Being one from the marketing industry, I have always known the value of time, the value of grabbing opportunities as quickly as possible, and the value of making and implementing decisions as soon as I possibly can. Now I have a whole team working with me, and they have their own productivity meters to look after.
I’ll tell you what I often tell the members of my team, “Work on managing your time, productivity will follow soon after.”. The trick to better productivity, and consequently, better results, is the better management of time.
You might be surprised to know that managing time is not all about making a time table for yourself. Rather, it is more about taking active steps to improve what you do with this valuable resource.
Being the manager, it is my responsibility to decide what needs to be done to improve the collective productivity of my team. Since the answer to the problem of productivity is managing time, I choose to pick my time management battles, and focus my energy on doing the following 9 things:
Working on goals, in my opinion, isn’t just about jotting down what you want to achieve, or what you want your team to achieve, it is about the constant effort we as leaders need to put in, every day and every chance we see fit.
Setting a daily goal is a good tactic to keep the team on the mission, however, it’s better when these goals are divided into actual, doable tasks.
This is why I try to make every morning all about deciding what needs to be done throughout the day.
Therefore, the first thing I do, when I get into the office, is:
- Take a look at the ongoing projects,
- Revisit the defined priorities,
- Decide what needs to be achieved today, and
- Divide those short-term goals into doable tasks.
I know you can all relate to this one, you set a schedule for your team, you define a tried and tested workflow, but after a year or so it doesn’t prove to be as helpful to you as it was in the beginning. These revelations are bound to show up. You know why? The market environment changes, the client requirements change, your resources change, heck, even your team members change.
Therefore, as a manager, you need to know exactly when your plan isn’t working for you anymore. You must know when exactly it is time to set a new plan, thus, you must work to achieve the three “R”s:
- Renew, and
- Repeat. ### 3 Stop Thinking, Start Acting; NOW Document all the dreams that have taken too long to cultivate into actionable plans. Jot down all the unachievable targets you and your team have had over the years. Now fit the tasks leading up to these targets into your daily agendas.
For instance, in the Agile methodology for managing projects, the team breaks down goals into priorities, and then, priorities into tasks, this helps them turn plans into successful tangible outcomes.
This is a more modern approach to switching up productivity and dealing with time management issues head-on.
I, personally believe that if plans remain just plans for too long, you aren’t invested in them enough to watch them reach fruition. Let’s not let that happen. Let us stop thinking and start doing, just pick a direction, and run in it.
In this article, you read a lot about how it is important to break goals into tasks. However, it is also important to set achievable goals. Therefore, it’s best to break goals into smaller, realizable milestones.
I would recommend setting weekly goals and allowing your team to contribute their time, working in portions to achieve these goals.
At ProofHub, for instance, we set weekly targets and avoid looking at the big picture at times, because we are aware of how overwhelming it can be to be aware of the heavy backlog that hangs above.
I have witnessed that people who have recurring tasks are more likely to fall into a pit of dreadful monotony. If you have teammates who are always engaged in only one niche of tasks, then you must know, you may be playing a dangerous game.
As A.G Buckham once said, “Monotony is the awful reward of the careful”. If the mission is to stay on task, innovation is your key.
It’s not like we need to change the agenda or the requirements, but it stands to reason that we need to add new tactics to the plan. You could try doing things like:
- Switching up the workflow.
- Changing the type of work that the individual employees have been engaged in for a long time.
- Using automation tools to ease up the efforts that go into attempting the recurring tasks.
- Involve your team members in daily activities like giving them little brain teasers or making them come up with productivity quotes that best motivate them.
- You could also include them in more than one project. If a person is busy managing a marketing campaign, you could include them in the party planning committee.
Here’s a solution that I really like. As a flexible manager, who likes working on herself as much as everyone else in my team, I find this solution riveting and much useful.
Have your team members come up with their own tactics to boost their productivity. Some might end up distancing themselves from their phones, some might start to take more 5-minute breaks to reboot themselves over and over again, while some might increase their coffee intakes.
The key is that you need to be patient and accommodating enough to let your employees try their own methods to work on themselves, their productivity, and their growth.
Leadership and management work best for a person when that person is willing to learn more, take risks and aim for collective growth. There are a lot of reasons for keeping on trying new hacks to keep your team on the productivity track, for instance:
When you put in efforts to work on team productivity, your team will be willing to work with you and improve on the same aspect.
Trying new things means, one of those things is definitely going to work for your people, when you find that one thing, or probably, a combination of 2 or more different things, you can easily stick to that regiment and work on your issues.
Therefore, as a wise manager, you must keep studying, keep learning, and keep experimenting to find productivity hacks that are going to work well for your team.
The one thing that I am really proud of achieving as a manager is helping my team automate their recurring tasks and workflows as a whole. Not only do these tools help us keep track of a marketing directory, automatically update industry-related news, but these also help us view our tasks and the project timeline.
There are a number of tools out there that can help you automate your business with the help of project templates and such. My team makes use of an all-in-one project management tool that helps us keep track of our schedule, our backlog, and important meeting highlights.
If you're in the e-commerce industry you can cut out on development time by implementing a CMS solution. You can also try tools like Kanban boards, etc, and experiment with their effect on productivity.
“Delegation is not merely assigning tasks and waiting until the work is finished. It is about choosing the right people for the job and making your expectations clear and concise.” — Sandeep Kashyap
There are 6 delegation hacks a good manager needs to follow:
- Setting down realistic expectations.
- Providing clear instructions.
- Ensuring proper training.
- Finding the best person for the job.
- Check the progress of delegated tasks regularly.
- Share intelligence and provide proper resources.
The Bottom Line
Whether you are a leader who wants to focus on managing time or you are one who wants to watch your team working with greater productivity, you must understand that you are working towards the same goals.
The most important thing that I needed to let you know through this article is that you can keep everyone and everything on track by focusing on just one of these two parameters. I, for instance, prioritize productivity to improve our time management in the process.
I am sure you will find these 9 tips helpful and try them on your own time very soon.
All the best!