Tag: Tasks

Taking on New Team Tasks and Projects

Taking on New Team Tasks and Projects

When your team is assigned a new task or project, it’s important to create a plan at the beginning, so the team gets off to a good start. This blog will look at some different techniques your team can use to tackle new to-do items.

The Sliding Scale

When planning and organizing, try to create the right size plan for the task. If your goal is to organize your inbox, for example, it’s probably not necessary to spend several hours planning each action. On the other hand, if you’re handed a complex project, you may want to spend several days or even weeks gathering information and creating a plan.

For small tasks, basic tools such as a to-do list or calendar will probably be the best choice.

For medium-sized tasks or projects, you might want to use:

  • RACI charts
  • Visual timelines
  • Storyboards

And for large projects, consider:

  • Gantt charts
  • Project plans
  • Project-specific productivity journals
  • Online time tracking dashboards

A Checklist for Getting Started

For most tasks, the team will need some background information before they begin. Remember, they will need very little information for simple tasks, and more detailed information for complex tasks.

The basic information you will gather should include:

  • What is the date the team will start this task? What is the deadline?
  • Who else can the team rely on for help?
  • What are the major things that need to be completed?
  • What obstacles might the team encounter? How can they get around them? (For example, one of your key resources might be going on vacation in two weeks. You will want to gather all required information from them before they leave.)
  • What work has already been completed?

Evaluating and Adapting

For most medium to large sized tasks, the team will want to build evaluation points into their plan. Typically, these occur at key gateways (called milestones in the project management world). At these gateways, the team will look at their plan, determine what is working and what is not working, and adjust as necessary.

Some other signs that it may be time to review the plan:

  • The team keeps falling further and further behind.
  • The team is not motivated to work on the project.
  • The team is finding that their plan isn’t the right size for the project.
  • Major changes have happened in the project.

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Achieving Team Goals Using “To Do” Lists

Achieving Team Goals Using “To Do” Lists

“To do” lists are important tools used for achieving team goals, but if “to do” lists are not done properly, they are useless. Too often, teams create lists that they never come close to completing. There are characteristics that effective “to do” lists share. If the team’s “to do” list includes these basic characteristics, the team will find it easier to accomplish the tasks that they established.

Focus on the Important

The main mistake that teams make when creating “to do” lists is making them too long. It is not possible to place every little task on a “to do” list. For a list to be effective, the team must focus on the important tasks. The best method for making a “to do” list is to create a list of everything the team wants to accomplish and then cut that list down to a manageable size. Remember that an important task will align with the team goals. If a task is not important enough to make the list, do not attempt to squeeze it in later. You do not want to split the team’s attention. Focusing only on the important tasks will help the team complete the “to do” list and reach the team goals.

Chunk, Block, Tackle

When creating a “to do” list, the team should keep chunk, block, and tackle in mind. The first part of this strategy should be familiar. The team needs to break up a large task into smaller ones.

  • Chunk: Break projects into tasks that are 15 minutes or less.
  • Block: Block out time to complete each chunk.
  • Tackle: Tackle each specific task individually rather than looking at the entire project.

Related: Goal Setting Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Implementing chunk, block, tackle, will motivate your team to complete the project because they will feel a sense of accomplishment as they complete each chunk. When creating the “to do” list, the team should include the project chunks that they created rather than listing the project as a whole. The team should also include the time estimate for each task.

Make It a Habit

The team needs to make “to do” lists regularly for them to be effective. Creating “to do” lists should become a habit for the team. The best way to accomplish this is by creating the team “to do” list at the same time each day. When creating a new “to do” list, the team should transfer any unfinished tasks from the current list to the list for the next day. Once creating the list becomes a habit, it will become faster and easier for the team to revise the “to do” list every day.

Plan Ahead

“To do” lists will not help the team reach their goals unless they are implemented. Until they are executed, lists are just reminders of what the team still need to accomplish. The key to using lists is to plan ahead. The team should take time to prioritize and schedule the list each day.

How to complete the list:

  • Make a schedule: Schedule the tasks on your “to do” list each day.
  • Set a timer: Set a timer or an alarm for each task.
  • Stay focused: Do not be sidetracked by unimportant tasks.

If the team plans the day around the “to do” list, they will find themselves completing more of the tasks and getting things done.

 

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Tips for Completing Tasks and Reaching Team Goals

Tips for Completing Tasks and Reaching Team Goals

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” – Helen Keller

It is easy to begin tasks, but completing them can at times be more challenging. There always seems to be something that distracts a team from completing their tasks. Given how easy it is to procrastinate and avoid tasks, most team members have a list of tasks waiting to be completed. As this list grows, stress levels increase. By following a few simple tasks, your team members can improve their chances of accomplishing their goals, staying on track, and reducing stress levels.

The One Minute Rule

Most team members detest doing the small, mundane tasks. These tasks may seem unimportant to your team members, but over time, they will pile up, which will diminish focus and waste time. For example, if you do not take the garbage out regularly, it will overflow. This makes a simple task much more difficult. Implementing the one minute rule eliminates this difficult situation and protects your team’s focus.  According to the one minute rule, if a task will only take one minute, it should be completed immediately. A single minute will not put your team behind schedule, and following the rule will save the team time in the long run.

Related: Find out more about TBAE’s Goal Setting Outcome Based Team Building Activities

The Five Minute Rule

Schedules are only helping a team focus and manage time when they are done correctly. A common mistake that people make when creating schedules are making them too strict. It is not possible to plan the day down to the minute. When creating a schedule, you should follow the five minute rule. The five minute rule is simple: allow at least five minutes between scheduled tasks. This time is set aside so that you can complete small tasks that you have been avoiding or neglecting. The five minutes do more than provide time to complete small, seemingly unimportant projects. They also provide a buffer between scheduled activities, which will help keep your team on schedule in case a task runs longer than expected.

Break Up Large Tasks

Some tasks have multiple steps. These tasks may be overwhelming to your team if they look at the complete picture. By breaking these tasks up into their basic steps, your team will be able to remain focused as they work. Additionally, they will feel a sense of achievement as they complete each step in the process. Breaking down a task into manageable steps will make them much easier to manage. Additionally, you will be more likely to complete a project when you break it down into smaller tasks.

Utilize Technology

Technology has made completing tasks much easier. Computer software and online programs help teams manage tasks, create reminders, and track their progress. Besides computer programs, there are countless apps now that help you make lists, keep track of schedules, and complete tasks.

 

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