Chris A. Baird | July 17, 2023
The Right Task Management System For Self-Publishers!

Have you found the right task management system? Check out this task management system that works very well for self-publishers.

When you're getting started with self-publishing, you only have just a few things that you're probably working on, maybe just writing your book or something along those lines. But as things start to pick up, you realize there are an awful lot of different tasks you can be doing.

You're going to have editing and cover selection and typing the title and subtitle. You're going to be dealing with formatting issues. Once the book is finally published, you have to make a lot of decisions, including which platform and where you're going to do it.

Which book is going to come next? The ads, content marketing, and all of the different components can overwhelm you with all of the tasks very quickly. That is one of the reasons you need to be using a task management system to pull all of this together. That's what we're going to talk about in today's topic.

So, the thing is, finding the right task management system for self-publishers, that's what we're going to talk about. The problem you have is that you have too many tasks. You have all of these tasks, this huge flood of things that are in your head, and you're just taking a shower, and then comes another one, and then another one.

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"I could do this, I could do that." If you're listening to a lot of podcasts, reading a lot of books, and watching a lot of YouTube videos, you're going to come across a lot of information, and that information can overflow in your brain where you have just so many ideas.

Initially, it's exciting, but then it starts to wear on your motivation because you see so many things. Now, you know, of course, on this channel, I don't teach you to try to do all of these things but to focus on just the next task that you have and then outsource to take care of the additional load that we have that we're not able to do.

But where exactly do we keep this? Do we all manage it all in our heads? Well, that's a terrible idea. One of the major problems is we have a lack of prioritization. So, we have all of these tasks, but we're not completely sure.

What should we do next? And then, after that, we start a task, we stop in the middle, then we focus on another task. Can you see this gets tiring fast? The other thing is, by keeping everything in our heads, it forms what's known as an open loop. That is to say, where our brain keeps cycling back to this idea like, "I don't want to forget that," so we keep trying to remember it. Right?

Then you get another idea in your mind, okay? "I'm ready to do this," but guess what? Those previous open loops, also are cycling back and saying, "Don't forget me, don't forget me," and so your brain is unable to stay focused on one concept at a time. What do we do to solve this?

Well, one way to do it is just to write this stuff down, which is a great first task management system. Just write it out on a piece of paper. It doesn't even matter if you do anything, but just writing it down will at least get it out of your head.

So, you can focus on the exact task that you're working on. The second thing that I did after that was, well, put it on a calendar. Let's just put it on the calendar, and then each day, if we don't get something done, we just move it to the next day.

The problem that I discovered with this method is that you quickly have way too many things on your calendar, and each day means even more stuff, and it starts to build. Instead of the calendar being used for well-planned events at specific times, it's got six events for every half-hour slot, and this also overflows and leaves you feeling helpless.

Now, it's not as bad as actually having that stuff all in your head with these open loops. You've captured your thing. But in terms of the three main steps when dealing with task management, one is capture, the second is schedule or plan it out, and the third is execution.

That is where most people go wrong when it comes to a task management system, and that's one of the reasons why in today's article. I'm going to tell you about my favorite task management system, which is Todoist. 

Using Todoist for Free

But I'm going to go in-depth about exactly how and why I've been using this tool for many, many years. Well, one of the things is its user-friendly interface. It's a very simple tool. Some of the tools that are out there, which I'm not mentioning their names, but they're very complex, they're incredibly pricey, and you just get confused.

It's like you have to take a course to start using it. With Todoist, you can just start using it for absolutely free. And that's one reason why I would suggest just starting using it for free, and you'll see exactly why I like the tool so much.

Because you're going to be moving along in no time. By the end of just an hour of playing with the tool. You already put your things in there, you schedule them out, and you're already up and running. Now, it is way more powerful than that.

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The second thing is cross-platform availability. This is a tool that works on everything. It works on your watch if you have an Apple Watch. It'll work on your phone, Android, iPhone, or any of the main technologies. Your computer, your laptop, your tablets, whatever devices you're using, it's going to work on those devices.

So, it means that no matter where you go, you can just pull out that device and it will be synchronized with all of the others in the cloud. So, that is very powerful compared to some other ones where they do not have their apps.

The next one is task organization. It gives you the ability to create projects. You see, under each of the projects, you can then have your tasks. And then, in fact, even under each task, you can break it down into subtasks. 

So, it makes it easy to go that way. Or, you can build a Kanban board where you can have your ideas, you can have the things that you're doing, and the things that are done. So, you can do it like that and just drag it across.

That makes it easy to organize your tasks based on different projects that you're going to be doing within self-publishing. Perhaps you might have one dedicated to marketing, another one dedicated to learning, and a final one might be dedicated to creating new books, content, and these sorts of things, getting the books onto the market.

So, you can use it for all of these things. It will meet your needs, no matter whether they're huge and massively complex projects or very small. For me, even with a team, it made it very easy to work through and give those tasks out to the team members.

The next one is priority levels and due dates. You can establish, as I said, instead of having everything on the same day, you can spread it out over time and give it priority. These are my top priorities. And then, you review it once a week to see what exactly do I have that I'm planning for this week.

And then, you're able to see, "Well, these are the ones I want to get done this week. And these are the ones for next week. So, you're able to very easily schedule it and then move stuff out in time if you find you can't do it. This also means you can set recurring activities.

So, if it's recurring every single week or every day, you can do that. I use my daily checklist also on Todoist, as well as long-term recurring items like "Don't forget this birthday" or whatever else it might be. Because it's not just about self-publishing, it will work on all aspects of your private life, your day job, whatever it is that you have. 

You can have everything organized very easily inside this tool. It has reminders and notifications. You can make the thing give you a cling if you would like. So, when it's time for something you said, "Okay, at this time during this day, I want to do this." It'll cling to you, and you'll know, "I need to do this," almost like a calendar.

But it gives you a lot more flexibility. Calendars just don't have all these fancy aspects. Then comes the collaboration features, which I use with my family. For example, like a shopping list, you can just put a shopping list. 

Getting the Best Deal

You can assign certain tasks that different people will do or items they will buy. Everybody can be connected to the same thing, so they're able to see the same shopping list. We go into a store, and people are marking off items on the list. It disappears on my list, so we can be.

And this is an incredibly powerful tip when you have multiple people doing stuff or if you have virtual assistants like I do as well. We have lots of tasks. You're able to spread them out as people complete them. They just mark them as complete, and that very quickly gives you the ability to maintain control over all of those tasks.

Then you have productivity tracking. It will show you exactly how many tasks you completed today or tomorrow. That helps with the motivation side of things to see that you're on track, you're completing a lot of the different ones. The other is the integration with other tools like Google Calendar, along with a million other tools.

Check it out yourself to see how to do it, and all of the tools it's able to integrate with. I know for a lot of you, that may not be particularly relevant. For those of you where it is, you should check it out.

Many of the other tools that compete with them can't do this. Okay, then you have natural language input. You can type in just natural language and then say, "Remind me in three weeks to do..." and it will recognize it. It'll translate it over to three weeks in the future, Figure out what you're saying, and can do it, remind me.

"The fourth Thursday of every November," for example, and then it will just tell you that exact thing. Then you have flexibility and customization. There are all sorts of things you can do in terms of how you want the thing to look and feel and how many tasks you're focused on at a given time.

You can create all these filters and stuff where it'll show you only specific things. Like, for example, if I'm home, I might have my home stuff, and then that would tell me "home." In the car, I could do filters.

I would look at both of those things, you know, so it would be able to look at contexts if you're familiar with the "Get Things Done" method. It's able to completely implement all of these things, and this gives you a really powerful thing to control and organize your life a lot more effectively, to decrease stress, and to help you remember things.

And that's the biggest point of all of this. The benefits are: you have no stress from your tasks anymore. We're able to kill that right at the beginning. We're able to focus on top tasks and ignore the lower priority tasks, the "someday/maybe" tasks like they are in the "Get Things Done" system.

You can put them somewhere where they don't bug you. The same goes for your inbox. If you're getting lots of emails, you can move those emails. You can, in fact, even forward them directly to your Todoist projects. It's amazing, the power of this particular tool.

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You can schedule out the tasks that you don't complete, and when you do your weekly reviews, you're able to see what's happening, leaving you with a sense of control over all of the tasks. As a self-publisher, you need to focus on the most important ones, and you're able to keep them right on top of everything.

So you're able to take a close look. The best part of all is that it's very reasonably priced with a single yearly fee, and from there, you can get all of the benefits. But why trust me? You should check it out for yourself, and you can get it for free.

It doesn't even cost you anything to use it on the free version, where, of course, it doesn't have all of the bells and whistles, but it has enough to help you start getting into the swing of things. And I want to know how it works for you, so just go do yourself a favor and check out my other blogs and videos for more answers to your self-publishing questions. 

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