A New Way to Prioritise Your Tasks

Urgency and Importance

22/07/14 Editors Note: After publishing this blog, you let your voice be heard and told us that you would like to see ‘Effort’ stay. As a result, we’re pleased to announce that this attribute will no longer be removed!  Your opinions, suggestions and needs mean a lot to us, and therefore our new ‘Urgency’ and ‘Importance’ attributes will be joining ‘Effort’ and ‘Status’ in the very near future!

Ever found yourself wondering how to determine your next course of action? Well last week we were thrilled to introduce you to our latest feature addition, Task Dependencies – designed to help you define the order in which a series of related tasks should be actioned. But now, we’d like to give you a little sneak peek into yet another enhancement which will greatly impact your decision-making process and make your completed tasks really count…


New Task Attributes

In a couple of weeks we’ll be transforming our existing ‘Priority’ and ‘Effort’ attributes into Urgency and Importance – loosely based upon an established decision-making principle that originates from Dwight D. Eisenhower; a former president of the United States.

Our new task attributes will work hand in hand to deliver a much better solution for prioritisation, and will ensure that the tasks you complete are really the ones that matter the most.

(And don’t worry, you won’t be losing any of the existing values you’ve already set for priority and effort – they’ll simply be represented by urgency and importance but with an extra 2 values to choose from, as per your request.)


      Understanding ‘Urgency’

You’ll soon be able to set the level of urgency for Urgencyeach of your tasks using 5 values.

These options will help determine which of your tasks require immediate attention, and each of the various urgency levels will still be visually represented using the colourful ‘Priority’ labels that you’re already used to.


                                                 Understanding ‘Importance’

Importance

The importance of a task should be determined by long-term goals and the overall significance of completing the action.

Selecting the various levels of importance will cause your task circle to either shrink down or expand, thus helping you identify important tasks with a single glance.


Applying the Principle

Once the urgency and importance for a selection of tasks has been applied, your next course of action should be easier to determine. In most cases, very urgent and very important tasks will be the ones which require immediate action, as they are the ones which will hold the most impact.  An example of something very urgent and very important could be a task to renew your passport – as the completion of this task is not only time significant (assuming you’re jetting off within days), but also a task that holds significance and fulfils a long-term goal.

But you may often have tasks which have low importance but high urgency – like buying stamps or replacing a light bulb, and then there are the tasks which have high importance but low priority – like reading a particular book or going travelling.

No matter which category your task falls into, you should ultimately find that by using this Eisenhower-inspired principle you’re gaining full control over prioritisation and opening up the possibility of completing your tasks in a way that will give you a greater sense of achievement.  We can also reveal that these new values are part of an upcoming bigger development that the team are currently working on with regards to data visualisation, but further details regarding this will be released in the coming months.

What do you think about these upcoming changes? Give us your thoughts below! 

22 thoughts on “A New Way to Prioritise Your Tasks

  1. JC

    Hi,

    I think that without the typical visual “Eisenhower grid”:

    1. important and urgent
    2. important but not urgent
    3. urgent but not important
    4. not urgent and not important

    the added value will be limited.

    If you could create an new “Eisenhower” view in droptask and manage that the drops are displayed there as indicated above on a typical Eisenhower grid this would be very helpful!

    Since Droptask is a very visual SW you should add this new “Eisenhower” grid view when you implement this feature.

    Best regards,
    JC

  2. Christopher

    I like JC’s idea of the quadrant grid. Seems much more helpful for that type of classification – then you do not need to hunt through all of your task for the Quad1 tasks, etc.

    Also, I do not like the idea of losing the ‘Effort’ classification. ‘Urgency’ and ‘Importance’ do not tell me how much work is involved to complete a task. Sometimes it is helpful to identify the quick hits – especially with the new dependency functionality (which is great!). If I have a couple of quick hits that can get cleared up so others can move on to the dependent tasks that is helpful to know. Without this you minimize the benefit of collaboration that Droptask offers as someone else may be waiting on me to finish a task that is NOT urgent to me when I could knock it off very quickly for them to be released to start on a task that is more urgent to them.

    Thanks for soliciting feedback!
    Christopher

  3. JC

    Hello Christopher,

    “quadrant grid” I was missing this term. Thanks!

    I agree with Christopher concerning the effort. If you replace the “effort” size function with “importance” then at least we will need some other visualisation to show wheter more or less work is involved in a (drop)task.

    Your feedback on our feedback would be very appreciated.

    JC

  4. mmar

    Hi there,

    I strongly feel that the switch to “urgency” and “importance” would not be beneficial, but rather distracting. My perception is that DropTask being a visual tool, the categorizations should be as visually intuitive as possible. “Size” correlating to “Effort” feels most intuitive to me. And prioritizing to “high” and “very high” if necessary, for whichever reason (i.e. due to importance and/or urgency) is enough. And urgency can be managed via due dates.

    The “eisenhower grid view” idea sounds more helpful to me, but would still be a feature that adds potentially unnecessary complexity to the tool.

    The best way from my perspective to enhance DropTask would be to extend the Dependencies feature to a “Next action” filter, simply hiding all tasks that are dependent on the completion of a task that is not done yet.

    cheers, – M.

  5. Daniel Apostolov

    A brilliant approach. The circle-size-as-effort indication bares no value to me whatsoever. I’m sure your new idea will need to pass the proof of time first, but I’m glad I’ll be able to test it 🙂

    You’re on the right track, guys. Your software is amazing in it’s user friendliness. It’s the first project management software I’ve ever used that actually adds value to the whole project management process without adding also a new level of complication to it.

  6. Yogita Post author

    A big thank you for the feedback! We do currently have an exciting data visualisation feature in the pipeline, which will have a direct link to these new values. These changes are very much part of something ‘bigger’, and we can’t wait to tell you more about it in the near future…Watch this space!

    We also understand that by removing the ‘effort’ attribute you may lose the ability to identify the ‘quick hits’, but don’t worry – a more substantial and effective solution for determining the duration that a task will take to complete is something we plan to review.

  7. Robyn

    I agree that I do not want to lose the effort categorization. I chose to use Drop Task specifically because it allowed me to quickly see the tasks that required less or more effort! If you can keep that as well, I’m happy with the changes.

  8. Julie

    I just found droptask and I was so happy to see the effort classification and was all ready to go Pro. Now that I see it is going away I am seriously reconsidering.

  9. Jeff Lush

    Great additions to DropTask, Thank you. A huge challenge with task management is time allocation to complete the task within a daily schedule. PHASE 1: It would be great to somehow tally up the total estimated time to complete a task, and then run a daily total, so that when you are adding/rescheduling tasks you can see if you are over-scheduling for a specific day. PHASE 2: Integration with Google Calendar to see your scheduled appointments and how the tasks merge into your time for the day.

  10. Jeff Ireland

    I just started using this tool, and so far am thinking I might have found the right tool for me. I like the idea of classifying tasks by importance and urgency. But I also agree with others that having a visual representation of the effort is helpful–and using the size of a bubble is a very intuitive way to show the relative size of a task. I wonder if importance could be indicated using some other kind of icon badge, and effort could keep the bubble size?
    In summary, having all 3 would be nice: Urgency, Importance, Effort

  11. joe

    would be really great if i could email or text tasks into a general folder (or specific folder) to be organized and prioritized in the future. Also search is essential. hard to remember where certain tasks are located or if tasks are in are in multiple projects

  12. Christian Ravera

    I have been creating a weekly urgency/importance 2-by-2/quadrant grid by hand. Now that importance and urgency data is in DropTask, it would be ideal if DropTask were to create the chart for me.

  13. Christian Ravera

    A visual quadrant grid should be able to “average out” the importance and urgencies of tasks within a Project folder, or allow you to set the overall values for the folder manually. That way, a quadrant grid could either be displayed by-task (for greater detail to decide what to do next) or by-project (for a birds-eye view I could actually show my manager).

  14. John Landis

    I agree that the “effort” criteria should remain. It often determines what can be done in the time available. I also would love to see the quadrant set up as a usable tool. I have taught it for years. (never knew it was an Eisenhower invention) It may be that there circles need to be encapsulated within the quadrants. Keep up the good work. I am not an avid user yet but I am learning how to use DROPTASK and it is growing on me. The addition of the urgency/important grid would put me firmly as a user.

  15. Yogita Post author

    Your feedback and support has always been of the utmost importance to us, and therefore we’re very happy to announce that the existing ‘Effort’ attribute will no longer be removed!

    Keep an eye out for the new ‘Urgency’ and ‘Importance’ attributes which will be coming soon, and will accompany the existing option to resize your tasks according to effort that’s required to complete them. Thanks again for all the support!

    – The DropTask Team

  16. Saleh

    The concept of Effort is fundamental in any serious tasks app. I totally disagree with removing Effort. Effort and Importance are not interchangeable.

    From a product management perspective, taking features away is rarely a smart move because a lot of users might have joined simply for certain features and when you take it away you could be taking away reasons they joined in the first place.

    Add features but always keep existing ones accessible.

  17. Martin

    great. I was waiting for the “urgency and importance” thing and just wanted to suggest it.

    An Eisenhower-grit would be perfect…

Comments are closed.