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The Key to Unstoppable Productivity: Empty Your Task List Daily

by Greg Hamblin

on 16 October, 2015

Filevine is a truly unique creation. Not only does it sort and organize your data, but–and this is hugely important–it creates tasks for you and your team as you use it.

By keeping your in-office communication in Filevine, you reduce and prevent email bloat, you keep focused on one task at a time which prevents wasteful multitasking, and you create a task list which can help you prioritize.

You can read about just how destructive distractions and multitasking are in the white paper accessible below:

Read the white paper on distractions in law firms. Distractions make your firm inefficient. Here’s the truth about just how bad it is.

But what’s the best way to use your Feed and Task List? Let’s go through it.

Your Tasks List

Filevine’s tasks system is built with the phenomenal “Getting Things Done” method of productivity.  Here’s how it works:

Go through your task list item by item. For each task, ask yourself if the task can be done in under 2 minutes.  If it can, just do it immediately.

What if it takes more than 2 minutes?

If it takes more than 2 minutes, you have the option of delegating it to somebody else, or setting a specific time to do it using the “set date” button.  Don’t be afraid to move a task to tomorrow or next week if it’s not urgent. Go through your task list making assignments and moving tasks into a future date when appropriate, or leaving it alone to get done as soon as you have sorted your tasks.

Once you have gone through your task list this way, whatever tasks you have left are the ones you need to accomplish today. Once you’ve finished the urgent tasks for today, you can work on the things for tomorrow.

By examining every task each day and reaching for that goal of emptying your tasks list, you ensure that nothing gets dropped. You don’t miss any deadlines.

Finally, if your task list is empty, start looking through future dates’ tasks. What do you have coming up tomorrow? Next week?

Your Feed

The Feed is meant to give you an idea of everything going on in your organization. You’ll be able to see the work others are doing. The Feed should NOT be used as your tasks area, since it may not include every item assigned to you.

The Feed increases firm consciousness and lets people “jump in” when appropriate.  It can alert leaders to potential problems before they happen.

The best way to use the feed is to claim or delegate tasks on-the-fly.  Go through your feed list at least once a day and click the “got it” button on every item that you don’t need to worry about. This empties out your feed.  Remember, don’t click “COMPLETE” until a task is totally finished. If a task is not assigned to you, it’s probably better to not click the complete button at all.

One use teams have found for the Feed is to draw attention to a specific item. Because the Feed and Tasks screens are sorted by which items have been altered most recently, typing a comment will move it to the top of the tasks list for the person to whom it is assigned.

In other words, if you want a team member to notice a task that may have slipped off their radar, you can comment on that task to bring it to the top of their list.  (Many users simply type the word “bump” to bring it up to the top.)

Empty that task list

Set a goal to empty that task list every day. Keeping tasks organized in Filevine will transform it from a simple to-do list into a productivity tool you won’t be able to get along without.