Saturday, March 24, 2018

Micro Task Magic

Have you set yourself a goal then pushed yourself to follow through only to give up without achieving your goal?

The easiest way to achieve your goals is to break them down into smaller and smaller tasks until you are able to complete the small task with enthusiasm.

Popularity of Micro Tasks

Did you know there is such a thing as micro task crowd sourcing? This involves one micro task and lots of people.
I thought it was a brilliant idea that NASA had when it posted it's planet finding data online for thousands of people to sift through. A four planet star system was discovered in the data!
Read more here if you didn't see it on the news.
Micro-task crowdsourcing is rapidly gaining popularity among research communities and businesses as a means to leverage Human Computation in their daily operations. Source
I love how things are evolving around the internet all the time!

How I use Micro Tasks to keep me On Task

Now lets get back to one person and lots of micro tasks.

I have recently realised that I was going about my To Do list the wrong way for me. I would put a seemingly ordinary task like "work on the newsletter" in my to do list and I would fit it between say breakfast and morning tea.

I would finish breakfast at varying times depending on when I finished my exercise routine for that day. So, at no specific time I would check my to do list and see "newsletter". I would then sit down at the computer and start work on the newsletter. After no set time I would think that I had done enough and go to have morning tea or lunch, depending on the time.

This is so ineffective for getting things done.

My strategy now is to:

  1. Write down 2 or 3 sections of my newsletter that I am going to finish
  2. I block out 2 hrs from 10am to 12pm
  3. I start work and during the 2 hours I will start pacing myself faster to make sure I finish the sections I have listed.
  4. If I finish early I can choose to relax or do another small business related task to fill the time.
I have created a Task List Printable to help me organise my larger procedures. It takes a while to work out exactly what are the micro tasks involved in a bigger goal or project. 

For Example:

Say you want to get the kids out to the bus on time but you are always struggling to get everything done. You can put 
  • "Get the kids out to the bus on time and completing all the morning chores" in your goal box.
  • Then break it down into "getting dressed",  "having breakfast", "making lunches", "checking school bags".
  • Then each macro task can be broken down again. "put school clothes on the bedside chair the night before", "kids follow the bathroom checklist", "kids put all the school bag items on the floor next to the bag".
  • Then you do micro tasks for having breakfast etc.
So now when the kids get out of bed you can say, 'Have you got your school clothes on?', 'Have you done your bathroom routine?', 'Have you laid out the school bag for packing?'. 'Now come and get breakfast' or list whatever the micro tasks where for getting breakfast.

It Works!

Since setting that specific time to start work I have been much more relaxed around breakfast time because I am not always thinking that I have to start work after breakfast, "I better finish breakfast quicker".

Now I am sitting at breakfast around 9 or 9.30 thinking, 'How nice, I have time to finish my second cup of tea'.

As I am writing this blog post it is just 11.30am. I set myself the tasks of designing a micro task check list printable and writing this blog post for my 2hr shift. I feel confident that I will finish in time. I have already designed the printable.

I now have 5 mins left to load my printable into Google Drive and put links in this post.

(It took me another 15 mins because I also had to preview and edit the blog post.)

You can DOWNLOAD my handy Micro Task List now.


Happy Organising,
Val