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Project Management 101 & Tools

Teach Your Team to be Productive, Not Busy

As project manager, it′s your duty to ensure that your team uses their time wisely. While your team might be working overtime or endlessly pecking away at their keyboards, their efforts might not actually be getting the most bang for their buck.

What you can do instead is teach them the difference between being productive and being busy. You do this by implementing policies that will help them to practice the right kind of work habits. If the team follows these policies often enough, they will incorporate it into their own lives.

You can teach them the necessary skills by:

Having a Meeting Policy

I think we can agree that most meetings are a huge waste of time, and those that aren′t usually don′t use it very well. But by making a team policy when it comes to meetings–and sticking to it–you can help discipline people on when to hold them and what rules to follow when they do.

Practicing Single-Tasking

Multi-tasking wastes more time than it saves, while lowering the quality of your work and increasing your stress. If you really want your team′s productivity to skyrocket, you need to get them used to single-tasking.

By concentrating on one thing at a time, they′ll be able to devote their entire attention to a task. They′ll get things done faster and the quality of their work will increase as well. The upshot? Less stress, more accomplishments.

Introducing Productivity Journals

Productivity journals are where you write down your day′s goals. But that′s not all. You also write down how you felt about those goals, whether you finished them or not, and how difficult they were.

Your team will be able to track exactly what they were working on and what they accomplished on a given day. Not only that, but they′ll also be able to analyze their work habits for patterns and figure out when they′re most effective.

Discouraging Email

Email is a necessary evil in the workplace. “Checking email” can easily suck up hours at a time if we′re not careful–especially if we use it as an excuse to procrastinate.

To avoid this massive time sink, discourage the use of email within your team and communicate through other means. Face to face conversation is the best method, as questions can be answered quickly while promoting inter-team communications. Task notes or discussion boards on your project management software can be used for conversations that need to be documented, and can send automated updates when tasks are completed.


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