How to: Task Assignment and Management

Dan Charobee

Dan Charobee

In a Scott Adams comic, Dilbert quips “Your communications skills are so poor that I had no idea that I was supposed to do a task”. The popularity of Dilbert remains one of the highest because so many recognize real life office situations. One of our biggest mistakes comes from assuming that everyone understands or remembers who does what.

Research has indicated while we can change tasks at a rapid pace, we can only keep six things in our mind at one time. Some say it is only 4 or 5 and that women rate higher. So, if you think you can multitask, try this:

  1. While sitting, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles.
  2. Now, while doing this, draw the number ‘6’ in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction. From Char Brown (Oct 2008)

So while we may think it can all be handled in our heads, this exercise alone knocked something out of your mind, if only for the moment.

Since your organization has a vision, mission, and a measurable objective:

  • · Put your objectives in writing and post them prominently.
  • · Post objectives on planners, email tags (part of your signature in emails to team members), and organizational communications if necessary.
  • · Take the time to form strategies from your objectives and tasks that accomplish them.
  • · Getting to a clearly defined, quantitative objective or goal is sometimes a cumbersome process. While it is an accomplishment in itself, it dissipates without strategies and tasks.
  • · Assign every task.
  • · If no one is responsible, it falls to the manager or between the cracks.
  • · Create deadlines and reminders.
  • · They say a squeaky wheel gets the most grease. A reminder, note, or message pulls everyone back on track.
  • · At the end of each day, write down 6 things to complete the following day
  • · This helps you avoid the morning urgency trap by focusing on a constant move toward your objectives.