Micro-tasking (sub tasks)

Part
01
of seven
Part
01

Micro-tasking - Productivity

Micro-tasking increases productivity by keeping tasks manageable and specific, allowing room for feedback and adjustments when necessary, and keeping a person motivated to accomplish the overall task.

INCREASING PRODUCTIVITY WITH MICRO-TASKING

  • Becoming overwhelmed by large tasks is often the cited reason for procrastination. Seeing large, daunting tasks is one of the reasons people tend to avoid starting a project.
  • A solution to this predicament is by breaking down this large tasks into smaller, actionable steps that can be done relatively quickly. This helps the big project feel more manageable and makes it easier to keep track of the progress towards completion of the overall task.
  • This method also allows a person to stay focused on one task at a time and as they finish each component of the overall task, become more motivated to keep going.

WHY MICRO-TASKING IS EFFECTIVE IN INCREASING PRODUCTIVITY

  • Breaking down tasks is effective in increasing productivity because it makes large tasks become more approachable and doable. This reduces the tendency to procrastinate or defer tasks due to now knowing where to begin.
  • The average working memory capacity of a person is only 3 to 5 items, which means if one relies on memory when accomplishing a large task, the person will have to stop every step of the way to figure out what to do next. This creates more opportunities to get distracted, get off-track or miss a step. It is solved by micro-tasking because the task has been broken down into smaller ones, it is easier to keep track of them.
  • Research has shown that people become more productive when they have specific goals. Breaking down tasks into smaller ones allows a person to set more specific goals in accomplishing a task. This helps keep them motivated and moving in the right direction.
  • Breaking down a large task into smaller chunks allow for more chances to receive feedback and make adjustments when necessary. Studies have shown that feedback, both positive and negative, help make a person stay committed to a task. This means that taking a large task and breaking it down into smaller steps while getting feedback along the way is better than taking on the large task in one go and only receiving feedback after you have accomplished it.
  • Studies have shown that humans like progress and rewards, which is why most people feel satisfied when crossing off an item on their to-do list. By breaking down a task into smaller ones, there is more opportunity for this feeling of satisfaction as dopamine, a neurotransmitter connected to feelings of pleasure and motivation, is released by the brain every time a person accomplishes something. This motivates a person to become even more productive.
Part
02
of seven
Part
02

Micro-tasking - Sense of Reward

By setting small goals (or micro-tasking), each significant success has the potential to trigger dopamine spikes that are connected to the “brain’s reward system”.

SMALL GOALS

  • The setting of goals increases organizational commitment and employee motivation. Participating in goal setting encourages one to look for new strategies to gain success.
  • The completion of smaller goal becomes rewarding in and of itself, thus delivering the positive effect of success at regular intervals. Those small success will trigger the “dopamine effect”.
  • Setting small goals or micro-tasking can reduce stress level and anxiety relating to a bigger goal/project because it makes a difficult and big project feels feasible.
  • Stress can cause an inflammation response in the body, which in turn reduces the dopamine level.
  • Setting “SMART” (Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Time-Bound) goals can turn an overarching plan into achievable tasks, which could help prevent employees getting frustrated and giving up mid-project.
  • Setting small goals and accomplishing them makes it possible to manipulate your dopamine levels, creating dopamine spikes since the satisfaction of “ticking off” small tasks is related with those spikes.

DOPAMINE

  • Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that passes information from one brain cell to the other. It regulates movement, hormone levels, organ functions and the “reward pathway” known as mesolimbic dopamine system.
  • When there is an increased amount of dopamine in the nucleus acumens (one of the mesolimbic stops), it triggers feedback predicting rewards. This way, the brain recognizes that an important thing is about to happen, therefore, dopamine kicks in.
  • Since dopamine kicks in before a person obtain results, it encourages people to act, either to achieve something good or to avoid something bad.
  • Dopamine identifies incentives (like the feeling of safety or accomplishment) and urges us to want them.
  • When a person experience success (in any level), their brain will release dopamine, they are then encouraged to repeat the actions that lead to that, in a process neuroscientists call "self-directed learning".
  • Checking items off a checklist releases small amounts of dopamine into the brain, when those items are substantial tasks or tasks that will lead to the end of a project.
  • One of the ways to train the brain to feed off bursts of dopamine is to set incremental goals. Dopamine will flow as a result of the brain’s positive reinforcement every time a step is completed, and a challenge is conquered. In that sense, a to-do list can be very helpful.
  • Sharing results with a team and staying on tasks with micro-deadlines can also help manipulate the brain into releasing dopamine.
  • Dopamine can increase assertiveness in social and professional situations, is co-related to higher socio-economic status and higher perceived social support.
Part
03
of seven
Part
03

Micro-tasking - Tools

Productivity tools used with micro-tasking are usually visual in nature and help make specific tasks more manageable and easier to track. People use productivity tools for micro-tasking not to break down large tasks into smaller ones, but to make these smaller tasks manageable and more visible so that the larger tasks become less daunting and more workable.

MICRO-TASKING PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS

  • A large part of breaking down large tasks into smaller, actionable ones is so that it becomes easier to track and manage.
  • Studies have shown that the average working memory capacity of a person is only 3 to 5 items, which is why it has been suggested that breaking down and keeping track of tasks shouldn't be done mentally.
  • For this reason, several productivity tools used with micro-tasking, like Trello, Asana and Casual, are not only designed to help break up large tasks into smaller ones but also to be visually manageable and easy to track.
  • An example of a visual tool used to manage large projects is called the work breakdown structure (WBS).
  • This tool is used to define and track a project deliverable and all the small components, called work packages, needed to complete it.
  • This tool provides a visual representation of the project, defines specific and measurable outcomes, and breaks the work into manageable chunks.
  • A checklist or to-do list is a simple tool used to break up large tasks into manageable and easy to track.
  • To properly utilize checklists or to-do lists as productivity tools, one has to make sure that the items to be done on the list are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound — SMART.
  • This helps make the overall task feel more doable to the individuals working on it.
  • In a team setting, productivity tools involved in micro-tasking usually come with features that allow a person to keep track — not only of the tasks assigned to them but also those of others.
  • This allows for more feedback and adjustments — when necessary — which is one of the advantages of breaking larger tasks into smaller ones.

WHAT MAKES PEOPLE USE THESE TOOLS

  • People use productivity tools for micro-tasking not to break down large tasks into smaller ones, but to make these smaller tasks manageable and more visible so that the larger tasks become less daunting and more workable.
  • Experts suggest that when breaking down tasks into smaller ones, it is important that these smaller tasks/goals are SMART, or Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound.
  • Studies also show that having specific goals increases a person's productivity and that people like seeing progress happen quickly and often.
  • These are the reasons why people who micro-task use these productivity tools. The visual nature of the tools help make tasks look more specific, measurable and attainable, and they also help visualize the progress of the overall task which allows an individual to feel a sense of accomplishment.
Part
04
of seven
Part
04

Micro-tasking

The following are how people breaking down tasks (Micro — tasking), definition of the task to be completed, creating milestones by breaking the large project, breaking multiple-step tasks into smaller single tasks and clearly stating the various steps, and having shorter sessions instead of long duration of work.

HOW PEOPLE BREAK DOWN TASKS (MICRO -TASKING)

Definition of the task or project or task:

  • Tasks are activities that can be completed in a single sitting, when the task takes an extended period, it is defined as a project.
  • Ask yourself if your task is actually a project?
  • If your task is not a project, it can also be a really long task.
  • In this case, the best approach would be to break the process to smaller tasks.

Generating milestones by breaking down larger projects:

  • Milestones should be created based on different phases, different categories or different parts of the project. Some phases include testing, producing and planning. Examples of various categories include food, entertainment and invites.

Break multiple-step tasks into tasks that only involve single steps:

  • Create single tasks that are based on the steps that are required to complete the project. Ideally, all the tasks should take less than one hour to ensure they can be completed easily.

Clearly listing out the steps for undertaking various tasks:

  • There should be a series of steps each of which is based around a single action. It is important to have specific verbs.

Break long stretches of work into smaller sessions"

  • One way to achieve this is time boxing and this involves adding artificial time limits when working on a task.

OTHER IMPORTANT FINDINGS

  • Focus on the bigger picture and have an idea of the end product.
  • Break down the task into parts and figure out how to handle each part.
  • Ensure you have an idea of the best order to complete the tasks.
  • Have a timeline of how the project should be undertaken.

MENTAL MODEL FOR BREAKING DOWN TASKS

The 5 Why's

  • It is important to deeply understand the problem before you can develop a product to solve the problem.

Inversion Or Working Backwards

  • This helps to solve complicated problems by starting with what one expects and then breaking down the problem

The Problem Hypothesis

  • This involves taking an idea based on a problem and then finding out if it can work to resolve the issue.

Anchoring Bias

  • This involves offering the first information relating to a task and using that for future assumptions, this mental model is user-focused.

Loss Aversion

  • This highlights the tendency of people to avoid incurring losses by taking actions that will minimize the loss.


Part
05
of seven
Part
05

Micro-tasking - Team Projects Vs Personal

In personal micro-tasking, the goal of breaking down work into smaller tasks is to maintain control and comfort over the overall project. On the other hand, in team project micro-tasking, the goal is to make costs more manageable and to efficiently use team members by assigning different tasks to each them.

PERSONAL MICRO-TASKING

  • A popular personal productivity method called "Getting Things Done" or GTD was introduced by David Allen. The goal of GTD is to enable people to focus on their goals by establishing a sense of control and clarity over the work that they are about to do.
  • In GTD, it is imperative to keep track of projects and tasks separately so that it's not overwhelming.
  • Projects, according to Allen, should be broken down into smaller, manageable, and attainable tasks. It is about making sure that a big personal project is worked towards by completing smaller and incremental steps.
  • It is important in GTD to accomplish the fast, simple, and easy tasks right away while the larger tasks are prioritized and worked on one at a time.

TEAM PROJECT MICRO-TASKING

  • In preparing a work breakdown structure, which is a deliverable that organizes a team's work into manageable sections, a project is broken down through the decomposition technique into work packages.
  • Work packages are the smallest unit of a work breakdown structure (which means it can no longer be broken further down into smaller deliverables) and these should be small enough to assist the project manager in estimating the duration and cost of the project.
  • The project team creates the work breakdown structure by first identifying the major functional deliverables and subdividing these into smaller systems and sub-deliverables until a single person can be assigned to each sub-deliverable.
  • Work packages make it possible for simultaneous work to be done on different parts of the project in parallel by different teams. Each team does the tasks from specific work packages assigned to them and completes them before the deadline. Once the teams have finished their assigned work packages, the entire project comes together in seamless integration.
  • Work packages also allow easier management, monitoring, and control of costs. For each work package, one can determine the direct costs for labor, material, equipment, travel, contractual services, and other non-personal resources, as wells as indirect costs associated with these work packages.

COMPARISON BETWEEN PERSONAL AND TEAM PROJECT MICRO-TASKING

  • Personal and team project micro-tasking is similar in one way because the goal of both is to break down a larger project into smaller, more manageable chunks.
  • The crucial difference between personal and team project micro-tasking — when breaking down work into smaller tasks, the goal for personal micro-tasking is to maintain clarity, comfort, and control while working towards the overall goal. On the other hand, the goal for team project micro-tasking is more focused on making the project more manageable in terms of cost and efficient use of team members by assigning different tasks to each of them.
  • Another difference is that in personal micro-tasking, work is broken down with the mindset that large tasks should be completed one at a time while in team project micro-tasking, it is broken down with the mindset that multiple people/team will be working on different tasks simultaneously.
Part
06
of seven
Part
06

Micro-tasking - Methods/Strategies

5 methods, techniques, and strategies people used to break tasks into subtasks include prioritizing, scheduling, using software, adding rewards, and using the 0/100 rule.

1. PRIORITIZING

  • Larger tasks make it more difficult to manage, so to efficiently complete a large project, it's important to consider the most important aspects of the project first.
  • Tasks that are less important will most likely consume one's energy which may cause workers to have less dedication to more important tasks.
  • Alerting employees to urgent tasks should also be a priority. When doing this, it is important to use professional language so that nothing can be misinterpreted.

  • 2. SCHEDULING

    • Scheduling of work is essential in getting all team members on the same page and understanding the importance of completing assigned subtasks in a timely manner to achieve a bigger goal.
    • This makes the completion of tasks seem doable especially with the ability to check each one that is completed and move on to the next one. It could also help persons to complete tasks that seem more difficult first or vice versa, based on preference.
    • Managers could assign subtasks prior to the end of the workday for employees to be aware of what is expected the following day and ensure that the tasks are realistic to complete in the given timeframe.
    • Slack, Toggl, and Paymo are examples of tools that are used to enhance scheduling.

    3. USING SOFTWARES

    • Software can help break tasks into subtasks easier and more visual. For example with the use of Microsoft Excel, DropBox, and Google Drive, employees can see tasks designated and assigned to different folders, etc.
    • Azendoo provides users with the ability to organize tasks into subtasks and assign them to the respective employee. It crosses out completed tasks, creates structure, and allows members of the team to see the progress as well.
    • Todoist allows users to schedule tasks to be completed daily, which can also be checked off upon completion. This is ideal for teams who have several subtasks to be completed in a given day.
    • Additionally, Slack, Toggl, and Paymo are tools used to break tasks into subtasks.


    4. ADDING REWARDS


    5. USING THE 0/100 RULE

    • With this strategy, the manager ensures that all tasks are being done or already done, which means that the major tasks are divided and distributed to employees who are capable of completing said tasks effectively.
    • The employee would be solely responsible for the completion of subtasks assigned. They are trusted to complete the task and have a clear focus on the tasks.
    • To avoid complications, subtasks are given a timeline for completion, but usually a short time in order to make it more effective and easier to oversee. Time management is enhanced and the completion of the larger project becomes easier to achieve.
    • Thirty minutes is considered a good time to complete each subtask daily, which means tasks have to be broken down into manageable subtasks that will not require employees to spend a long time on individual tasks.


    RESEARCH STRATEGY

    In the initial stages of our research, we found that microtasks are "small, simple tasks that require human judgment and can be completed independently over the Internet. A series of repetitive micro tasks often times compose a larger unified project." Based on this definition, we were able to identify some strategies/techniques that are used by people when they are microtasking. We leveraged sources such as news articles, press releases, and analyses on this market published in credible sources or by experts in the field. Professional language seems to be the preferred way of communicating within the workplace as it relates to microtasking while the casual language is used for microtasking through crowdsourcing.

    Part
    07
    of seven
    Part
    07

    Micro-tasking - Granularity

    A micro-task should be presented in a concise short note, with a clear goal and due date. Below are our explicit findings and detailed methodology.

    How to present a task:

    • In order to achieve the best result, a micro-task should be presented in small short notes, with no more than three chunks of information. It should also be clear, with a very specific goal, excluding anything irrelevant.
    • Ideally, each task would have the following attributes: Task Title, Responsibility, and Start and Due Date (date wouldn't count as a "chunk of information"). Again, having a clear and specific goal has shown to improve performance.

    Work Memory Capacity:

    Goal-setting Theory:

    • According to the Goal-setting Theory, specific goals are needed in order to achieve high performance.
    • Specific goals should exclude anything that’s irrelevant (to increase focus and sense of purpose) in order to incite effort and inspire the target to be more persistent.
    • It’s also noted that specific goals also combine the difficulty and the specificity cue to force the target to search for strategies to attain the goal.
    • A study conducted on 162 undergraduate students, showed a correlation between goal specificity and level of performance.
    • Another part of Goal-setting theory shows that breaking a big project into smaller pieces allows/gives chances of feedback and adjustments, which is crucial for higher productivity.

    Employees and Tasks:

    • When a worker fails to prioritize project tasks, he/she misses deadlines and generally under performs, teams can lose as much as 24% of their productivity.
    • Three in five workers agreed to take on more tasks than they can actually get done on their to-do list.
    • Seventy-three percent (73%) of workers said their to-do lists become overgrown because they want to be accommodating, helpful, and polite; 56% said because they have a tendency to solve problems, while 39% said because there were no clear limits or rules about which tasks they should accept or reject exist.
    • Fifty-two percent (52%) of workers worry about disappointing themselves or others, and 20% said they regret taking on so many tasks in the first place.


    RESEARCH STRATEGY:

    For the purposes of answering the question, we have described the level of granularity or detail that micro-tasks typically needed to achieve higher levels of performance. We chose this correlation as our focus because one of the main aspects of micro-tasking is its ability to increase performance.

    We started our research by searching for publicly available models of micro-tasks with proven high performance. Unfortunately, the only sources we could find specific to micro-tasks examples were from software vendors, and after careful examination, we decided that those sources could not be used as an example, considering their explanations were directly related to the product they were selling.

    Next, we investigated what makes micro-tasking productive. Here, we looked for information that could help us answer the research criteria. With this strategy, we found two very interesting studies that relate to the topic, "The Work Memory Capacity" and "Goal-setting Theory". We later used both studies to answer the research questions.

    Finally, we broadened our research to see how a task should be presented in general. With this approach, we found a very detailed presentation with multiple ways to present a task. However, even though the author mentions breaking tasks into smaller ones and different ways to organize tasks, there were still pieces of information missing to deeply answer the question.

    To answer the level of detail a task should have to achieve higher levels of performance, we combined three different sources to provide an answer. We divided a task presentation into three parts: Length, content, and structure.

    • Length: Using the Work Memory Capacity study, we estimated that a micro-task shouldn’t have more than three chunks of information to be retained by the employee. More than that would mean that the employee would have to keep coming back and forth between the notes, which would mean a waste of time and could potentially lead to important information/requirements being lost.
    • Content: To establish the content, we took the Goal-setting theory into consideration. Clear, difficult, but obtainable goals are proven to increase performance levels in several different scenarios. Also, worth noting that this part correlates to another part of the project, Micro-Tasking and Reward. Achieving goals triggers dopamine flows, which in turn increases motivation. Another important part of the attainable and short-term goals is that it allows feedback, another important aspect of higher performance levels.
    • Structure: The structure chosen was one of the structures proposed by the Task Management for Project Managers presentation that seems to be a better fit for the two previous criteria.
    Also, we have included a survey that shows how workers feel about their tasks, which we considered to be helpful in understanding people’s behavior around work management.

    Sources
    Sources

    From Part 01
    Quotes
    • "“Breaking tasks down helps us to see large tasks as more approachable and doable, and reduces our propensity to procrastinate or defer tasks, because we simply don’t know where to begin,” explains Melissa Gratias, Ph.D., a workplace productivity coach and speaker."
    • "While memory limits can vary slightly from person to person, recent studies show that our average working memory capacity (working memory is what’s used in mental tasks) is only three to five items. Anything more than that is bound to fall out of your brain."
    • "Specific goals force us to make a choice to pursue them—and, as a result, exclude anything that’s irrelevant. This increases our focus, as well as our sense of purpose in pursuing that goal."
    • "This is another reason why breaking down these large assignments into smaller parts is so crucial: You have the opportunity to receive feedback (which is another core tenet of the Goal-Setting Theory) and make adjustments when necessary."
    • "“You’re wasting opportunities for an adrenaline rush by making a task too big,” shares Dr. Gratias, “We are working with our own desires for reward and feedback by breaking a large task down into its component parts.”"
    Quotes
    • "Procrastination often hits us when we’re feeling overwhelmed. We avoid starting a huge project because it feels daunting and we can’t imagine how we’ll tackle it. So stop trying to take on monster-sized jobs."
    • "Break tasks into manageable pieces so you’re just taking on one small task at a time. Make sure your to-do list is broken into tasks that can be accomplished relatively quickly -- a half hour or less. Then start using a stopwatch to kick your focus into high gear."
    • "Your ability to focus is key to your productivity and getting more done in a short amount of time. Researchers have found that it takes a typical office worker 25 minutes to return to the original task after an interruption. Work interruptions also decrease accuracy by 20 percent."
    • "Monotasking, also known as single-tasking, is about focusing on one thing at a time so we get more done. It requires you to break your multitasking habits. Because we live in a highly connected world, that’s not always easy or even possible for every task. "
    Quotes
    • "It can be tempting to want to take care of a few tasks at once, especially if they seem small or easy. But it simply doesn’t work. According to neuroscience professor Earl K. Miller, “multitasking is not humanly possible.” We’re fooling ourselves when we say we can easily juggle phone calls, presentations, and eating lunch."
    • "Seeing a handful of big projects on our calendar can be stressful… but if you break it up into smaller tasks, you’ll feel more in control and will be much more productive. Rather than write down "finish project," break that into all the tasks it will take. This will keep you on track in your day-to-day and make the bigger projects seem less daunting."
    • "Understanding when and how you work best is key to getting those big projects done on time. There’s no set schedule that works for everyone… if you’re a morning person, tackle the big tasks first thing in your day."
    • "Make the most of your time at work by filling those tiny windows with actual tasks. According to entrepreneur Steve Olenski, finding and immediately completing tasks that take two minutes or less actually saves you time. So, if it takes less than two minutes, do it now."
    From Part 02
    Quotes
    • "One of the most important reasons to define an action as a 'goal' is that it needs to be viewed as something with a beginning, middle and end. When you accomplish the goal you will get the dopamine-based sense of contentment and satisfaction that always accompanies the act of persevering and getting the job done."
    Quotes
    • "By focusing on a much smaller and more immediate goal—maybe getting a new bike lane built in your neighborhood, or buying yourself a commuting bicycle or a solar panel—you can avoid the anxiety and cognitive overload that will freeze you into inaction if you think about all the obstacles and complications involved in changing the policies of international governments and big business"
    • "Solving small problems allows you to feel like your capacities are up to conquering challenges. And when you have a small win, you get to feel optimistic about the prospects of accomplishing the next bite-sized task. "
    Quotes
    • "Small goals are also inherently short-term, which is beneficial when trying to accomplish big tasks. Bigger goals usually take some time: they tend to be complicated, challenging, and require patience. It’s common for people to get frustrated when the process takes longer than they were expecting, which is a big reason why people give up mid-project."
    • "Breaking down your projects into smaller, bite-sized pieces helps you stay motivated and positive throughout the process"
    • "When we experience even small amounts of success, our brains release dopamine, which is connected to feelings of pleasure, learning and motivation. When we feel the effects of dopamine, we’re eager to repeat the actions that resulted in that success in the first place. Neuroscientists refer to this as “self-directed learning.”"
    Quotes
    • "It’s possible to manipulate your dopamine levels by setting small goals and then accomplishing them. For instance, your brain may receive a spike in dopamine if you promise yourself that you’ll clean out the refrigerator, and then you do"
    • "This is one reason people benefit from to-do lists: The satisfaction of ticking off a small task is linked with a flood of dopamine. Each time your brain gets a whiff of this rewarding neurotransmitter, it will want you to repeat the associated behavior."
    Quotes
    • "But new science is starting to pick apart dopamine's true role in the brain. It turns out that role isn't in reward itself, but in the motivation to pursue a reward: you see chocolate, dopamine urges you to eat the chocolate, and the chocolate tastes amazing."
    • "dopamine's role in this reward pathway really comes down to what's known as "incentive salience" — that is, identifying incentives (whether that's the taste of chocolate or a feeling of safety) and making us want them."
    Quotes
    • "It’s important to have big goals in life, but without smaller ones that are easier to hit, the wins can be few and far between. Not surprisingly, that trains the brain to motivate us away from wanting to work hard."
    From Part 04
    Quotes
    • "Mental models are the invisible spectacles through which we see the world. Put more simply, they are sweeping “laws” we build up internally that help us understand the world. Mental models are spawned by experience, fed by observation, and improved by reason."
    Quotes
    • "Breaking tasks down helps us to see large tasks as more approachable and doable, and reduces our propensity to procrastinate or defer tasks, because we simply don’t know where to begin,” explains Melissa Gratias, Ph.D., a workplace productivity coach and speaker."
    Quotes
    • "A mental model is a framework that we use to make decisions, explain concepts, or make sense of the world. Understanding mental models helps you increase self-awareness in the cognitive principles behind what you think and why you think them"
    From Part 05
    Quotes
    • "GTD is followed by millions of people who have found that it creates mental clarity and enables them to focus on achieving their goals. It’s the personal productivity method of many industry leaders and experts."
    • "Organizing a large number of incremental steps toward big projects and big goals. GTD is perfect for clearing the mind so you can focus on the task at hand. It’s a powerful way to approach work and life."
    • "GTD requires a lot of mental discipline to follow the principles rigorously. Because it was designed to organize to-do lists and schedules, not emails, messages, or distractions, and requires you to exert a lot of control over your time, it may be less suited to workplaces that require a great deal of frequent, high-touch communication or where priorities change often, because your ability to exert that control is limited."
    Quotes
    • "GTD is a “bottom-up” approach to productivity. The goal is to establish a sense of comfort and control over the work that’s on your plate right now, so you can free up some mental energy and space to think about the big stuff."
    • "Everything you’re working on should have a very clear stopping point - a point where you know you’re done. If you don’t know what that point looks like, you’ll find it very difficult to make any progress at all. When you’re having trouble making progress, first clarify what being done looks like."
    • "Since projects and tasks are two different things, it’s best to keep track of them separately. Personally, I carry a small notebook with me to record active tasks with 3x5 index card inside that lists my active projects. The index card is just the right size to list 4-8 active projects - if I have more than that, I know I’m spreading myself too thin."
    • "Also remember that the goal of GTD is to make it easier to do work that matters - not procrastinating by endlessly improving your system instead of doing productive work. Try to avoid succumbing to “productivity porn” - experiment constantly, but remember that the most effective systems have the same thing in common: they’re usually the simplest thing that could possibly work. When in doubt, err on the side of doing less."
    Quotes
    • "A work package is the smallest unit of a Work Breakdown Structure. When preparing a Work Breakdown Structure using the decomposition technique, deliverables are generally broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks of work."
    • "This process of deconstruction continues until the deliverables are small enough to be considered work packages. Each of these packages should be small enough to help the Project Manager estimate the duration and the cost. Work packages can be scheduled, cost estimated, monitored, and controlled."
    • "Work packages allow for simultaneous work to be done on different components of a project in parallel by multiple teams. Each team follows the tasks defined for the work package and completes them by the specified deadline."
    • "For each work package, we can determine the direct labor costs, the direct costs for material, equipment, travel, contractual services, and other non-personal resources, as well as the indirect costs associated with each of these work packages."
    Quotes
    • "A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a key project deliverable that organizes the team's work into manageable sections. The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) defines the work breakdown structure as a "deliverable oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the project team." The work breakdown structure visually defines the scope into manageable chunks that a project team can understand, as each level of the work breakdown structure provides further definition and detail."
    • "The project team creates the project work breakdown structure by identifying the major functional deliverables and subdividing those deliverables into smaller systems and sub-deliverables. These sub-deliverables are further decomposed until a single person can be assigned. At this level, the specific work packages required to produce the sub- deliverable are identified and grouped together."
    From Part 07
    Quotes
    • "Working memory storage capacity is important because cognitive tasks can be completed only with sufficient ability to hold information as it is processed. The ability to repeat information depends on task demands but can be distinguished from a more constant, underlying mechanism: a central memory store limited to 3 to 5 meaningful items in young adults."
    Quotes
    • "Consciously setting a specific, difficult, challenging goal leads to high performance for four reasons. Specificity results in (1) the choice to focus on goal-relevant activities and to ignore those that are irrelevant. Challenge leads to an increase in (2) effort and (3) persistence to attain the goal. The combination of specificity and difficulty cue (4) the search for strategies to attain the goal"
    • " The theory is based on nearly 400 studies involving close to 40,000 participants from eight different countries who performed one or more of 88 different tasks. The time span of these tasks ranged from 1 minute to three years. A decade later more than 1,000 studies had been conducted (Mitchell & Daniels, 2003). These studies show that goal setting theory is not only applicable to the motivation of an individual, it is applicable to groups/teams (Kramer, Thayer, & Salas, 2013), departments (Porter & Latham, 2013), and organizations as well (Pritchard et al., 2013; Saari, 2013)."