Running a business comes with challenges. There are times you sit on top of a huge workload that may seem impossible to manage. Since your daily routine revolves around completing tasks one after another, it is essential to have a solid task management plan.
Assigning employees with tasks that are more than they can handle can put them in panic mode or cause them to overlook details they could have caught without the time pressure. To keep employees on track, you must employ good task management strategies that can increase employee productivity, minimize careless mistakes, and reduce overall costs.
Below are some helpful task management strategies to get you started.
1. Plan and prioritize
Planning is the soul of any project management in the workplace. Every project or business goal starts with planning. You have to look first at the bigger picture and understand the goals and urgency of the projects. After that, you can start dividing each task into smaller and more actionable steps to accomplish it faster and easier.
Remember, you have to set SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals to guide your projects and work towards what you want to achieve.
SMART goals may look something like this:
o Specific. This is the first step to ensure you are starting right on track. Having unclear goals can steer you in a different direction.
For instance, you don’t just say earn big by the end of the year. You have to set a specific amount as your target. So you can say you want to generate [$X,XXX] in revenue per month to double your earnings compared to last year.
o Measurable. To help track the progress and keep your team motivated to accomplish tasks, establish measurable goals. It should answer questions like: How many graphic design deliverables should be submitted at the end of the week? How much increase in social media engagement do you want to reach in three months? Creating a to-do list can be a simple and effective way to monitor work progress.
o Relevant. You can identify opportunities relevant to your business you may have overlooked before and determine the steps that can bring you closer to it.
o Realistic. Set goals that are possible to achieve to be successful. Develop practical strategies and be realistic when setting deadlines.
o Time-bound. Establish a time frame to motivate you and your team to focus on the steps needed to achieve the goals or finish tasks within a set period.
Learn how to distinguish between minor and major tasks. According to Covey’s Time Management Matrix, categorizing tasks based on the level of urgency and importance can help optimize efficiency and productivity.
2. Schedule tasks accordingly
Effective scheduling is crucial in monitoring plans and guiding your team about how much time is required to complete a project. Jot down all the tasks, deliverables, and milestones you want to achieve for each. As you identify the required tasks, break them down into smaller ones for a more accurate time estimate.
When creating a schedule, consider how complex a project is. For a large multi-phase one that may last for several years, your timeline should include all your goals and objectives for each year. For projects with tight deadlines, you can use time charts to plot all the tasks and subtasks and see how you would go about them sequentially.
A famous example of time charts is the Gantt Chart. It’s a simple way of organizing tasks, activities, or events based on a timeline.
You can also encourage your employees to set a deadline on their own aside from the official one to ensure they finish tasks on or before they’re due. You can utilize online calendars that help you set reminders or alerts, so no one would miss anything.
3. Delegate tasks to the right people
Being the business owner or the manager does not mean you have to take on multiple essential tasks. Your team is there for a reason, and you hired them for their experience and skills. Once you’ve identified all the tasks, delegate them to the right people.
Every one of them has a unique skill set and asset that will be beneficial to your team. You should figure out their strengths and weaknesses to help you analyze the best fit for a role or task for a more productive workflow.
If your team can’t handle some of the essential work, you may consider outsourcing them to third-party contractors or independent professionals. For instance, having a pile of important tasks may cause you to overlook your taxes and push them down on your list. If that’s the case, you may opt to outsource specific functions to a BPO company that can do it for you.
Monitoring your team is also crucial in managing the project, especially if it needs more hands-on involvement from you. It does not necessarily mean that you have to micromanage your workers. Supervising and being present whenever they have clarifications are enough management work. Give your team room to learn, show their strengths, and improve their skills.
4. Communicate with your team
Communication is key to having a successful project. Poor communication within the team could result in disorganization and a tense work environment, ultimately affecting productivity in the workplace. Encourage collaboration within the team and let them know that they can approach you any time. This is a crucial consideration in strengthening workplace culture.
To allow a more synergistic workplace, you can use team collaboration software and tools for easy interaction as you manage roles, assign tasks, set deadlines, and correspond with your team. Some examples of these platforms are Microsoft Teams, Google Chat, and Basecamp. Your team can also communicate and collaborate using these platforms.
Once you find the best strategy that works for everyone, establish it immediately for seamless communication across teams.
5. Productivity tools
In this fast-paced environment, your team must also keep up with the trend and use digital tools and technologies to optimize your processes. There is a whole range of productivity tools within your reach that you can use for effective task management to get things done easier. Some tools you can consider are Trello, Taskade, Google Keep, Notion, Google Sheets, and a whole lot more.
Aside from productivity apps, equipping your team with the best machines or equipment is also crucial for more efficient work performance. You can invest in top-of-the-line business computers, known for their user-friendliness and longevity, to help boost your team’s productivity and performance.
Managing a business is no easy feat. It can be overwhelming at times due to the number of tasks, pressure, and other concerns. That’s why it’s important to establish productive management practices to ensure you’re in the right direction.
An effective and efficient workforce is not something you can achieve overnight: planning and prioritizing tasks, creating a feasible schedule, delegating tasks, communicating with your team, and using productivity apps and task management software will be your tools to enhance your business processes.
Alan Shapiro is the CEO of Executive Boutique Call Center, an outsource call center and BPO provider that offers tremendous value and expertise in helping its customers with their multi-channel customer service, tech support, lead generation, and back office support. Since 2008, he has been helping his clients’ companies grow by providing them with high quality and reliable outsourcing services from their two offices in Cebu, Philippines. He spends his free time snowboarding, skiing, mountain biking and gardening.