Maintaining accountability can be a challenging task if you don’t have an effective follow-up system in place.
Imagine that you ask assign a team member a task and they are to get back to you in one week. If YOU don’t have a follow-up mechanism in place the likely hood of you forgetting what you’ve asked them to do is fairly high, unless you have a good memory. If THEY don’t have a system in place to allocate the time to complete the task and then send you the information you’ve requested by the time specified then you have a team member who is stressing out to meet a deadline ….or because they’ve missed a deadline.
And even worse (yes it can get worse), is when you forget and they forget – In the future they won’t feel a strong desire to be accountable to you and your trust begins to decrease. The lack of systems can quite literally interfere with your overall productivity and employee satisfaction.
With a system in place – let’s call it a ‘delegation process’ for you and ‘calendar and task management management’ for them – you can both trust each other!
If parts of this sound familiar to your work flow then it’s a perfect time to sit down and have a conversation with your team member(s) about implementing executive skills into your daily workflow: delegating tasks and tracking them plus calendar and time management.
Go ahead and strengthen the team around you!
- 5 Task Apps for Visual Thinkers (lifehack.org)
- Do I need a Task Management System? (marketingblog101.wordpress.com)
- Forget Time Management: Why You Should Practice Choice Management Instead (news.terra.com)
- 10 Ways to Improve Your Time Management Skills (lifehack.org)
We use calendars so we know what we need to show up for but where do you keep track of all the tasks….. by tasks I mean the tiny action items that require time to execute but don’t necessarily get scheduled into the calendar?
A task can be a call you need to make tomorrow or in one month’s time. Tasks can be the supplies you need to pick up for the office, a course you need to register for or the new toothbrush you need from the drug store.
The rule of thumb is to keep all similar tasks together and then complete them together. If you have 5 follow-up phone calls to make and each will take approximately 10 minutes then you will need to schedule one hour into your calendar to make those calls.
If you have three errands that need to be done – dry cleaners, grocers and drug store then you’ll want to look at your calendar to see when it’s convenient to do those errands. While your reviewing your calendar may notice that you’ll be driving by the dry
cleaners on Wednesday – now you just need to schedule it in and then stop at the dry cleaners on Wednesday.
A calendar for all of our appointments and a list of ALL tasks that need to be done are essential procedures so that we can free up our minds and be confident that everything that needs to get done is accounted for.
Have you ever felt like you just spent 8 hours on email?
What a painful way to feel about your day – unless you’re absolutely elated that you just cleared ten thousand emails from your inbox. One of the biggest challenges with emails is that they sometimes contain links. You click on a link and voilà, you’re on the Internet and before you know it you’re scrolling through LinkedIn profiles and you’ve completely lost track of time.
There are ways to actually win at email but you’ll only be able to benchmark your success if you track how much time you truly spend on email in the first place. After you have tracked your time for 2-3 days then consider adopting any of the strategies below.
Here are 10 steps to help improve your overall efficiency with email:
- Define how much time you will allocate to email each day and schedule those blocks of time into your calendar.
- Only open your email during those blocks of time.
- Identify which emails are tasks that will take more than two minutes to execute and add them to your task list.
- Identify which emails are appointments-enter them into your calendar and then file or delete the email.
- Identify which emails are projects and schedule the next steps or assign the tasks
- Save emails that you need to in appropriate folders – remember your inbox is NOT a folder
- Delete emails that you no longer need, especially if there is a thread of the same email conversation
- Challenge yourself by setting a timer to keep you focused, even challenged, to stay on track (use a PDA, an egg timer or an online tool like www.online-stopwatch.com).
- If you continue to struggle with the time you spend in your inbox consider using http://emailga.me to help you, and even motivate you, to stay on track.
- If you get stuck figuring out what to do with your email go back to the rule of thumb:
- if it’s an appointment put it in your calendar
- if it’s a task put it on your To-Do list
- if it’s information you need to keep put it in a folder and
- if it’s someone’s contact information you need enter it into your database.
You might want to check this app out if you are used to paper to-do lists divide the page into four sections -where you would group tasks based on if you needed to do them today, next, or later……
“(Later got two sections to hold all the stuff I didn’t want to forget but couldn’t do right away.) Paper is great for this, because rewriting the lists every day made me think harder about how many things I was mentally committing to do—and purge or delegate as many as I could.”
Eisenpower brings this quadrant-style task management to your Mac.
<a href='http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/eisenpower_review’>Eisenpower Review | Mac|Life.
I Googled “Time Management” and got over 1 billion hits in less than 26 seconds so, don’t worry you’re not alone!
The problem isn’t that you have a challenge but rather that you can’t talk about it at work (for many obvious reasons) or with your family or loved one’s because they probably seem used to your behavior or make jokes about it and I would guess that you probably feel like no one really understands you.
I bet you’re not even sure what the root cause is behind your own time challenges. If you could define the root cause and actually implement some strategic actions, that suit your lifestyle and your personality style, you’d be much happier, more productive and you’d even pat yourself on the back some days for a job well done.
But sadly, many people don’t realize that there are people to help with time challenges – at kAos Group we do this along with other professionals that can be found in the Google search. But, until you are ready to give someone a call here are some great time management links that may provide affirmations or strategies for you to adopt:
Time management doesn’t work
10 Strategies for better time management (i love this one!!)
I recently had the pleasure (and let me be honest – the honor) of being on a panel with Harold Taylor – Canada’s Time Management expert.
Here is a great post by him – scroll down to see how you can subscribe to his newsletters.
You can be effective in spite of ADHD characteristics
By Harold Taylor
In past issues I have outlined the increase in ADHD symptoms among both children and adults, the role technology plays in this increase, how to avoid outsourcing your life to your electronic devices, and some basic suggestions for managing time when you exhibit ADHD-like symptoms. In this issue I offer some further “quick tips” to help you cope.
1. Organize your working area so that everything you use on a regular basis is visible and within reach.
2. Develop routines for repetitive tasks such as checking email, paying bills and writing articles or blogs.
3. Acquire a planning mindset by closing each day with a list of “To Do”s for the following day.
4. Use a planner and use it to excess, blocking off time for projects, recording future “due dates”, follow-ups, appointments, special events, family birthdays and even recording places you visit and people you meet.
5. Assist your working memory by using techniques such as acronyms, visualization, association, and other mnemonic devices described in most books on memory training.
6. Practice stress-relieving activities, since in addition to the usual benefits, reduced anxiety will free up more working memory. (See Boosting Executive Skills in the Classroom by Joyce Cooper-Kahn & Margaret Foster, 2003)
7. Work in short periods of time – breaking longer tasks into “chunks.” Use a timer if necessary.
8. Make up checklists for activities such as travel, shopping, meetings and even for starting the day.
9. Curb lateness by entering the time you must leave your office or home in order to arrive on time. Always allow extra time in the event of heavy traffic.
10. Exercise strengthens executive skills, and research on attention shows that viewing or walking in nature for as little as 20 minutes per week provides the right amount of cognitive input.
In the next issue I will offer some further suggestions relating to physical and mental exercise, mindset and diet.
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Visit us at www.kaosgroup.com