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3 types of Tasks in Planning

There's not a one size fits planning systems because there are three distinct types of Tasks.

1. Sequential

2. Experiential

3. Repetitive

Each person will relate to these tasks differently. Each role will have a different balance. Understanding the different types of tasks in your life, in your roles, in your projects will enable you to plan more effectively with a well rounded approach. Identifying if you are more prone to focus on one of these sets of tasks and potentially neglect others will also hone in how using a planner (digital or paper), may help you focus more on all elements, allowing you to design your success between the pages (or on the screen). For example creating a blog post is generally triggered by something experiential, someone asks a question and then the process is sequential.

Cleaning a house has some of all three. Experiential items, such a child spills a glass of water, I need to clean it up. Sequential tasks such as doing the washing - Sort, then wash, then dry, then fold (to be fair my washing process also has a point before folding called - Age for a week in the washing basket, until my cleaning lady folds), then put away (or at least sit in a corner of the appropriate bedroom...). And a number of Repetitive tasks, like doing the dishes everyday, dusting, changing sheets and so forth.

What I've noticed is that many people are really good at accommodating in their planner for one or two of these tasks sets. Some people love trackers for the repetitive tasks. Others love Dailies for the experiential tasks. And others are great at writing lists and sequences for those that need to be done in order, but they may not be great when experiential things come to the part. Or vice versa, they love to "Wing It" taking care of those things that pop up, but planning repetitive tasks and sequential tasks sends them into a spin.

The simplest way to to identify the difference between the three types of tasks is to look at how we might read a book. The pages or sections represent the tasks in our projects.

Sequential Some books are read in order, you start at the beginning, you read from page 1 to page 367, in sequence, until complete. You may sneak a peak at the back page, however with this style of book we generally read pages in the order they are set out.

Experiential Some books, are create your own adventure stories, you start at page 1, and then you get to page 7 and are given a choice - If you want to walk into the dark forest turn to page 27 - If you want to run away and hide turn to page 83

The pages, or sections in these books are read with an order based on the next experience you wish to have.

Repetitive These tasks are much like the books on the bookshelf of a toddler. Filled with options, some are repeated daily (or hourly!!) some are read once or twice a week, some are read monthly, and some sit there for months waiting to be chosen, and it's only in desperation to be doing something different to what you wanted to be that you pull them off the shelf. The pages are read over and over again, generally to some kind of sequence (all be it decided by a toddler).

Our Tasks are much the same.

Sequential Projects that have action steps that need to be done in a set sequence. Experiential Projects that have actions that may be done out of sequence but still need everything to be completed Repetitive Projects that are ongoing and have many tasks repeated and a less clear end date. - Cleaning the house

Planning will most often require us to track and take action on a blend of the Action types. Which means we need to take these into consideration as we plan. Many people tend to look at all tasks in the same way, by bringing to life the differences we can plan accordingly giving us a better chance for success.

How we map out and engage with each type of task will vary. The first step is always to work out the types of tasks you need to plan around and then make a choice of how you will map progress.

Sequential tasks do better in a list or checklist style. Place each task on a list in order so you can identify easily where you are in the process.

Experiential tasks require a level of flexibility and adaptability. Start by making a list of Options for the project at hand, to achieve the outcome desired. Then on a daily or weekly basis place your NEXT task chosen from the list to complete in the time frame. Rinse and repeat.

Repetitive tasks do well with trackers. If using paper create a single list that has a set of boxes based on the time frame to tick off. If using a digital planning tool like Asana, create a single list, and make each task repeat once completed.

Based on the three task types, there are therefore a number of planning types. Choose your planning style based on the tasks. This will mean you might have some check lists in your planner, sorted by project or goal. You will probably have some trackers for the repetitive tasks. And the Experiential tasks will go on a weekly or daily focus list.

If you'd like to see more about how to plan all your tasks more efficiently and effectively, and get an opportunity to share what works for you please join us in the DailyFROG community. Click this link to get access:

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