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To-Do vs My Week vs Work

  • 30 September 2022
  • 13 replies
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Userlevel 2

Hey Everyone,

 

Our firm is having some difficulty determining where we should be looking to see outstanding work for our team. We are using some iteration of To-Do, My Week, and Work as each one of them some benefits as well as their shortfalls.

 

To-Do

This is what we have everyone use as it has the ability to list all tasks at a granular level. Our work item set up isn’t task heavy. Anything that can be done in one sitting is listed as one task with multiple steps in the description. What we do not like about To-Do is that you cannot get a total time budget allocation for all tasks in a given time period nor is it guaranteed that they will all show up on the client profile as work completed for a client. Example would be small tasks that were assigned from emails and not attached to a work item are not visible as items that were completed for a client when we are assessing how much out of scope work we do for a client throughout the year.

 

My Week

 

We have not yet been confident enough in My Week to roll it out as we have had some technical issues and there are certain things about it that seem inconvenient. While we like the less noisy view it provides over To-Do, it often misses out on certain items such as emails and notes assigned as tasks. Not that they can’t be added to a team member’s week, it’s just that it requires intervention from that team member as opposed to a team leader who is assigning the task or email. Additionally, we have seen issues with time budgets not coming through properly.

 

Work

Work does give us a nice up in the sky view of things with the exception of small tasks that get assigned that are not attached to a work item. It is a good place to go see overall allocated time budgets for work assigned, but the fact that it does not take tasks not associated with work into consideration is a draw back. 

 

Ultimately what we are struggling with is that we do not have one place in Karbon where we can confidently look and see what someone’s work capacity might be which makes it difficult to plan out work. Most of our work is all scheduled out and we go through some one off work items that come up throughout the year but I wanted to know how other firms are navigating the platform when it comes to items like this. Don’t know if we are over/under thinking on this process or not. Any feedback would be much appreciated.

 

Thanks,

-Jarett

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Best answer by Rebecca Williams 30 September 2022, 20:04

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Userlevel 2
Badge +1

My To-Do is a hot mess because jobs marked Completed, where all the tasks weren't individually ticked off but we told Karbon to mark them as completed, they are all still on that To-Do list. I have 1484 items on my To-Do list due today, some over a year old. We have given up on the To-Do list.
We also had a team member who's work didn't seem to be obvious in MyWeek either and she missed something important - I think that was because our repeating templates, which pre-date MyWeek, didn't have the Schedule in MyWeek activated.
So where we hang out is in Work - and we all save different views of that to show us what we should be working on.

Userlevel 4
Badge +2

So where we hang out is in Work - and we all save different views of that to show us what we should be working on.

We are much the same -  none of us have got our heads around To-Do and we’re trying to do better with MyWeek with slow progress. So we tend to hang out at the Work level as well which works well enough although I know it’s not really how Karbon has been designed. We’re all ears for how others are doing things!

Userlevel 6
Badge +9

Same! We also hang out at the work level, and many of us also leaving one-off things in triage until they are handled, or assigning them to a private (personal) contact as our own personal to-do. We also use other solutions (Google To-Dos within the Google Calendar, and reminder apps like Todoist) and don’t rely on Karbon for smaller things that aren’t a part of normal workflow. We’ve moved away from Karbon to-dos since we know it is going away, and My Week has not worked well for us so far. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +10

Hi @Jarett S 

My team has givien up on To-Do, they did that very early because as @Gillian Kirkman said, it was a hot mess so they have settled in on the creating great dashboards in Work.  The high level view of Work is great for an overview but doesn’t allow for planning.

I am a big fan of My Week for planning, time blocking in the calendar integration and setting priorities for client facing and non-client facing work in one place.  It is a commitment though and my teams have been slow to jump in.  The clean up from the initial launch and getting all repeating work orders to go to a planned week was a lot.  The features that need tweaking are annoying.  The improvements along the way have been encouraging.

I have found an effective way get people interested is to have a champion on the team that goes all in and shares the successes as well as the hiccups along the way.  I have been that person since we started with Karbon years ago but I have been able to grow a few other ‘champions’, sometimes a little bribery goes a long way!

I use and encourage my team to use

  • My Week  
    • Day to day priorities, set up the priorities for the next week in Working on Now and order them as you plan to tackle them.
    • Be realistic - spend a few minutes at the start and end of each day to revisit, revise priorities.
    • If you know you are not getting to it until next week or later move it to next week or later (I like to keep This Week to under 50 items)
    • Use the Note feature keep track of those one offs that you can’t do now and must not forget.
  • Work
    • Capacity planning for the team.
    • Managing / tracking / keeping tabs on looming deadlines.
    • Dashboards filtered for individual use, but always knowing that those filters can skew the information.

There is admin work here for sure, I have found that once I was fully immersed the ‘cost’ of the admin time is well spent for the ‘benefit’ of having the plan for the week visible and accessible.

I hope that helps,

V

 

Userlevel 2

Thanks for all the feedback so far. I’m curious to know what everyone does with respect to clearing Triage if To-Do is not being utilized. Our office pushes a Triage Zero mentality where emails and comments fall into 4 categories (pretty sure I read that on one of these threads). 

  • Something that can be done today (quick questions, phone calls, etc) - this would get cleared from Triage once it is handled
  • Something that can be done in the next few days (status updates on existing work, document requests, information updates, more in depth questions) - this gets assigned in To-Do as a task and then cleared from Triage upon assigning.
  • Something that needs more than a week to complete (notice response, Audits, etc) - A work item gets created and then it is cleared out
  • Something that has nothing to do with you and it was sent to you in error. - tag appropriate team member and clear from Triage

That all being said, my question is, are you all creating work items for smaller one off tasks. Are emails not being assigned to people? I would prefer not to use Google To-Do’s and keep everything inside of one system. Thanks again.

Userlevel 7
Badge +10

@Jarett S 

Yes to Zero Triage - In reality I operate around the 10-20 mark but I would love to hit zero regularly.

I completely agree and try to work the 4 categories you listed.

In the same way you mentioned pushing emails to To-Do I push to Plan for this Week and deal with them in My Week.

When assigning emails to a team member I encourage always adding a due date since we currently cannot put the emails into a specific week for ourselves or our collegues.  (There is a Feature Idea around this if you have not already upvoted it).  

We aim for every email received from a client to be assigned to a work order, if it relates at all to that work (an example for us would be the Monthly Bookkeeping W/O).  If it does not relate to a work order it will get assigned to the client and if it’s important to be visible it will be pinned to the timeline.  

Userlevel 7
Badge +13

I would also encourage you to make some very specific custom work dashboards.  Those things are amazing when you are trying to answer specific questions.  If you have a question that comes up often, I would create a custom work view and save it.  You can come back to it anytime to get your answer.

Every team member has a My Work Dashboard, but we also have sub My Work Dashboards to filter even further. So I have the following:

  • My Work - All work assigned to me
  • My Work - Tax View
  • My Work - Non-Tax View
  • My Work Reminder limit (this one is great for those client tasks that need to be reset.)

We also have dashboards to show Tax work by the assignee to judge capacity and reassign work if someone is overwhelmed and others have capacity. You can filter this even further to view just 1040 work or business work.

We have done a team-wide meeting where we have helped everyone create these custom boards and it has been very beneficial.

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +12

As a couple of others said, we were never able to get To-Dos to take off due to all the noise of having every single task listed, but also the fact that tasks all show independently so you lose the context and dependency details.

The process I’ve given our team to follow is below. We only started using My Week a couple of months ago so we’re still working on the adoption piece and tweaking our internal best practices.

  1. Clear Triage, using Inbox Zero methodology (2 or 3 times a day)
    1. Tag EVERYTHING then either:
      1. Action now
      2. Assign to someone
      3. Add to My Week
      4. Archive
  2. Review work views (maybe once a day, or every couple of days)
    1. We have some standard views showing what work is currently with each person (based on the status) and also their pipeline.
    2. In work views you can plan items for specific weeks, and leads can plan them for the rest of the team too. You can also see when everyone has it planned for. 
  3. Review My Week (2 or 3 times a day, after Triage clearing)
    1. Review To Plan (and Next Week/Later) to ensure anything high priority has been accounted for
    2. Review the plan you’d already made for This Week, and move anything out if it isn’t able to be done (either to Next Week or back To Plan if there are dependencies on others)
    3. Ensure Working on Now reflects your priorities for the next day/24 hours
  4. Work from Working On Now
    1. Triage is closed, work views are closed, now you’re implementing your plan for the next few hours
    2. Working on Now should be reviewed at EOD too so you can make your plan for the next day. This can be modified after clearing your Triage the next day and reviewing To Plan again, but it should also give you immediate focus when you start as you don’t have to decide what to work on.

The piece we’re struggling with the most is knowing when to plan work for and avoiding bottlenecks. We know our external committed dates (the hard due date!), but we need a third date option for the internal due date so that not everything is “due” on the same day.

 

For non-work tasks, I find My Week very powerful. Any time there’s an email I want to follow up, it gets added to My Week. Any time I come across an article to read, or someone asks me to do something that doesn’t warrant a work item, I create a note directly inside My Week. Notes and Emails can then be moved between buckets, same as work items.

Userlevel 7
Badge +19

@Rebecca Williams you listed pretty much how we teach it at our firm. A few additions that may (or may not) be helpful 😉:

  • Our managers meets with staff to review their My Week on a regular basis (more often for new staff)
  • All This Week tasks are added to the calendar for an appropriate amount of time.
    • Anything that doesn’t fit on the calendar for this week belongs in a future week
    • Staff know right away when they are behind because they start running over their calendar and have the option/obligation to ask for help.
    • We found that the calendar is a powerful way to keep us honest about what work will get done this week.
Userlevel 3
Badge +3

Thanks for all the feedback so far. I’m curious to know what everyone does with respect to clearing Triage if To-Do is not being utilized. Our office pushes a Triage Zero mentality where emails and comments fall into 4 categories (pretty sure I read that on one of these threads). 

  • Something that can be done today (quick questions, phone calls, etc) - this would get cleared from Triage once it is handled
  • Something that can be done in the next few days (status updates on existing work, document requests, information updates, more in depth questions) - this gets assigned in To-Do as a task and then cleared from Triage upon assigning.
  • Something that needs more than a week to complete (notice response, Audits, etc) - A work item gets created and then it is cleared out
  • Something that has nothing to do with you and it was sent to you in error. - tag appropriate team member and clear from Triage

That all being said, my question is, are you all creating work items for smaller one off tasks. Are emails not being assigned to people? I would prefer not to use Google To-Do’s and keep everything inside of one system. Thanks again.

@Jarett S Sorry to revive an old thread, but I’m wondering how your team has fared since this conversation? We are in a similar boat - working with triage zero mentality, and moved smaller one-offs to tasks in to-do lists rather than create work items. (Attaching the email to a client timeline will make the email task public in the to-do list, for a manager to note and address if needed.)

Our workflows require tasks at various levels - admin, associates, managers, partners - that get involved in a work item at different times, so we’ve really struggled to find “my week” as useful. Curious to hear if you moved in that direction, or if you’ve made any different changes for your team?

Userlevel 4
Badge +10

My team never got to utilise and use My Week - I have been trying myself to use it but not so good for me either - I find myself marking stuff as Done most of the time as it’s not really work assigned to me, perhaps I was copied in an e-mail which is already on my To Do list.

Currently Work and To Do is what we use:

Work - for looking at the bigger picture

To Do - usually filtering by Client and double checking Work To Do’s that need clearing

I still have to chase my team to clear their To Do lists (on weekly basis) and they are generally much better now - what’s the best way to start using My Week (and seeing the value in it) - without losing track of To Do - at the moment managing both seems like mission impossible and tbh I still don’t quite see the difference, they are very interlinked!

Userlevel 4
Badge +10

My team never got to utilise and use My Week - I have been trying myself to use it but not so good for me either - I find myself marking stuff as Done most of the time as it’s not really work assigned to me, perhaps I was copied in an e-mail which is already on my To Do list.

Currently Work and To Do is what we use:

Work - for looking at the bigger picture

To Do - usually filtering by Client and double checking Work To Do’s that need clearing

I still have to chase my team to clear their To Do lists (on weekly basis) and they are generally much better now - what’s the best way to start using My Week (and seeing the value in it) - without losing track of To Do - at the moment managing both seems like mission impossible and tbh I still don’t quite see the difference, they are very interlinked!

BTW - I quite like the option to e able to move my tasks for tomorrow, or Wednesday, or Friday (for example), rather than This Week.

Userlevel 3
Badge +3

@AntoniyaB. we use To-Do and Work similarly (also with a lot of support to our team) and that daily view on the to-do list is crucial for our team to focus on the right work on the right day. 

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