How to Track Tasks and Boost Your Productivity
- Effective task tracking is critical for service businesses to ensure that all work is completed on time, within budget, and to the customer's satisfaction.
- Service businesses can use one of the tools introduced and different techniques to track tasks, including task management software, checklists, and project management methodologies.
- By implementing a task tracking system, service businesses can improve their efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction, which can ultimately lead to increased profits and long-term success.
Where is that file I need to send to a customer, when was this project due, and wasn’t there a call with a prospect today? Questions that are hard to keep track of—unless you track tasks.
When it comes to task tracking, everyone seems to have their own method. Some are old school and write them down, others use reminders or the task tracking feature of their client portal solution. There’s an even better way: task tracking software.
Before I introduce you to a few task management tools, though, let me discuss why organizing tasks is so important.
Why you should track tasks and how
If you’re working in an agency where you have multiple tasks to fulfill, keeping track of them is not an easy task—no pun intended. Those who don’t have a system in place might be dealing with missed deadlines, upset customers, and a crumbling productivity.
Now to the question of how to track tasks without making everything more complicated. First, you should figure out if there’s a process in place at your company. Maybe everyone on your team uses the same tool to manage tasks, so you just need to learn to use it. If not, suggest a software you’d like everyone to use. Which tools specifically are worth a look will follow later.
Another thing to keep in mind is that modern project management software often has a built-in task manager. It might be very basic or very sophisticated. Depending on your needs, it could be just what you need, or it is missing crucial features.
What is a task tracker?
A task tracker is a special tool that allows you to keep an eye on tasks, may they be due shortly, or in the future. Essentially, it’s an evolution of the simple to-do list with quality of life improvements, such as the ability to assign tasks to people, set due dates, have recurring tasks, and even sub-tasks.
Grow your industry knowledge
If you’re thinking to use task management software, look out for features that you need to do your job. For instance, agencies that bill by the hour might need a time management and tracking feature, others only need to stay on top of their task due dates.
Best task management software
With so many task management solutions to choose from, which one is right for you? I’ve compiled a list with different task management apps so anyone can find one that works for them.
1. Service Provider Pro
Our own tool Service Provider Pro focuses heavily on order management. But some orders require multiple team members to work on them, which is why tasks come in handy.
Tasks are usually linked to a specific service, so you can set them up in the service settings, and upon order creation, they’ll be added automatically. If you don’t have the same set of tasks every time, you can also add individual tasks to the order manually.
The tasks feature in SPP.co supports HTML elements, so you can describe the task in detail and even link to specific resources, for instance to download a file.
Once a task has been completed, simply check the box in the order to mark it as complete. The progress bar will update, as well as the due date (if one existed in the first place). This is perfect for managers who can take a peak at open orders and track task progress easily.
Tasks cannot be assigned to individual users, however, that isn’t really necessary in most cases. As teams work in orders, multiple people can be assigned to an order. Once done with their work, they can unassign themselves.
Todoist is a popular free task management software (with optional paid plans containing more features). There’s a free trial for the Business plan if you don’t want to commit to that plan right away.
The free version might be enough for certain users who work on the same handful of projects and don’t need to collaborate with too many external people. The biggest limitation is the low file size limit and the fact that the activity history only goes back one week.
With that said, the paid plans include not only fewer limitations: they also allow you to set reminders, your tasks can be automatically backed up, and there’s a team inbox on the Business plan for those looking to share their tasks with colleagues.
A cool feature is the possibility to add tasks via email by forwarding them. Todoist also has a handy calendar that allows you to get an overview of upcoming tasks, so you can plan your week accordingly.
Hitask prides itself with a low learning curve, making it easy to use the app within minutes rather than hours. Everything you need for task planning is gathered in a single screen where you have a calendar, your tasks, your team members, and other important information available.
Compared to other tools, Hitask was designed with teams in mind. There’s a heavy focus on collaboration: delegate tasks, share your calendar, and even track how much time was spent on a specific task.
On top of that, events help you keep an eye on everything that is going on related to your project so you never miss an important update.
Those looking to work on the go can install the Hitask app for iOS or Android. Desktop users are able to download a macOS or Windows version.
MeisterTask relies on the popular Kanban view to organize tasks and projects. On the dashboard, all your activity is displayed so you can get a quick overview of what to prioritize.
Besides the dashboard, there are a few different sections that allow you to make the most use of this simple task management tool: Projects allow you to see what everyone is working on; Tasks gives you an overview of everything you need to work on; Agenda allows you to see your personal board and customize to your liking.
The core task management features are available in the free plan. However, you can only work on a few projects. Compared to Todoist, the file upload limit is more generous, and you can invite an unlimited amount of project members.
Recurring tasks are sadly not a feature on the free plan, so if you’re looking for it, you need to upgrade to the Pro plan at least. Limited to paid plans are also automations, private projects, multiple checklists, and the Agenda, among other things.
Tasklog is an app that covers all the needs a freelancer might have, from time tracking to managing their task list. While it has a more simple UI, the tool has been independently developed for years, so a lot of work has gone into making sure it does everything a freelancer needs when it comes to project and task management.
The tasks view in Tasklog gives you an overview of the current task progress. Everything is grouped by category to make it easier to prioritize tasks that are due soon, are a priority, or are recurring.
While there’s no free plan, you can get a 7-day trial to test all the features. Plus, compared to any other app mentioned, a lifetime license is available for those that don’t want to subscribe to yet another recurring service.
Resource management is important when you’re running an agency. This post has hopefully illustrated how to track project tasks and subtasks. I’ve also introduced you to the five best task management software tools so you can boost your productivity right away.
Next, read up on different methods on the topic of how to keep track of tasks.