Move your actions around
Decide whether your actions should be completed this month, this week, or today.
Be realistic about what you can achieve.
Don’t overload yourself.
Even one action per goal in your “Today” column can be enough.
#6 Schedule your actions
Put today’s actions in time slots on your calendar.
When you complete an action, move it to the “done” column.
Celebrate the achievement.
#7 Constantly check your progress
Create daily, weekly, and monthly routines to review your task board and move actions around.
Can one of your “this week” actions be moved to “today”?
Apart from just planning and executing your actions, it’s also important to take a step back and evaluate how you are actually doing.
Are you satisfied with your current progress toward your goals?
Experiment with different systems and keep looking for new ways to improve.