First of all, let’s define tasks. A task is an activity that you need to complete or that someone needs to complete for you. It can be a discrete, standalone activity or can form part of a larger group of activities. Little tasks, big tasks — you get your work done every day by completing a lot of both.
Within the context of WORKetc, tasks are items that you would set for yourself or another employee to complete. An example of a task in WORKetc would be something like a “Call for Followup” task attached to a new lead.
You’ll most likely be familiar with tasks in the context of the projects module. A project is usually made up of a bunch of tasks; completing these will fill up the project’s progress bar, bringing you ever closer to completion.
Since any item or object — a contact, a lead, a project, a support case, a timesheet, a discussion, a note, or a task — can be attached to anything else in WORKetc, however, tasks can also be used to great effect outside of the projects module. Here’s how.
Tasks and Reminders
Let’s say you’re working on a sales lead for Acme Marketing. You’ve already made initial contact and need to send them an email brief in a couple of days to seal the deal.
You can easily create a task — let’s name it “Send email brief” — and attach it to the lead you’re working on.
You can leave it at that as the “Send Email Brief” task will show up on the lead’s activity stream, letting you create and save a custom filter for it so you can check which tasks need to be completed with a single click.
To make doubly sure that you don’t lose track of it you can also set a reminder for that task. Setting a reminder will tell WORKetc to send you an email on the date and time you specify.
In our “Send Email Brief” task example, the task is dated for March 1, 2016, at 2 PM. The screenshot above shows that we created a reminder for 10 minutes before the task will begin, so WORKetc will automatically send you an email reminder on March 1, 2016, at 1:50 PM.
Tasks and reminders by themselves will already be a big help in keeping track of activities that need to be completed on your end. You can also assign these tasks to somebody else on your team; if you add a reminder, whoever you assigned the task to will get the reminder instead of you.
The Gmail Plugin
With the help of the WORKetc Gmail plugin, you can turn even entire emails into tasks. Once you install the plugin, every single email in your inbox will have a “Create new” dropdown that lets you turn it into any object in WORKetc.
For our purposes, the “Task” option is the most important. Creating a new WORKetc task in Gmail works the same as when you’re creating a task within the system — and you don’t even have to leave your inbox to do it. From within Gmail, you can set a reminder, attach it to another object, assign it to someone else, and more.
The one difference is that you can import and attach the email to your task. This works very well when you receive, for example, a project update or new lead that you don’t want to lose sight of. By importing and attaching the email to the task you’re creating, you can make sure that you have the info that you need to complete it.
Tracking your Tasks
So now that you have a whole bunch of tasks, how do you keep track of all of them? In WORKetc, there are three ways of doing this.
First, you can add a Task List widget to your dashboard via the “Add a widget” dropdown on the right side of the main WORKetc dashboard.
Think of it as your daily checklist. This widget contains all of your tasks, no matter the object or item to which they’re attached. If you have one task each for a project, sales lead, and support case all set for today, for example, all three will show up in the widget.
The widget box is resizable, but it still has a slight limit on the amount of information you can view at a glance. If you want a more in-depth view, you can use your Task list, which can be accessed via Work > Task List.
The Task List is an expanded view of the Tasks List widget. Here, you can set and save filters for specific tasks, such as those attached only to support cases or leads, for example.
Saved filters let you quickly view different types of filtered data that effectively let you see what you need to see specifically at that time.
You can, for example, save a filter on a specific project that lets you quickly view what tasks other team members are working on. You can also save a filter for future tasks, letting you quickly see what your team’s workload would be for the following days or weeks.
This way you can drill down and see only the tasks you need to see right now instead of wading through an uncategorized list.
Finally, you can also create smartlists for specific tasks then bookmark them so they’re always just a click away from any page in WORKetc.
Smartlists are saved searches that allow you to quickly see a list of items that fit a certain set of criteria through all of your data, giving you quick insights into your work, on demand.
Smartlists have extensive filtering options that pull information from all of the data within WORKetc. This makes them more powerful than saved filters, which filter only the data in the page on which they’re created.
Let’s say your company designs websites. You categorize projects according to priority level — design jobs that fall on the easy end of the spectrum and can be completed fast are marked as “Low Priority” while more extensive design jobs that require more time and work are marked as “High Priority”.
To keep your design queue manageable, you want all “High Priority” jobs to steadily progress by at least 10% every day. You want to always stay on top of all currently active WORKetc tasks that have the “Website Design” tag, are marked as “High Priority”, and have not yet progressed beyond 10% completion.
To do that, you just create a smartlist that filters for all tasks that fit the following criteria:
- have the “Website Design” tag
- marked as “High Priority”
- have not yet progressed past 10% completion
With your smartlist all set up, you can now see which high priority client projects you should work on for today. You can quickly access the smartlist you created by bookmarking it via the Bookmarks tab on the right side of your WORKetc screen. By bookmarking the smartlist, you can access it in one click from any page in WORKetc.
If you happen to bookmark a new page, item, or smartlist, you can drag and drop the bookmarks to rearrange them as you see fit. You can keep the smartlist on the top of your bookmarks list.
Bonus Tip Use Custom Processes
Our product specialist Laurie touched on this subject in our recent QuickStart article. You can create multiple custom project and sales processes for projects and leads, respectively, that let you see at a glance what the next steps would be.
For example, a digital marketing company’s leads process could go something like this:
- New lead
- Attempting Contact
- Potential Prospect
- Demo / Presentation
- Contracts Out
- Signed Contracts
- Client Acquired
Whenever you’re working on a lead, as soon as you see the current stage is “Potential Prospect”, for example, you’ll know immediately that while you’ve already made contact, you have yet to give them a demo or presentation to lock them in.
It’s the same thing with projects. Let’s say your design firm uses a project process that goes “Initial Presentation”, “Website Design and Build”, and “Presentation and Approval”. If you see that one of your website design projects is currently at the “Website Design and Build” stage, you know that a presentation to the client is coming next.
The same idea applies to support cases, although instead of a custom process you would use custom statuses. Here’s a sample:
In case you’re wondering about the “Label” and “Portal Label” columns in the above image, check out our in-depth look at project types and stages and how they interact with the customer portal.
When you’re on the leads, projects, or support modules you can easily create and save filters for your processes. You can, for example, create a saved filter that will show you every lead that is on the “Potential Prospect” stage on the leads module. Similarly, you can create a saved filter so you can see all open support cases in the support module with a single click.
Using custom processes and statuses can be very helpful if you just want to stay on top of the things you have to do day to day without having to create numerous task items in WORKetc.