I recently bought an e-bike – easily the best fun I’ve had in years. It’s been a while since I was on a bicycle. I grew up riding them in Dublin through my childhood and teenage years, but as an adult, cycling left me a bit cold. It was the hills that killed me, I absolutely loathed the effort it took to get up even the slightest incline and especially disliked having to get off and push. But an e-bike solves this problem as it helps you get to the top with a lot less effort.
For those not in the know, an e-bike is a bicycle with a motor that supplements your pedal power. It’s definitely not a motorbike. It has a motor, but it only augments your peddling, so you still need to do most of the work most of the time. It just evens out the harder parts, like hills, making cycling more enjoyable for novices like me.
Recently a workshop participant expressed concerns about making the move from his paper task list to using tasks in MS Outlook. It’s not that he was resistant to technology, or dismissive of a new approach. He had a considered and valid concern. He told me that the paper system he used, and had used for many years, forced him to re-evaluate his priorities each day as he rewrote his list and transferred any unfinished actions forward. He was worried he would lose this excellent discipline if he switched to a tool like Outlook which automatically rolls tasks forward if they’re not marked completed.
We talked about this, and how MS Outlook augments my planning and prioritising. It does not do it for me. Just like my e-bike augments my effort if I need some help. If you use powerful electronic tools like Outlook together with a good planning process, Outlook helps do the heavy lifting for you, and can also do things that no paper-based list can do (like attaching emails to your tasks). It helps “even out the hills” as it were.
So, if you’re using the calendar in Outlook to manage your meetings but are still hanging on to your paper to-do list, maybe now is a good time to embrace the electronic task tools also at your fingertips. But whether you are using an electronic task list, or a paper list, both need a strong planning and prioritisation process to ensure they keep you focused on the right things at the right time.
Right, now on your bikes and back to work!