By John Rampton, founder of Palo Alto, California-based Calendar, a company helping your calendar be much more productive.
We all have some kind of strategy to stay productive each workweek. While we don’t necessarily utilize every productivity technique out there, we all have at least one favorite. There are three strategies I enjoy using, and I frequently encourage my team to use these as well. Time management methods such as knowing what is actually urgent, utilizing a calendar and minimizing unnecessary meeting time, are three of my team’s most-used strategies. Aside from helping my individual team members stay productive, these strategies are great at increasing productivity for my team’s collaboration as a whole. Here are three things you can do to supercharge your workweek.
1. Know What’s Actually Urgent
Urgency can hit some team members harder than others, and here’s why: Some team members have a more difficult time distinguishing between what is urgent and what is not. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it shows their dedication to everything they do in the workplace. People who feel that most things are urgent might believe that prioritizing everything is a good thing, but in reality, it can cause burnout if they always feel like everything is urgent.
Instead, I encourage my team to prioritize only what’s truly important. While they may feel that this includes every project or task on their to-do list that day, there are always going to be some that can wait until the next day. If the tasks are deadline-based projects, it’s still the team member’s responsibility to communicate the project status to the project managers to keep them up to date. Deadline-based projects are the ones to prioritize. Other tasks that are important but not urgent, should not be prioritized as such. Encourage your team to take a step back to look at each day’s to-do list and assess what is absolutely crucial for that day. They are sure to find some tasks to move to the following day.
2. Utilize A Calendar
Calendar tools are becoming so versatile, and there is an ever-increasing number available. While it is hard to pinpoint just how many calendar apps there are out there, I’ll say that the number one way my team and I use our calendar software is by having a team calendar. With a team calendar in which we can all collaborate, we can accurately schedule team events. Additionally, we are able to schedule smaller events such as one-to-one meetings with each other hassle-free. Scheduling is my team’s go-to when it comes to meetings and events. We try to stick to, and respect, each other’s calendars.
I also try to encourage my team to set time blocks on their calendars for their personal events, such as personal appointments or even for dedicated work time. Then, if someone needs to schedule an event, they can check out their calendar first and see whether or not they are available. Some individuals really benefit from having the allocated undivided time to dedicate to a specific project. By having everyone respect each other’s time, we tend to be able to have a more relaxed environment where communication is promoted through scheduling tools. This gives my team a chance to collaborate better and respect each other’s time.
3. Minimize Unnecessary Meeting Time
Meetings can make or break the productivity of those involved. If it’s a short meeting that is to the point, it’s a productive one. If it’s a long one that has been dragged out to over thirty minutes and little has been accomplished, it can put a damper on the meeting attendees’ productivity. Make sure your meetings are quick, to the point and do not last longer than they need to.
Aside from having shorter meetings, you can also consider emailing the information that could be communicated as such. Additionally, you could compile a collaborative document of all the important things to note and send it to your team and answer any questions through that. It will save all parties’ time. It will also give them a chance to ask questions and respond at their own pace throughout the workday. This way, there is no pressure to sit in a long meeting about something that can be covered in an email or collaborative space.
It’s important to have a few productivity strategies for your team to utilize. This will give them a chance to have more freedom, while also taking on more responsibility to still complete their projects on time. What works for some team members might not work for others, so it’s important to avoid forcing one strategy on everyone. I find that letting my team decide tends to work out best. Consequently, project deadlines are not an issue, and there is resounding mutual respect for everyone’s time on my team, giving us successful supercharged workweeks.
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