How to Use ChatGPT to Organize Your Tasks

How organized are your tasks? Do you have them organized into clean categories where every task has a place and every task is in its place?

Or are your tasks more like dirty socks in a teenager’s bedroom, scattered into random piles, sometimes matching and making sense, but other times looking like a Jackson Pollock painting?

Today we’re going to look at how ChatGPT can help you organize your tasks more effectively.

About ChatGPT

ChatGPT is an AI chatbot from OpenAI. ChatGPT comes in two flavors: the free version provides access to version 3.5 which provides decent answers to the prompts below, but not always optimized. For $20/month you can upgrade to ChatGPT Plus which provides access to version 4 and beta features like plugins. Register for an account or log in here.

The Benefits of Organizing Your Tasks

One of the keys to being productive is organizing your tasks properly. But why do it?

  1. Improve Clarity
    Good organization gives you a clear picture of what’s ahead. When tasks are scattered and unorganized, it’s easy to overlook certain responsibilities or underestimate the time they require. Organizing your tasks gives you a bird’s eye view of your commitments, helping you plan your time more effectively.
  2. Reduce Stress
    Ever been overwhelmed by the looming sense of too much to do and too little time? With your tasks neatly organized, you can see exactly what you need to do and when, reducing the chaos and the associated stress.
  3. Get More Done
    Knowing exactly what needs to be done, you can strategically allocate your energy and focus, reducing wasted time and increasing your output.

And here’s the cherry on top: with tools like ChatGPT, task organization becomes a breeze. This AI assistant doesn’t just streamline the process, it makes it interactive and adaptable to your needs.

How to Use ChatGPT to Create Task Categories

If you don’t have your tasks categorized yet, ChatGPT can help. In this section, I’m going to walk you through different ways you can prompt ChatGPT to provide categories that suit your specific needs. If you already have categories, jump to the next section.

Ask for Categories Based On Your Job

Which categories you use to organize your tasks depend on what job you do. The categories a solopreneur coach needs differ from those a journalist at a magazine needs. Luckily, we can prompt ChatGPT to give us customized categories using this prompt template:

List the categories that would help a [type of job] to categorize their tasks.

For instance, if I ask ChatGPT:

List the categories that would help an independent lawyer to categorize their tasks.

The response I get is:

For an independent lawyer, the range of tasks can be wide and varied. Categorizing these tasks can help improve productivity and efficiency. Here are some potential categories for an independent lawyer’s tasks:

  1. Client Communication: Meetings, phone calls, emails, video conferences, or any other form of communication with clients.
  2. Case Research: Researching case law, legislation, and legal principles relevant to the cases being handled.
  3. Document Review and Preparation: Reviewing documents provided by clients or opposing parties, preparing legal documents like contracts, pleadings, affidavits, or briefs.
  4. Legal Drafting: Writing legal documents such as contracts, wills, trusts, and pleadings.
  5. Court Appearances: Hearings, trials, or other court appearances.
  6. Negotiations and Mediation: Interacting with opposing counsel or parties, negotiating settlements, and participating in mediation or arbitration sessions.
  7. Professional Development: Continuing legal education, attending seminars, reading legal updates, networking, etc.
  8. Administrative Tasks: Billing, maintaining client files, managing appointments, updating case management software, etc.
  9. Marketing and Business Development: Updating website content, writing blogs or articles, networking events, client meetings, public speaking engagements.
  10. Strategic Planning: Defining goals and strategies for the legal practice, evaluating performance, identifying growth opportunities.
  11. Regulatory Compliance: Ensuring compliance with bar association rules, professional conduct guidelines, and other legal practice regulations.

Remember, the way an independent lawyer categorizes their tasks can vary depending on their specific practice area, workload, and personal preferences. The key is to create a system that helps manage time and resources effectively.

As you can see, ChatGPT knows that an independent lawyer doesn’t work at a firm that handles tasks like marketing and billing, so needs to do these support tasks themself (or manage others who helps with these).

If we change “an independent lawyer” to “a lawyer at a big law firm”, ChatGPT adjusts the list by removing “Marketing and Business Development” and adding “Team Collaboration”.

Derive Categories from a List of Tasks

What if you already have a list of tasks, but are unsure how to organize those tasks? ChatGPT can help here too.

Provide [number range] categories I can use to organize the tasks below.

[list of tasks]

For instance, if we ask ChatGPT:

Provide 5-7 categories I can use to organize the tasks below.

Switch banks
Pay taxes
Start ad campaign
Redesign web site
Return package to Amazon
Send invoices
Do client work
Review Q4 performance
Develop Q1 strategy
Take out trash
Daily social media posts
Bring car to mechanic
Publish and promote new blog post
Finish major project for key client
Write proposal for new client

The response we get is:

Here are categories you can use to organize the tasks you listed:

  1. Personal Tasks:
    • Switch banks
    • Pay taxes
    • Return package to Amazon
    • Take out trash
    • Bring car to mechanic
  2. Marketing and Advertising:
    • Start ad campaign
    • Redesign website
    • Daily social media posts
    • Publish and promote new blog post
  3. Client Work:
    • Do client work
    • Finish major project for key client
    • Write proposal for new client
  4. Business Administration:
    • Send invoices
    • Review Q4 performance
    • Develop Q1 strategy

Note that these are just broad categories. Depending on your specific role, you might need more granular categories or different ones entirely. These are a good starting point and can be modified as needed to suit your workflow.

Notice that ChatGPT returns 4 categories, which is outside the range of 5–7. ChatGPT doesn’t actually know how to count. However, the range helps ChatGPT determine how granular we’d like the categories to be.

If we use the same prompt, but with 9–11 as our range, ChatGPT returns:

Certainly! You can use more specific categories to help organize your tasks more granularly:

  1. Personal Finances:
    • Switch banks
    • Pay taxes
  2. Personal Errands:
    • Return package to Amazon
    • Bring car to mechanic
    • Take out trash
  3. Online Marketing:
    • Start ad campaign
    • Daily social media posts
    • Publish and promote new blog post
  4. Website Management:
    • Redesign website
  5. Client Project Work:
    • Do client work
    • Finish major project for key client
  6. New Business Development:
    • Write proposal for new client
  7. Billing and Invoicing:
    • Send invoices
  8. Performance Analysis:
    • Review Q4 performance
  9. Business Strategy:
    • Develop Q1 strategy

These categories should help you keep your tasks organized and easier to manage. Remember, these categories can be adjusted as needed to fit your particular needs and workflow.

Use Shorter Category Names

Some of the category names above are too long to easily use in a task management system—either they take too long to write if you’re using a written system or take up too much space or get truncated if you are using an online system.

ChatGPT can help here too. First let’s start off with this prompt:

Make these categories more succinct:

[list of categories]

Let’s see how this works on the list of categories for an independent lawyer we generated earlier:

Make these categories more succinct:

Client Consultations
Case Research
Document Drafting
Court Appearances
Negotiations
Administrative Tasks
Professional Development
Marketing and Business Development
Client Acquisition
Regulatory Compliance
Case Management

ChatGPT returns:

Sure, here are more succinct versions of those categories:

  1. Consultations
  2. Research
  3. Drafting
  4. Court
  5. Negotiations
  6. Admin
  7. Development
  8. Marketing
  9. Acquisition
  10. Compliance
  11. Management

You’ll notice that while ChatGPT did make the categories more succinct, some of the categories lost their meaning. “Professional Development” became simple “Development” and “Case Management” became simply “Management”.

Let’s refine the prompt so ChatGPT retains the meaning of each category:

Make the categories below more succinct by doing the following:

– Remove redundant words
– Use well-known abbreviations
– Use synonyms that are shorter

Make sure not to lose the meaning of each category. Use more words if shortening the category would cause it to imply a different type of task.

[categories]

Notice how now we’re giving ChatGPT more explicit instructions on how to make the categories more succinct. We’re also explicitly telling it not to lose the meaning of each category as it shortens them.

When we use this improved prompt with the same list of categories we get:

Here are your categories made more succinct following your instructions:

  1. Consults
  2. Case Res.
  3. Doc Drafting
  4. Court Visits
  5. Negotiations
  6. Admin
  7. ProDev
  8. BizDev
  9. Client Onboarding
  10. Reg. Compliance
  11. Case Mgmt

While we may want to refine these even further manually, this is a good start for succinct categories we can use to organize our tasks.

How to Use ChatGPT to Categorize Your Tasks

What if you already have categories—either ones you generated above or ones you previously created on your own? Can ChatGPT help you speed up the process of organizing your tasks into these categories. Absolutely!

To ask ChatGPT to categorize our tasks for us, we’re going to use this prompt template:

Organize the tasks delimited by — into the following categories:

[list of categories]



[list of tasks]

Notice that we’re using a delimiter here—3 dashes in a row—to separate the list of categories from the list of tasks. Adding a delimiter helps ChatGPT distinguish between the list of categories and the list of tasks. The actual delimiter doesn’t matter as long as it’s used consistently and doesn’t appear in the lists you’re using.

We could have also provided the categories as a comma-separated list within the instruction itself, but I find it helpful to see one category per line when I’m editing and organizing tasks.

Let’s try this with our sample list of tasks from above:

Organize the tasks delimited by — into the following categories:

Accounting
Chores
Clients
Marketing
Strategy

Switch banks
Pay taxes
Start ad campaign
Redesign web site
Return package to Amazon
Send invoices
Do client work
Review Q4 performance
Develop Q1 strategy
Take out trash
Daily social media posts
Bring car to mechanic
Publish and promote new blog post
Finish major project for key client
Write proposal for new client

ChatGPT responds with:

Absolutely, here are the tasks organized into the specified categories:

Accounting:

  • Switch banks
  • Pay taxes
  • Send invoices

Chores:

  • Return package to Amazon
  • Take out trash
  • Bring car to mechanic

Clients:

  • Do client work
  • Finish major project for key client
  • Write proposal for new client

Marketing:

  • Start ad campaign
  • Redesign web site
  • Daily social media posts
  • Publish and promote new blog post

Strategy:

  • Review Q4 performance
  • Develop Q1 strategy

Remember, these categories are flexible and can be adjusted based on your unique situation and needs.

ChatGPT nicely organizes all of our tasks into the categories we’ve chosen.

How to Use ChatGPT to Prioritize Your Tasks

Prioritization—the thing we all know we need to do, but so many of us resist doing. Given a long list of tasks, it can be tricky to figure out exactly how to prioritize each item. Instead, we gravitate to what is easiest or top of mind.

Why don’t we let ChatGPT prioritize our tasks for us?

Even when ChatGPT doesn’t prioritize our tasks exactly how we would, it gives us a starting point to work from. Usually it’s easier to adjust an existing set of priorities than to generate those priorities from scratch.

Let’s look at different ways we can ask ChatGPT to prioritize our tasks.

Rank Tasks Based on High-Level Priorities

If we know what our high-level priorities are, the process of prioritizing our tasks is mostly grunt work. We need to go through each task, decide how it maps to our high-level priorities and then use that to rank it within our full list of tasks. That grunt work is actually perfect for GPT.

To rank tasks based on an existing set of high-level priorities, let’s use this prompt template:

Prioritize the tasks delimited by — given that my overall priorities are:

[list of high-level priorities]

[list of tasks]

Let’s give ChatGPT the example tasks we’ve been using with a list of 3 high-level priorities:

Prioritize the tasks delimited by — given that my overall priorities are:

– Get paid for work I’ve already completed
– Service my existing clients
– Find new clients

Switch banks
Pay taxes
Start ad campaign
Redesign web site
Return package to Amazon
Send invoices
Do client work
Review Q4 performance
Develop Q1 strategy
Take out trash
Daily social media posts
Bring car to mechanic
Publish and promote new blog post
Finish major project for key client
Write proposal for new client

ChatGPT responds with:

Given your priorities, here is a possible way to order your tasks:

  1. Send invoices: This is the most direct way to get paid for work you’ve already completed.
  2. Do client work: Servicing existing clients is your next priority, and this directly contributes to it.
  3. Finish major project for key client: This is crucial for maintaining good relationships with your existing clients, and potentially getting paid more if it’s a milestone-based project.
  4. Review Q4 performance: Reviewing your performance can provide insights on improving your services for existing clients and help identify strategies for attracting new ones.
  5. Write proposal for new client: As per your priority of finding new clients.
  6. Start ad campaign: This can help attract new clients.
  7. Publish and promote new blog post: This is a part of content marketing that can also help in attracting new clients.
  8. Daily social media posts: Maintaining your social media presence can contribute to getting new clients and retaining existing ones.
  9. Redesign web site: A user-friendly and updated website can enhance your online presence and attract new clients.
  10. Develop Q1 strategy: It’s important to plan for the future, but it comes after immediate client service and payment needs.
  11. Switch banks: This seems more of an administrative task. Unless your current banking situation is preventing you from receiving payments or affecting your work, this can be lower on the priority list.
  12. Pay taxes: Important, but doesn’t directly contribute to your immediate priorities unless a deadline is imminent.
  13. Bring car to mechanic: Unless your work is highly dependent on your car, this can be lower on your list.
  14. Return package to Amazon: Seems to be a personal task not directly related to your work priorities.
  15. Take out trash: Another personal task that is lower in priority given your stated work priorities.

Remember that these priorities can change based on deadlines, the time sensitivity of certain tasks, and other factors. Make sure to adjust as necessary!

Notice that ChatGPT not only rank orders our tasks, but explains why it chose this order. We can use this reasoning to decide whether we agree or not with ChatGPT and make adjustments as necessary.

Determine Priority Levels Based on High-Level Priorities

Not all task management systems support rank-ordered task lists, and even with those that do, it’s sometimes helpful to tag tasks with specific priority levels.

Let’s ask ChatGPT to categories our tasks into priority levels based on our high-level priorities using this prompt template:

Categorize the tasks delimited by — into priority levels from 1-5, where 1 is highest priority, given that my overall priorities are:

[list of high-level priorities]

Don’t explain why you are categorizing each task into that priority level.



[list of tasks]

Notice that for this prompt I asked ChatGPT to skip the explanations. This makes its response more succinct and easier to read.

Using this prompt template with the same high-level priorities and tasks that we used in the previous section, ChatGPT responds with:

Sure, here are the tasks categorized into priority levels from 1-5:

Priority Level 1:

  • Send invoices
  • Do client work
  • Finish major project for key client

Priority Level 2:

  • Write proposal for new client
  • Start ad campaign
  • Publish and promote new blog post

Priority Level 3:

  • Review Q4 performance
  • Daily social media posts

Priority Level 4:

  • Redesign web site
  • Develop Q1 strategy

Priority Level 5:

  • Switch banks
  • Pay taxes
  • Bring car to mechanic
  • Return package to Amazon
  • Take out trash

We can easily go through this list of priorities and tag them in our existing task management system.

In Summary

ChatGPT can be a powerful assistant to help you organize your tasks. As you can see though, it may take more than one prompt to get the results you want.

The aim of this article was not only to teach you how to organize your tasks using ChatGPT, but to introduce you to some of the “prompt engineering” techniques that can help you be more effective when using ChatGPT and other AI assistants. Using the techniques in this article, you can customize your prompts to get results that better match what you are looking for.

Please share this article with others who you think would find these techniques helpful.

Keep Learning

Don’t stop with this article. Subscribe to keep improving your time management & productivity skills.

You Must Also Like

Try Day Optimizer Today

Want to stop feeling overwhelmed and regain control of your time? To create plans that help you focus on your priorities while maintaining a work-life balance?

Day Optimizer helps you create realistic daily plans using guided workflows that help you plan better.