Using Pivotal Tracker as a time management tool

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The stuff of fairy tales

If you’re anything like me, time management is about as elusive as a golden unicorn that lives in a rainbow. Somehow, things just get too busy and chaotic and at the end of the day I realise I haven’t gotten to half of what I needed to do. And it doesn’t help that, like the unicorn, I am easily distracted by anything (Oh look – a new email!). I have subscribed to the theory that you should do things as they come across your desk, i.e. don’t procrastinate and leave it for later. But that just kinda exacerbates my problem – you know, the easily distracted one – because I will then start a whole bunch of things as they come to me, but end up not finishing any of them.

Getting it done

I have certainly tried (and still use) the old faithful to do list and it definitely helps in terms of keeping myself organised with a clear view of what needs to be done for that day. I find writing down the tasks I need to get through as therapeutic, as one can easily feel disorientated and overwhelmed when you don’t know where to start. So I suppose starting things is not really my problem, but rather completing them. You could say this is an occupational hazard, because as an Internet Marketer, my work is never complete, but rather a continuous flow of activity. So how do you manage that?

The answer

Well a tool called Pivotal Tracker seems to be the answer. Known as a software development management tool in techy circles and used by Infoware Studios in Agile Technology Delivery; it seems to be a great time management tool too.

For the complete novice (that means me), Pivotal tracker works with 3 sections, namely Icebox (ideas you have that have not yet been started), Backlog (projects that are in your que), Current (projects you are currently busy with) and my personal favourite, Done. You can create projects (called stories), add tasks, add comments, allocate points (basically how long it will take you to complete the project) and labels (for specific groupings). So far, my methodology in using Pivotal Tracker as a time management tool is to create projects for the week on a Monday morning. And then first thing every morning to check what must be done, add whatever else has come up and then manage the tasks throughout the day. And so far – success! It is keeping me constantly on track and focused on what needs to be done, and oh how I love it when items go into the Done column!

Although Pivotal Tracker is mainly for managing large projects and business use, it can be useful and helpful in a personal capacity too. Have any of you used Pivotal Tracker as a time management tool? Perhaps you have other time management tools you use? Leave a comment and let me know what works for you.

More details on the elements of Pivotal Tracker to follow in future posts!

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  1. taniavwdv  July 28, 2012

    Pivotal tracker can thus be used far beyond just software teams. Pivotal tracker can be used by teams in any business area to manage their activities jointly in 1 easy accessible view. I like it!