More often than we’d like, the stress of a looming deadline can be overwhelming if we’re unorganized with our time and fail to prioritize or delegate tasks successfully. Statistics show that 70% of corporate projects fail, and 42% of companies do not understand the importance of effective task management.
The apparent lack of organization in the modern workplace is shocking. Workplace optimization is an essential aspect of any business, and is required to achieve effective collaborative between businesses and employee project goals.
With the right task management skills, you can find out the reasons why you or your employees are scrambling to make up for lost time or handing in substandard work.
If left unattended, however, poor task management can lead to detrimental effects on productivity and even stress-related health issues. Let’s take a look at how you can avoid these consequences.
What is task management?
Whether you’re self-employed, a business owner, or a manager, you should familiarize yourself with ways to inspire productivity by efficiently organizing time and workload.
Implementing effective task management methods helps with managing all stages of a project. These steps involve meticulous planning, thorough reporting, and clarification of objectives. By creating and following an effective task management plan, you can successfully achieve individual or team goals.
You can do this by utilizing task management methods to:
- Organize, plan and monitor tasks
- Boost productivity
- Reduce stress
- Facilitate team management
- Prioritize workload
- Complete tasks quicker
Let’s run through some strategies for staying organized and productive with task management.
Create a to-do list
If you’ve navigated your way to this article, you are likely unsatisfied with your current task management methods. In that case, we’ll explore several actionable ways to stay organized and produce your best work with easy-to-achieve task management methods.
When faced with a lot of work and no defined plan, everything becomes overwhelming. You forget tasks that need to be done, and you end up racing against the clock to complete them, overcome with stress and worry.
With all of your tasks in a list format, however, they appear more manageable. Disorganized task management leads to frustration and unfinished tasks, so you’ll need to stay focused by creating a pen and paper to-do list, or using a specialized task management software.
A to-do list is essential for completing a project successfully and on time by assessing what tasks need to be done and prioritize from there. Brevity will not help here — your list should be as comprehensive as possible, organizing your tasks in degrees of priority.
Make sure to include things like:
- Estimation of the due date
- List of requirements and deliverables
- Outline project definition personal or stakeholder needs
- Define employee roles and responsibilities
- Create and prioritize goals
- Identify issues and problematic areas
No matter what method you use, get into the habit of adding and removing tasks once completed. Taking things off your to-do list has added health benefits, too! Studies show that setting and achieving goals reduces anxiety and has an overall added benefit to your mental health.
Manage your tasks in one place
In the digital era, we’re inundated with various communication and informational tools. While they benefit the social aspects of human endeavors, complications arise in a corporate setting when faced with organizing an established project platform.
For instance: if you’re recording tasks and responsibilities via personal and work email accounts, apps, calendars, phone notes, notepads, and more, things can get confusing when switching between different modes of planning and communication.
Online task management planners are a great way to keep all of your project tasks together, allowing you to add jobs and schedule time blocks for better time management. Alternatively, perhaps you’d prefer to stay away from the distractions of the digital world and enter your tasks into a physical daily planner.
Managing time and setting deadlines
Speaking of distractions, an employee survey by Careerbuilder revealed that common digital distractions in the workplace can lead to decreased productivity. When we lack direct expectations, it’s challenging to stay focused on what needs to be completed.
To combat this, you’ll need to set clear deadlines and manage your time effectively in order to build a strong work ethic and due care habits.
Because the relationship between pressure and performance aids productivity, managing your time with organized and defined deadlines can drastically impact your economic growth. Due to the time constraints placed upon a project, employees are more likely to adhere to these deadlines by promptly organizing their time to complete tasks.
When you set yourself or your employees a deadline, be sure to give enough notice to prevent unhealthy work practices. A deadline that requires working excessively can lead to work stresses and, over time, decrease productivity.
Break up large projects into smaller tasks
What’s the best way to support productivity and prevent stress? Simple — break up your larger projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. Even delegating minor responsibilities can aid individual productivity and overall project success.
Using this method of task management can improve team morale by creating achievable milestones. You could even offer a form of positive reinforcement as those tasks are completed. This type of task management also helps reduce the sometimes overwhelming aspects of deadlines and long-term project work.
First, you’ll need to define the difference between the project and the tasks required to complete the overall objective.
- Your project will be the enterprise you deliver to achieve a particular aim.
- Your tasks are pieces of work needed to create the project.
Imagine you’re a project manager called in to assess the low productivity levels of a department. Your goal is to identify weaknesses in their project delivery capabilities and provide guidance on how to fix the problem.
If you become overwhelmed by all of the issues you see in the department, you’ll be no use to anyone. In fact, you’ll end up in the same position as everyone else in the department — burnt out, overcome with too many tasks, and disorganized.
Instead, it would be better to identify individual issues and break solutions down into more manageable tasks. This gives you more clarity around what needs to be done, and a more solid timeline in which to complete those tasks.
You could break the job down into more manageable tasks like:
- Assess current project management structure
- Review the causes of low productivity
- Factor in work environment
- Analyze training and career development
- Investigate pay structure
- Evaluate employee wellness
Here you have a working example of how organizing a large project into smaller, more manageable tasks will bring you closer to your goal. The tasks are all part of the same ‘job’, but tackling one microtask at a time makes everything seem more manageable.
How can you manage tasks?
To prioritize your workload and increase productivity, there are a few different ways to incorporate task management into your personal and work life. Finding the most effective project management methods that align with your business needs will be your first priority.
No internet, no problem
Did you know that you can create your very own task management spreadsheet? Multiple applications are available for storing information and data relating to your business needs. Excel offers a popular and easy-to-use method that can be shared amongst your team:
- Open Excel and add click New Blank Workbook.
- Create your column headers.
- Enter the relevant information and/or data on individual rows.
- Click the Page Layout tab to format.
And there you have it — a no-fuss system that collectively organizes your project details to manage workplace preparation.
Online apps and websites
If you prefer not to get distracted by finicky sticky notes and drying highlighter pens, several free and pay-to-use task management tools are specifically designed for accessibility.
Instead of wasting time trawling through reels of spam to find that important email your boss sent last week, task management software can organize all your work emails, saving you precious working time.
You can also:
- Set virtual deadlines
- Track time spent working on tasks
- Move through different project stages
- Monitor your progress or team performance
- Ensure projects are organized and done on time
Working from home? Maybe you don’t have the facilities or time to organize that much-needed team brief. You can access all kinds of information relating to your project via your laptop or PC. Some of these tools have specific features and abilities that you might not need, in which case, there are plenty of others to choose from.
Small and established businesses with multiple projects will benefit from this type of project management software, as some offer practical team management benefits.
Task Management: Final Thoughts
Wishing for the day when you can complete projects without your eyelid twitching from too much caffeine or loss of sleep? Tired of the lack of organization and productivity in your workplace? It’s time to make important changes to your current task management habits.
Effective organization really does help to keep track of your work progress, and maintaining that all-important inspiration will keep you ahead of the pack. Go ahead and give these task management methods a try — you’ll be amazed at the results.