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Time Planner 2013

""Information gathering is the basis of all other managerial work, which is why I choose to spend so much of my day doing it."

- Andy Grove

Have you understood your tasks ?

Task analysis

There are many different ways to classify tasks. These can give you insights into your own performance.

1. What are my common task outcomes ?

First identify how you typically deal with your daily tasks. These are your task outcomes. Examples of task outcomes are :

What tasks never get done ?
What tasks keep consistently getting postponed ?
What tasks almost always get done ?
What tasks take longer than you anticipated ?
How many new tasks do you do in a month ?
How many skill enhancing or learning tasks do you do ?
What type of tasks should you try to avoid ?

Go back to your daily tasks of the previous quarter and against each task – mark the outcome. Summarise the outcomes in the following section. You now have an overview of how you have tackled each task. Identify tasks which never get done, which keep getting postponed etc and try to understand what category of tasks they fall into.

For example, under the outcome “Tasks that rarely get done” – do you find that most are those which require writing and documentation ? Or meeting people ? Or that requires you to be proactive?

A task can fall into multiple categories - you need to identify the primary category which is relevant for you.

Do this every quarter as part of your performance review.

This analysis will give you an insight into which tasks come easily to you, which you have a natural aversion to, which tasks you should avoid and whether you are developing new skills.

As an example:


Task Categories

Skill based
a. Important versus urgent tasks
b. Tasks that use your skills versus tasks that don’t require your specific skills
c. Tasks with uncertain outcomes versus tasks with known outcomes
d. Tasks involving writing
e. Tasks involving organising and analysing data
f. Creative tasks
g. Thinking versus doing tasks
h. One off versus repetitive tasks
i. Tasks which require attention to detail versus tasks which look at general information
j. Tasks based on intuition versus tasks based on data

Attitude based
a. Challenging versus easy tasks
b. Pleasant versus unpleasant tasks
c. Your tasks versus someone else’s tasks
d. Proactive versus reactive tasks
e. People tasks versus self contained tasks
f. Tasks that offer learning opportunities
g. Tasks that can be completed quickly versus tasks that take a long time
h.Tasks with long term payoffs versus tasks with short term payoffs
i. Tasks which require physical activity versus sedentary tasks
j. Tasks viewed by chronology – the order in which they come to you

Management concepts

A summary of some of the 60 articles on key management concepts included in the planner.

7 common biases

Everyone has biases which they consciously or unconsciously use in their interactions. Being aware of the biases and hidden assumptions that influence your behaviour is useful.

Competencies of leaders

Leaders need to develop competencies across several areas. These include having vision yet being pragmatic, having high levels of self awareness, being able to select the right people for a job and being good listeners.

This article lists the 16 traits that good leaders must possess.

Conflict and cooperation

Conflict is likely to happen in any area where people work together. How you manage conflict is an important aspect of organizational behavior.

A tool which helps people become aware of their conflict management style is the Thomas – Kilmann Conflict Mode. This model looks at two aspects of human interaction :

a. How assertive you are.
b. How cooperative you are.