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Thursday, January 05, 2023
Are you the kind of person who struggles with to-do lists? Most people who are stuck trying to deal with task management are the ones most at risk of having their day run by the tyranny of the to-do list.
This process happens because most people are looking at tasks as a simple check box instead of a process that can be optimized. In order to move forward and create momentum, you don't need a new way to make lists, you need a new plan!
As we talk to people each day, the number one question we get is how to better manage all the tasks that they have each day. One of our number one teachings is that planning and success isn't about task management, it's about having clear plans for the day! What's going to follow will help you to get you momentum regardless of if you use a planner app or a paper planner. We know because this is how we lead high-performance teams and have for years!
To truly maximize what you're doing, first, you need to understand that for clarity's sake you must organize work visually. We use the two-calendar approach to set up time, and then your team can set up daily missions for the week's tasks. Finally moving to organizing tasks, assigning tasks, or delegating and project management.
So what is the two-calendar approach? If you lead or are a part of a team, this is without a doubt one of the most powerful tools you can use. If you want your team to be pulling in the same direction then you have to have a clear calendar for the team that is separate from each person's calendar. If you can implement these steps it will be even more powerful than your current task management tool.
Get a large blank wall calendar and gather the team to it with their personal planners. Have the team input major events that are going on in the company that will not move.
From this, you have a team-built major milestones list. Each month you will return here to have people input any time off requested and other major tasks. The key part of this is that the team comes together to create the milestones so that each person feels ownership.
Each week you must have a weekly planning session. Similar to step 1 each person should bring their planners. Make a list of the major goals that need to be accomplished for the week.
This allows others to be able to plan their workflow together and achieve common due dates. This creates a work breakdown structure, and each person is able to plan schedules.
Each person should have their own planner with the sections they need to complete, however, it is private to that person. This gives them space to plan their personal life and how to integrate their personal and professional lives together.
Plus each person feels their life in balance to drive happier team members despite the times of the year and workload. Each team member feels the why of what they're doing, and nothing is more powerful, no task management software is required.
Now that the team has a more clear plan, there is one more powerful tool to utilize that will help to organize teamwork. That tool is the daily mission.
A daily mission is a much more powerful tool than just a task list. When people simply take a tasks view, they are stuck with a top-down approach. You need a different way to manage work.
As you look at all the things you have to do in a given week, first categorize tasks based on similarity.
Each day, you need a mission to accomplish. Especially if you're a leader, your team's progress will be as successful as you are at your missions.
If you accomplish nothing else, make sure you have a clearly defined mission and complete it! From there you set your tasks around it.
If you make a comprehensive list for your week, now you have a powerful planner that will help you stay organized and collaborate in ways you couldn't before.
Now that you have your own daily mission, it's important that you have your team create theirs. Have them run the same plan, however, it's important that they are able to do this together. This allows the team to check to see if any two people have the same tasks and eliminate duplicate work. With the whole team on the same page, you can see compounding wins as momentum begins to work in your favor.
If you've been successful with what we've outlined above, then organizing tasks and assigning tasks should be much more simple. Just in case we're going to dive a little further into it.
As we said earlier, task management is more about mission management more than simply an on the go task system once you've set deadlines.
When it comes to task management its important to look and see who has a mission during the week that aligns with given tasks, then find who has the capacity. If none exists then the task falls to you as a leader.
One of the hardest things is getting two missions to collaborate. One of the big reasons that we advocate for the two-calendar approach is that you are better able to get a schedule view.
When two people need to collaborate then it's simply finding a common time when missions align. The team's discussions on this will spring board the collaboration and each person's planner lets them create the dedicated time needed and allow freedom to change assignments.
Recurring tasks can become a drag on productivity if left unchecked. It's important to regularly check in on what tasks have become recurring and why they are important. Apps can be a great way to keep track of them and set alerts for you or your team. Take a look at your company's subscription and see if one exists already.
Project management can be an extremely difficult thing for most planners. However, with the tools above the planner works great!
When planning major projects, a similar but slightly different process is required. The process will make your project management tool or project management software much more effective. As the team lead on a project you'll need to use a concept called the leader's intent.
For this to work, you have to have a clear outcome of what you'd like to have happen, however leaving enough room for the team to create ownership through project progress.
These managers will be in charge of making their specialty part. You as a leader should not be regularly meeting to check on progress. You have to trust your project managers and empower them to help you accomplish your mission.
Project managers are work management leaders. By setting up a schedule view of what's needed, deliverables stay on track to be accomplished in line with the intent.
In addition, it's the job of project managers to share files back and forth with the other manager. When the managers share files with each other it allows for conversation and collaboration without having to bring in the entire office suite of team members.
Finally its the job of the project manager to regularly release updates and updates tasks for the team lead to keep track of progress.
Your planner makes work management easy. If you are able to get the processes in line and intent going, then task management is just verifying that things are moving along based on mission completion. Work management through the use of a planner is this simple task management tool!
Delegation is a delicate art that only some learn to master well. The simple fact is that you cannot do everything all on your own. To some extent, you'll need to delegate if you're truly going to focus in on the 20% of things that will move you forward.
The number one rule is to delegate only when it helps you to focus in on your 20%. We know that for any given person there is likely 20% of tasks that are going to accomplish 80% of the results. If you need to alleviate a task that is detracting you from your 20% then it's okay to delegate it when possible.
When looking at who it is that you can assign tasks to, go back to who has what daily mission. If you are working with our two-calendar method then this process should go much easier. More than likely if you are working your planner method correctly, then you can assign a task from your plate that is a part of someone else's task list on their daily mission anyways.
In project management, one of the key tips to learn is when to drop tasks. To drop a task it has to meet certain criteria. When you drop a task it no longer gets to live on anyone's mission. It must be a task that the mission can still be accomplished without and it must be something that doesn't fit inside anyone else's mission. If it meets these criteria than you can consider dropping the task.
We hope that these tips will help you to get your teams moving in the right direction. We love to hear from you, so please reach out to us and let us know what's working and what you still need help on!