Hands up if you need more hours in the day? The chances are if your hands are down, it’s because you’re too busy spinning plates!
Pressures on modern managers are intense and complex, particularly if you’re meeting daily goals as well as pursuing ambitious business growth strategies. Keeping control and avoiding massive amounts of stress, revolves around effective task management. For the year ahead, here are some refreshers – and possibly fresh tips – on how to achieve streamlined task management, to get to your end goals.
Take time to stop!
Most organisations now have a company vision and a plan to reach it. But how often does your management team re-evaluate and measure this, against your current business status? Taking time out from pursuing your goals to reappraise them can seem like a “luxury”. However, it can be vital to gauge whether you need to change working systems and practices or adjust the priorities attached to key tasks.
Reflection and review also give you a golden opportunity to realign tasks when daily business life has thrown in distractions or obstacles.
Don’t sweat the little things
Being constantly alert to your business status, and ready to amend and redirect tasks, should run alongside automating as many of your mundane and repetitive actions as possible. Modern technology within a digital workplace is often underutilised. Take time out to explore how your intranet and other systems can automate day to day activities, supported by good measurement and analysis.
This builds in greater agility too. Automation frees up more time to respond quickly to new tasks and opportunities.
This is a term much loved in social media! It also has a role to play in focused and effective task management.
It’s easy to steam forwards “feeling” that you have the backing and support of a clued-up team. However, the time you invest in checking in with them is never wasted. Are they still fully committed to your shared business vision? Are they comfortable and confident in their roles? Are there any areas of overlap, miscommunication or even conflict that need to be addressed?
Also, a lot more can be achieved if each squad has its own goals. End to end digital integration, connectivity and control are the nervous system of modern businesses. Each limb can still have its own clear purposes and aims. Also, make sure every team has checkpoints and feedback, to help them to stay on track and regularly re-focus on their most important tasks.
To some degree, empowering teams also links to the tip above. Use your intranet software to give your team access to better information and more opportunities for collaboration and idea sharing.
In a busy business that’s firmly focused on the future, one of the first things to suffer is sometimes cross-company communication. Your teams will feel better recognised, supported and inspired if they are part of a consistent two-way communications process. In fact, at times of intense pressure and change, this is an even more crucial task. One that requires additional time and concentration from managers.
Well configured intranet software makes this easier to manage and less prone to periods of the management team being set on “mute”. An effortless communications flow supported by good intranet software is scalable too and can be adjusted and controlled in seconds. Which is far preferable to hurriedly trying to organise team briefings, or long drawn out email threads to change direction or seek feedback!
Intranet software also fulfils another important imperative of task management in busy times. It leaves the door permanently open to employees who want to comment, ask questions or make suggestions. No company should ever be too busy to listen to their staff. In some respects, it’s a more important task than listening to customers!
Underpin with the best task management software
How many times do companies search on “what’s the best task management software for my business?”. Really, it’s a question only you can answer!
Don’t be tempted to migrate to an “off the shelf” solution or task management software that worked for a business contact. Creating an authentic and effective digital workplace is a highly bespoke process. That includes building in task management functions perfectly attuned to your unique business identity.
The software must be configured specifically to what you want to achieve, and your day to day business operations, as part of overarching management control and transparency. This includes having the degree of task automation you need, as mentioned above, but also the capacity to help your team to prioritise tasks and measure their time effectively. It should make it easy to draw down information from any part of your organisation, in support of achieving their goals efficiently.
A note of caution though. If your task management software is highly rigid and prescriptive, you could be missing an important commercial advantage. Remember, your team and how you communicate with them is crucial. Even in a streamlined and slick digital workplace, there should be the capacity to let staff use their own initiative and self-manage their responsibilities. Productivity goes up when that degree of trust and motivation is part of your everyday culture and working practices.