Why You Need Task Manager Software — Not Just a To-Do List

By Chelsea Williams
Senior Copywriter
Jan 25 2024 read

As long as you get your work done, who cares how you do it?

If you find yourself agreeing with the above statement, you could be overlooking just how important individual tasks are.

Tasks are not just minor to-dos that you can store and check off without considering the outcome. They’re often the building blocks for big and meaningful projects.

Projects, especially when they’re for clients, can be fast-paced and stressful. Efficient and accurate task management matters.

In this article, we’ll talk about why outdated task lists don’t support modern project management approaches — and what a better task management tool looks like.

Limitations of Basic Task Management Tools

A simple to-do list may work for house chores but is too limited for business applications. 

If every member of your team lists their tasks in a separate place, they don’t have enough visibility to track the project’s overall progress. There’s also no reliable method of troubleshooting because you can’t hold people accountable for what you don’t see.

Just as it’s impossible to direct a ship when everyone is rowing in different directions, it’s impossible to complete a project when everyone is using a different task management strategy.

In worst-case scenarios, overlooking one critical task can lead to project shutdown.

Imagine an accounting firm using spreadsheets or a paper-based system to track client audits and tax filings. They could easily miss critical deadlines without real-time updates and oversight. Or, an engineering team might find they’ve overcommitted resources without a clear understanding of each person’s workload, leading to burnout and delays.

The risks and costs of limited task management can impact your business reputation and financial stability. A lack of clarity and direction can overwhelm your team, which contributes to higher turnover, slower project delivery and less innovation.

Plus, no matter your industry, your competitors are never far away. If they’re using advanced technology to streamline project management and you’re not, it doesn’t matter how detailed your task lists are. You’ll fall further behind every day. 

Let’s talk about how you can use task management strategy to make high productivity and profitability the norm.

How to End Task Confusion and Frustration

Your business processes will be more effective if you choose tech that elevates basic functions. To get away from inconsistent task management, find software that allows you to: 

  • Auto-create tasks from project plans instead of having to restart a task list for each new project.
  • Visualize the entire project timeline with integrated Gantt charts and Kanban boards.
  • Set up automated alerts and reminders for upcoming deadlines and project milestones.
  • Enable real-time collaboration and updates so all stakeholders can see task statuses.
  • Generate comprehensive reports and reference dashboards to improve productivity and utilization.

Good task manager software is a central hub for all project activities. Your team will no longer need to chase down information or wonder about their priorities. 

READ NEXT: Project Task Tracking Software: Vetting and Feature Considerations

What Is Task Manager Software?

Task management software is a tool that helps teams organize and prioritize tasks, view deadlines and check off tasks. Many task managers have functionalities that link tasks based on dependencies, send automated reminders for upcoming due dates, set up recurring tasks and build workflows for complex projects.

An effective task manager tool helps teams streamline work to improve efficiency, productivity and, ultimately, profitability.

How to Use a Task Manager

While all task management platforms are a bit different, you should aim to leverage as many features as possible. Here’s what your process might look like.

Understand the interface and features

Start by familiarizing yourself with the task manager’s interface. Typically when you open task manager software, the first thing you should see is a dashboard. The dashboard provides an overview of your projects, tasks, deadlines and performance metrics. Spend some time exploring:

  • Task lists: Where individual tasks are listed, often with the ability to categorize or prioritize.
  • Calendars: A visual representation of deadlines and milestones.
  • Reporting tools: Provide project summaries, a productivity analysis or even time-tracking data.

Set up your projects

Once you’re comfortable with the basic features, go ahead and input your project tasks in the taskbar. This might involve:

  • Defining the type and number of tasks: Based on the project scope and deliverables, figure out how you’ll structure your tasks and how many you have.
  • Creating and assigning tasks: Break the project down into tasks and subtasks and assign each of them to your team members. Provide clear deadlines for every task.
  • Setting milestones: Identify critical points in the project that you’ll use to gauge progress.

Collaborate with your team

Collaboration features ensure clear dialog among team members, as well as constant communication. Be sure to:

  • Regularly update task statuses: As tasks progress, keep your team informed of where they stand.
  • Use built-in communication tools: Many task programs have built-in messaging, commenting or notifications.
  • Share documents and resources: Use the platform’s ability to share files and resources that are relevant to each task or project.

Analyze and optimize

Finally, use your task management tool to analyze performance and optimize processes. This could look like:

  • Reviewing completed projects: What went well and what could you improve?
  • Tracking time: If there’s a time-tracking feature, use it to determine the true number of billable and non-billable hours your team is spending on any given project.
  • Generating reports: Use a built-in or integrated reporting tool to generate insights about productivity, resource allocation and more.

Why Use an Automated Task Manager?

Transitioning to sophisticated task manager software is like moving from a dimly lit room into bright sunlight. Suddenly, everything is connected and clear.

When you can see how tasks fit together with dependencies — and your team has the information they need to be proactive — managing projects is a radically different experience.

Accelo Automated Task Manager

In Accelo, you can create and view tasks associated with a sale, project, ticket, retainer or other object without leaving the screen you’re on.

Keep your project running at all times

An automated task manager ensures that your projects are always moving forward, even when you’re not watching. It automatically updates task statuses and assigns tasks based on availability. Notifications keep everyone aware of upcoming deadlines so that there’s as little dead time between tasks as possible.

Alleviate tedious background processes

The best task management softwares will offer templates and automated workflows to speed up all stages of project management. Routine tasks are swiftly and accurately handled. For example, compiling data for reports or sending follow-up reminders to clients whose payments are overdue.

Show your team timelines and milestones

A clear visual representation of project timelines and milestones keeps everyone on track, making it easier to anticipate upcoming tasks and adjust workloads. Visualizing an entire project lifecycle can help you predict and prevent bottlenecks.

Break down tasks into executable subtasks

Break down big, daunting tasks into smaller subtasks that are more manageable. That way, it’s clear what the next step is and who’s responsible. You can also assign deadlines and dependencies to each subtask, which links every stage of a project so that you can avoid going back to long, disconnected task lists.

Monitor resource usage in real time

It’s critical to understand how your resources are used. A task manager with powerful resource monitors, such as a team-scheduling feature, can show you the bigger picture. Bonus if it has time tracking to help you calculate your employee utilization rate.

Unlike a basic to-do list, software that’s made for project managers gives you the opportunity to reallocate resources mid-project and stick to the timeline you promised the client.

Task management software is a win-win: smoothly running processes benefit not only your team but also your clients.

Integrate Task Management for Even Greater Results

Intentional task management is a key component of successful project execution. But in isolation, even the most powerful task manager can fall short of helping you reach your business and project delivery goals.

To truly harness what’s possible with task management software, it should be integrated with all of your essential client work functions. Let’s explore the outcomes of connecting tasks with some of these functions.

  • Sales: Integrate task management with your sales process to ensure a smooth transition from prospect to active project. You’ll find it’s much simpler to manage and track every proposal, follow-up and negotiation step. The result: A shorter sales cycle and increased conversion rate.
  • CRM: Linking your CRM with tasks means every piece of key client data is captured, and any actionable tasks generated from your interactions are easy to attach to the client record. Your clients’ needs will be promptly addressed, leading to higher satisfaction and retention.
  • Retainer management: Retainers require constant monitoring so that you can follow through on delivery. Attaching tasks to retainers can give you confidence that your clients are receiving the full value of their long-term partnership with your business.
  • Client service: It should be easy to transform every request into a ticket with trackable tasks so that your clients’ concerns never go unaddressed. If you don’t have a dedicated help desk, integrating these key functions can speed up your resolution time and reduce non-billable administrative work.
  • Time tracking and billing: Every minute spent on a sale, project or ticket should be accounted for and billed accurately. What you get: Clearer invoices with an audit trail, which encourage clients to submit payment faster.

Your client work doesn’t begin when you open your laptop and set up a project. It starts the moment you make contact with a lead and nurture them as a prospect. It continues when they reach out for support as an existing client and consider signing on for recurring work. 

Tasks are the threads that connect each and every one of these stages, so they should be managed in a central place.

Australian consulting firm TradiePad used Accelo’s triggers and progressions to reduce lag time between tasks. As a result, they increased productivity by 30%.

The Future of Task Management in Client Work

In the past, task management may have been something you could handle on your own. It was little more than a checklist before task manager software arrived on the scene. Now, it’s about being dynamic and adaptable. As the professional services market evolves, you need technology that can help you excel despite any pressures that arise. 

The right task-tracking software is a strategic asset. And a platform with end-to-end client work features tremendously enhances that asset's value.

Don’t just manage tasks — streamline your entire client work lifecycle with Accelo. Book a demo to take the first step toward a more integrated, efficient and profitable future.


About the Author


Chelsea Williams is Senior Copywriter at Accelo, where she shares unique insights with service professionals and tells user stories via blogs, eBooks, industry reports and more. She has over 15 years of B2B and B2C writing experience — primarily in tech, sales, education and healthcare. Chelsea is an AWAI-certified Master Copywriter trained in brand storytelling and microcopy.

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