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5 ways your productivity can be improved

Shyamal Parikh, founder of SmartTask, an online work management tool, suggests five ways task management can contribute to your productivity

Be it preparing a report, finishing data entry work or just cooking dinner, we are all managing hundreds of tasks every day.

When we are a part of a team though, we don’t just work in our individual silos. We have to depend on our teammates and work on multiple tasks with various responsibilities.

Without task management, it’s easy to get caught up in unnecessary emails and work and at the end of the day find yourself having an unproductive day.

To combat this problem, below are five ways in which task management can help increase personal as well as team productivity.

1. Better planning and collaboration

Has it ever happened that a task was given to you but later you found out that someone else on your team was mistakenly working on the same task?

Or that a misunderstanding ensued between two teammates because there was no proper accountability?

That’s where task management comes to our rescue.

Setting up tasks on your task management software and assigning it to your team before you start a project makes sure there is no confusion later on. Doing this along with proper deadlines for each task and milestone ensures that things stay on track and get completed on time.

When I used to work at a consulting company a few years back, we faced a lot of problems when it came to proper collaboration and communication. 

At a time, we would be caught up in multiple projects.

We solely relied on emails back then. So when anyone had a query regarding their work, they had to either call their supervisor or send an email to a teammate. 

Surely we would get a response but many times, work stopped in between because of the delay in replies.

Once we shifted to a task management system though, this response time got curtailed. All due to the fact that the system allowed us to comment our queries on the task itself and get the matter resolved much more quickly.

Not to mention the reduction in the number of mails sent internally. After all, who likes to wake up to 25 unread emails in their inbox?

2. Equitable workloads

Let’s suppose you have two programmers on your team. For a new project, you assigned both of them equal work. At the end of the month, you realise that programmer A is lagging far behind in his work.

You send him an email saying that he needs to catch up quickly, otherwise the project will risk getting delayed. 

As soon as the project gets completed, programmer A seems to be completely detached from his work and you think he might consider leaving the organisation.

A few days later, you were going through the different project analysis reports and you found out that while programmer B was working on just one project, programmer A was working on three projects.

Before you get a chance to resolve this issue, the damage has already been done. A study by Kronos reveals that 20-50% of employees quit their jobs because of burnout (work overload, overtime and unfair compensation)

A project management software aids you in this and lets you see each employee’s workload and assign tasks accordingly.

3. Prioritised work

It isn’t necessary that everyone in the team would be working on just one project. Some people would possibly be working on multiple projects.

Multiple projects means many tasks.

So how does a person know which to work on now and which can be delayed a little?

If there is no proper instructions or procedure, important tasks could get delayed and it could risk delaying the entire project as well.

With the help of proper task management, you can assign priorities to individual tasks so that everyone understands and takes the same into consideration while planning their schedule.

But what if a person has two tasks with the same priority status and deadline?

There are two ways to approach this. You can delegate a task to someone else on the team who knows how to do the work, considering they have time on their hands. 

If that isn’t possible, you have to figure out how to complete that task in less time or you could complete the highest priority parts of that task and defer the rest for a later time.

4. Time saving

Suppose, you have the responsibility of preparing a project scope every time a new project starts. 

Instead of starting from scratch, you could use a task management system  and make a template that you can duplicate for every new project.

Making templates for repeated processes and tasks also helps the new joinee get familiarized with the company processes and way of working.

Another way task management saves time and makes work a lot more easier is by eliminating the need for constant meetings. Unnecessary meetings not only wastes time, it kills efficiency too.

So, instead of having regular meetings for status updates, supervisors and other stakeholders can view the progress of every task and project on the system itself. For all other kinds of meetings, the meeting head can share the agenda of the meeting on the system well before the meeting so that everyone can come prepared and the meeting gets finished well in time.

Go one step further and allow your employees to stay away from the meeting if they have more pressing work or they feel they don’t have anything to contribute to the meeting. 

You could also have someone take notes during the meeting so that you can put it up on the system for those who couldn’t attend.

5. Accessibility

In an earlier project, I had two teammates with me working on the same report. As per the company policy, we had to get the report approved by the client before finalising.

Due to too much work pressure, instead of submitting the finalised report to the client, a teammate sent out the earlier version of it mistakenly. Things took a really bad turn and it took a week for our supervisor to bring things back to normal.

This happens a lot when we are working on the same report, presentation or even an Excel sheet. While things may not get as bad for you as it did with us, it’s definitely a problem that cannot be overlooked.

Instead of going through a bulk of emails in our inboxes to find the latest version of the document, a task management system allows you to attach the same to a task so there’s no confusion.

As companies expand to work all over the globe, this becomes all the more important. A teammate working from a different time zone wouldn’t have to wait till office reopens in the headquarters to get access to something.

All they need to do is log in to the software and get what they require to start with their work.

This gets rid of those unnecessary calls and emails and helps you use your time productively.

While there are many more advantages of a task management system, these are a few to start with. At the end of the day, it all depends on how efficiently we can make use of things and be more productive in our lives.

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