Piling up tasks is common in many professionals’ routines. It is also ordinary to get to the end of the day with the feeling of having worked a lot – but that there was still so much to get done.
Efficiently planning and organizing can make a big difference in improving work productivity. In some societies, it is typical for professionals to work many hours a week but produce as much as (or even less than) in other countries where people work less hours. This is a straightforward productivity issue.
A big way to reverse this standard is planning daily work. Planning out day to day work will supposedly level out the workload of tasks to get done, as well as increase flexibility, team competence and – obviously – reduce response time.
To optimize time management and the performance of tasks, it is essential to plan work well. How? By following the 8 steps listed below.
1º – Know approximately how long each task takes to get done: make a list of the main repetitive tasks and measure how long each of them takes to get done;
2º – Understand the available resources (how many people work in your team?): chart out the team organization and know how many team members are available to work on the tasks at hand;
3º – Know the skills of your actual resources (skills matrix): set up a skills matrix and identify who is capable of realizing each task;
4º – Know what the planned workload is (periodic and aperiodic tasks both): set up a visual system that shows future workload at any given moment;
5º – Decide who will carry out each task: considering the specific workload, the skills of each team member and the available resources, allocate tasks to each person;
6º – Provide information in the work plan (periodic and aperiodic tasks);
7º – Follow up on the completion of tasks and register diversions;
8º – Analyse and define corrective actions for diversions.
Applying this “manual for work planning” will help to gain real knowledge of the necessary time to accomplish each task. From there on, it will be possible to size teams and processes, to level work, to closely accompany work plans and to react to possible diversions in a timely manner.
Turn these tips into action and see how planning can really lead to great work.