Prioritizing work, staying on track and accurate goal setting are essential elements to your team being able to deliver projects or tasks on time. In this blog post we will explore techniques that increase your team’s effectiveness in meeting deadlines.
Prioritizing Tasks and Projects for Your Team
When dealing with many tasks, prioritizing work becomes an important step for the team to perform.
Using the WRAP technique in prioritizing will help your team start their day on the right foot. The team should avoid approaching the day unplanned or haphazardly. Once they take the time to prioritize the things they have to complete in the day, the team will have a sense of direction. Let’s take a look more closely at the WRAP technique.
When the team starts their day, they should take inventory of the things you have to complete and Write them on a to-do planner. They may have things on their to-do list already. That is okay. They can just add the other tasks on them.
Once the task is in the to-do book, Rank each task by importance. You may use numbers or letter, but do not exceed more than three rankings. You want to be able to keep track of the most important tasks. Making your ranking system from 1-20 or from A to Z, will make it ineffective in determining which are all the important tasks. There are several questions you can ask yourself to help rank the tasks. Here are some examples:
- When is it due?
- For whom is it for?
- Is it related to a specific project?
- Can this be done later?
- Is another task dependent on this one to be finished before it can move on?
Once ranked, Anticipate how long each task is going to take. If the team runs out of time for all the tasks, move those tasks, which should be low priority, to the next day and rank them higher by one category.
Once the time is set, Perform each task as planned, guarding against time-wasters. The prioritized list is the team’s guide for the day. Remember to calculate into the prioritized list the time needed to attend meetings and the time needed to make telephone calls.
The Secret to Keeping Your Team on Track
Aside from managing the schedule vigorously, the team should develop behaviors that help them enjoy their work. Becoming bored or frustrated could easily become distractions that will cause the team to lose sight of their daily objective of being effective and efficient.
Encourage team members to leave their home issues at home and leave their work issues at work. When they begin mixing the two worlds, they will experience fatigue and perhaps unnecessary conflict. These conflicts are major distractions that will easily take them off track, causing them to miss deadlines.
Another secret is for the team to schedule their creative work in the morning. Things like writing a proposal or presentation require creative thinking, and the majority of people are most creative in the morning. Most people have more energy and thrive in the early part of their day. Once the afternoon comes, they will probably have lost most of their zip. Save work that is repetitive or mundane for the afternoon. Tasks like running a report or filing require less energy. Trying to perform creative tasks in the afternoon could become a frustrating experience, causing the team to get off track.
Finally, track progress, check off things that the team have accomplished and celebrating completed tasks are helpful in boosting team morale. Many times team members do not get the pat on the back or recognition on a daily basis that helps motivate them to keep a high level of energy and productivity. Take the time to track and celebrate the team’s achievements. Whenever we check off a task on our to-do list, a chemical reaction takes place in the brain that gives us a good feeling. These chemicals are called endorphins. You get them all the time when someone tells you that you did a great job or when you take a moment and look over the job you just finished. Help your team members by triggering these chemicals through celebrating success, because becoming distracted or bored leads to losing track. Avoid it by following these secrets. Think of it. Whenever you do something you like and it gives you a sense of accomplishment, the time goes by fast and you get a lot done. The same holds true for your work. Make it a fun thing to accomplish tasks at work.
Goal Setting for Your Team
There are many ways to set goals. When dealing with project or task related goals, making the team members accountable to each other is a huge motivating factor in reaching the goal. DART goal setting is designed to help the team maintain motivation in reaching the goal. It requires them to define or determine the goal, announce the goal, adjust it and time lock it. Defining the goal is probably the easiest step. Write down what the team wants to accomplish and review it. Ask yourself if it is too vague. If it is, then you may need to write it again to be more specific.
Next, announcing or making a public statement about the goal the team wants to achieve puts natural pressure to achieve the goal. In addition, when the team publicly state their goals, they are inviting feedback that may help them revise their goal to be better. For instance, the team may state that they will complete a task by a certain date. However, a colleague may inform them that an issue exists that may hinder their progress. This is information that should help the team revise their goal with a better time frame.
Setting goals does not have to be a daunting task. It should be quick and easy with plenty of opportunity for obtaining feedback from peers and managers. DART is designed to help the team hit their target.