You’ve probably come to the realization at that managing tasks isn’t easy. Especially in an era where employees switch between apps over 1,000 times a day. Managing tasks across all of these apps - getting them done on time, with a high level of quality - is extremely difficult. It takes a lot of work, and without the right skills and tools, productivity can take a major hit.
Poor task management can result in wasted time, procrastination, and disorganization. Sometimes poor task management doesn’t necessarily mean your team isn’t working hard. It could just be that they’re working hard on unimportant tasks and activities that are unproductive. As President Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote, "What is urgent is seldom important and what is important is seldom urgent."
Proper task management will allow you and your employees to plan ahead better. With a little organizing and preparation, you’ll be able to boost your employees’ productivity. So what are some ways to improve task management, and how does this impact productivity across the organization?
Treat Time Like Money
Companies are careful about what they spend their money on. Management uses budgets and internal processes to ensure that money is spent in the right areas. Yet most companies and managers don’t treat time this way. We say yes to things that don't make sense for ourselves and our team members to spend time on.
The problem is that time cannot be earned back like money can. Many feel a sense of purpose when they’re hustling and grinding throughout the workday. But when you look at successful leaders, you’ll notice a common theme.
They use their time wisely, ensuring that - coming back to the quote from President Eisenhower - they are getting tasks done that are both urgent and important.
What if, as a manager, you could get everyone on board with this way of thinking? Wouldn’t it be nice to see deadlines consistently met? Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone felt they had enough hours in the day to complete their tasks?
After all, 68% of employees say they have too much to do on a daily basis and that they suffer from work overload. Employees are feeling that productivity is suffering, but it doesn’t have to be this way. By following a few essential task management tips, teams can be more effective and efficient.
Task Management Tips
Here are some task management tips that managers can give not only to their employees, but also use themselves. It may seem ironic that you need to take time away from doing productive work to focus on improving your productive, but you need to spend time to make time.
Use To-do Lists
Back in the day, to-do lists required pen and paper and had to be written down. When you wanted to rearrange priorities, you had to write the list all over again. You had to cross things off, remember where you put it, and write ideas on sticky notes.
Nowadays, we have technology to take care of all that. We can set reminders and notifications on any device in any location. And it doesn’t have to be text either, we can use images, videos, voice notes, and more.
That doesn’t mean you need to force employees to use these digital systems to make a to-do list. A pen and paper may work better for some people. But you should get them to make it a habit to arrange a list of things to do.
Give Clear Prioritization
To-do lists are useless if they don’t lead to higher productivity. Employees shouldn’t feel compelled to complete every task on their list within a certain time frame. But you can emphasize particular tasks of importance. In fact, you should eliminate low-value tasks altogether, according to Michael Mankins, Bain & Company partner and co-author of Time, Talent and Energy. By taking time to understand the strengths and weaknesses of a project, as well as the opportunities and threats, you can better understand the importance of tasks, which will help you prioritize them.
Schedule Tasks in a Thoughtful Way
Scheduling tasks is a great way to keep teams focused and less distracted. Distractions may seem harmless at the moment, but down the line, they can lead to major setbacks. Technology has done a great job at making people more productive, but at the same time, it can be the reason people get distracted.
In fact, employees (and yes, managers too!) may waste an average of 21.8 hours a week.
One thing you can do to ensure tasks get completed on time is to assign start and due dates to tasks. In particular, you can do so while balancing the number of hours and other tasks you expect your employees to work in a week. This helps people be more aware of the time they have to get everything done and helps them remember how long a particular task previously took.
Things don’t always go according to plan, setbacks happen, and deadlines are missed. Some things are just out of our control. But it’s important that teams don’t feel overwhelmed and feel down in such times. Instead, focus on the problem and how things can go more smoothly next time.
The last thing any workplace needs is a dip in morale. Unexpected changes are inevitable, but how you deal with obstacles doesn’t have to be. A little bit of patience goes a long way in the workplace.
Benefits of AI-Powered Task Management Software
Some of these tips take a bit more work to accomplish. For example, using to-do lists is a pretty obvious solution, so why aren't more people consistently doing it?
The challenge lies in the fact that all of these time saving tips actually require you to commit time to them! And many software tools, like most project management systems, make this even more time consuming. Indeed, traditional project management software requires hours of manual data entry and requires a steep learning curve.
That's where AI-Powered Task Management can help. Tools like MetaSpark automatically bring in everyone's tasks from every software tool you use. With accurate, data-driven insights into productivity across individuals, departments, and the entire organization, you and your team will be able to stay ahead of the competition.
To learn more about how MetaSpark can enhance employee productivity with improved task management, request a demo today.