How a Task Analysis Can Transform Your Life


Picture the following scene.  You are ready for lunch and all you can think about is making a grilled cheese sandwich.  What are all the steps involved in that process?  

1) Locate the bread

2) Locate the cheese and butter

3) Open the bread and take out two slices

4) Spread the butter on both sides

5) Put the cheese on the bread

6) Put the pieces of bread and cheese together, etc.

...well you get the idea. 

In behavior analysis, this process is called a task analysis--and it can transform your life.

When teaching children, we often use task analyses to teach daily living skills such as brushing teeth or handwashing, but most behavior chains (skills that involve multiple behaviors) can be broken down into a task analysis.  This includes organizational behaviors such as standard operating procedures, as well as executive functioning skills such as decision making and problem solving. 

So how can this transform your life?  The biggest way a task analysis can transform your life is by combating that overwhelming feeling you have when you have a large project, or a goal for skill acquisition that you need to shape in a client or staff member.  By breaking the large skill or project into a sequence, a task analysis can help you focus on one step at a time and organize the process.  By breaking it down into small component parts, you can also collect more accurate data to measure skill acquisition, thus giving you information on the specific steps you need to focus on, as opposed to having to focus on the whole large process.

Have a strategy to share on how task analyses have transformed your life?  Comment below!

Want more ideas on skills you can focus on for a task analysis?  Check out our ebooks!

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Three Strategies to Organize Your Workflow


This last week I have been working through David Allen's book, "Getting Things Done,"* and it has really helped me to organize my workflow.  Three strategies he discusses in this book are to 1) Capture the Things that Might Need to Get Done, 2) Direct Yourself to Make Front End Decisions, and 3) Curating and Coordinating the Content.  How do I know it helped? I took a count of the tasks per day I completed.  Prior to reading this book, I was completing an average 2 tasks per day.  Last week, as I worked through the book, I completed 6 tasks per day, and also freed up some of my time to focus on strategy for my business by utilizing the methods outlined below.  

1) Capture the Things That Need to Get Done

In his book, Allen talks about the necessity of having a place to write down your task list, so that you can "close the loop" in your head and you are not focusing on your to-do list.  He explains that if things are not written down, there will be an internal "open loop" and you will continue to focus on those tasks.  By writing them down, you can effectively get them out of your head, leaving you to focus on the next strategy.  My own strategy in doing this week, has been to use my phone's task list to write down all of the tasks that need to be completed this week, along with alert reminders and due dates.  After they were written down, and my mind started to focus on those tasks, I redirected my mind to "close the loop," since it was written down with reminder alerts.

2) Making Decisions on Tasks

Once you have effectively captured the task, now it comes to prioritization of those tasks.  Some tasks will be "low hanging fruit" that you can get done in the moment and be done with it, while others will require more thought and time, or will require delegation.  See last week's blog on "How to Get Tasks Done Using Behavior Momentum" for more strategies on this step.  I went through each task per day at the start of my day to make decisions on each one as far as the order of accomplishment.

3) Curating and Coordinating the Content

For this strategy, I focused on taking those reminders and tasks on my phone, and using my calendar to block off time in the week to complete those tasks.  This way, instead of of having short blocks of time to complete tasks, I was able to block off time in a way that would allow me to be more productive and focus on my workflow.  Part of this strategy also involves committing to the calendar you set, and learning to say no to activities that would interfere with your time you've blocked off to complete tasks.

Often, our tasks build up and they can seem overwhelming.  By using the strategies outlined above, we can effectively free some time to accomplish the things we want to do, instead of being bogged down by our workflow.


*Please Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. 


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