A very brief writeup of a technique for doing online task management, in a world where there are so many social media channels that you need a spreadsheet to keep track of them all.
The software is Google Spreadsheet, used with a private sheet all for myself.
The structure of the worksheet is a set of columns, with column headings indicating the piece of software, online system, or media channel that you are tracking; the rows are dated or time stamped.
Each cell has a brief summary of events, activities, or other goings-on for that channel at that time. "Birthday deals" is my notation from Facebook for Jan 5, 2011, noting that on that day I wished people a happy birthday by sending them the Arborwiki birthday deals page (my customary greeting card). Keep it short, down to a name, a keyword, a tag, or anything else minimal.
The key technique is hyperlinking each of these (column header and activity cell) where possible, so that you can go back and re-animate your activity on a minimum notice. The syntax is
which is simple enough to make it not be a big deal to do.
The locus of activity moves. Rather than opening a new window, looking for page changes to the more frequent sites that you visit, and hoping mindlessly that there's something new, the unit of online activity becomes working your way across the columns and methodically filling in each of them with a daily aliquot of love.
The challenge is getting the column headers right, so that you focus on the correct systems, and ignore the irrelevant ones.
Why do I call it task sandwich? Darned if I know, that's what got typed in.
OK, this is kind of brilliant. Are you actually (still) doing this?
Michael, I do it from time to time when I get too distracted by a zillion things to get any of them done.
At the moment, I’m using a variant of this, where I have a three-tab spreadsheet, each spreadsheet with three columns: title, twitter-sized message, tag. The tag auto-links to my blog, and the three tabs are “doing, not doing, done”. I am trying to keep the “doing” page under control to fit on one screen.
It’s a hard practice to stay in, but if I ever found myself in a world where I was tracking minutes on a project again, I’d look at doing this – every time you get a distraction, you pop into a spreadsheet, record the interrupt, and deal with it mindfully.