How does task planning affect team performance?

By employing team members, we buy not only their skills or experience, but also their time. To make the most of it, we usually fill the proverbial eight hours entirely. Planning specialists will tell you, however, that it is not important how many hours we devote to work, but rather how affectively we use the available time.

People are often ready for more challenging work, especially when there is adequate remuneration for it. However, in an efficiently managed team, this is just the beginning. Each task must have a clearly defined goal and give measurable results. If it turns out that the set goal was not necessary for overall success, this will lead to misunderstanding and conflict.

In addition, employees who have been given too many tasks will quickly burn out. In this case strategic thinking or even short-term planning will no longer be an option. If we can't effectively manage our time, this calls into question our competence in managing an entire team.

The Art of Communication

Experts note that the basis of most problems is most often a lack of communication. Multilevel structures especially suffer from this. Usually, specific tasks are commenced first in one department and later in the next and the next due to the way processes are cascaded. Their coordination should result from smooth communication. However, it is difficult to expect smooth communication when the full eight hour work day is filled with too many tasks for employees. If we want to increase the level of cooperation, we should encourage communication between employees. It is also worth remembering, in the company, of course, we rely on both formal and informal communication, which will also have a significant impact on the prevailing atmosphere.

Formal communication most often leads to inevitable meetings at various employee levels. The so-called "brainstorming" is considered to be the worst time thief in companies, especially those aspiring or imitating corporate structures. However, we should not treat them as a necessary evil. They are necessary to share information, exchange ideas and make decisions, but should be conducted in a timely manner. It is vital to avoid the scenario of an employee leaving a meeting with the conviction that he has just lost an hour or two of his day

That is why it is worth developing techniques for more effective and shorter meetings. Each meeting should have a clearly defined goal, however, do not overload your employees’ weekly and monthly calendars with meetings. We can shorten meeting times by sending out materials for the next discussion in advance. Instead of pretending to be surprised and reading hot materials, participants can immediately proceed to draw constructive conclusions. The key to success will be the initial screening of the material. There is no need to flood your employees with too much information that will then be lost in the everyday bustle or will cause unnecessary confusion. The selection of information in a world overloaded with knowledge is a basic skill to master.

Prioritizing important tasks

Inefficient use of time is equally as dangerous as overloading the schedule. Tasks of a lesser importance may steal our attention more than necessary. On the other hand, it's not hard for employees who don't know what to do and work without much purpose most of the day.

In this case, specialists point out that the first step to improving overall performance is to eliminate or minimize irrelevant tasks. They should be replaced by activities that bring real added value. Maybe a good step would be to encourage subordinates to reserve large portions of time in their schedule for the implementation of daily tasks and smaller activities such as writing e-mails, ongoing planning and other routine activities.

In the process of planning and delegating tasks, it will also be important to meet your employees. You have certainly heard the words "owls" and "larks". The performance curve will be completely different for these two groups of people. Larks work most efficiently in the morning, while owls get wind in the evening. Such insight makes sense in two variants. In the first you have a large team of stationary and remote employees. In the second one you have to deal with a large project where time is playing against you. The overtime perspective will be inevitable, so skillful resource management and the next steps to be taken becomes essential for success.

In most cases, however, completing daily tasks in the morning will be most effective. i This is when the most important tasks should be performed. It also translates into motivation to work during the rest of the day. As a result, the supervisor's role becomes an analysis of the results of the work. Defining goals is not enough if the tasks undertaken are not monitored and adapted to the individual capabilities of employees. Therefore, it will be important for the manager to develop clear guidelines. In the long run, we will receive positive results that allow us to efficiently delegate tasks going forward.

There are no universal solutions

There is no one approach that fits everyone in terms of time management. The sooner we realize that what works in our case will not necessarily work for others, the better. This problem is even more serious when it comes to coordinating the activities of various departments in a large enterprise. However, do not have illusions, because even medium and small teams are not free from such dilemmas. As the old proverb says: "time is money." Therefore, it in the interest of each person to have the most effective day at work.

Łukasz Fiszer
July 22, 2019

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