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6 Productivity Tips to Help You with Team Management

6 Productivity Tips to Help You with Team Management

Achieving high team productivity is a dream come true for all team managers out there. Successfully running a productive team is a very challenging task, as working with people can be seriously engaging. However, succeeding in running a team will make everyone happy, the leader, the team members and the company as whole. Remember, the best companies in the world are successful because they are comprised of incredible teams. So, if you are a team leader, these are some of the tips that will help make you and your team more productive.

Work on communication

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    Communication is the most important thing that a team can have. If you don’t establish good communication, many problems may come. There are two different ways to improve communication amongst team members. One is more focused on a personal level, whereas the other is concerned with a professional level.

    Bringing people closer on a personal level is something that can be achieved through team building events such as a dinner, weekend trips or similar types of activities. This will let people know more about each other, which will open more channels of communication. After all, it is much easier to communicate with a person you are familiar with than a stranger who is sitting next to you. On the other hand, it is very important to establish professional communication limits.

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    You do not want to create an atmosphere where people are going to talk about their private lives during work hours, as this is simply a distraction for the whole team. Therefore, it is very important to establish some rules about the things that need to be communicated, the things that your team members should be notified of and many other business-related things. The more both of these communication channels evolve, the better the productivity is going to be.

    Make sure to make breaks

    You are not going to be a better team leader if you simply force your team members to pull more hours of continual work. The fact is that we are all humans and that breaks are necessary if you want to stay focused on work during the period of 8 hours. No matter how good your team is, it is impossible to keep a high level of focus during an 8-hour period. A good idea is to encourage this type of behavior by taking breaks yourself as a team leader.

    This will signal to people that they can rest as well. A period of 15 minutes is the perfect amount of time to relax your brain and let it rest. Making 3 or 4 of these breaks during working hours is the perfect amount of break time to provide to your whole team. This will ensure that they are less bored, less tired and will make them more productive. There is a precise science behind taking breaks, so make sure that you use it to help reduce stress and increase productivity – your team will love it.

    Shape the team members’ mindset

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      Turning your team into a well-oiled machine takes a lot of time and commitment. There is a psychological factor that has to be addressed. It is very important that every team member is aware that they are a part of something bigger, a part of a team, which itself is an integral part of the company. This will engage every team member to give more to the whole team and to the project. Stressing the big picture is very important, as it will get into people’s heads over time.

      What is more important than increased productivity is the fact that when someone is more involved in a task at work, there are much higher chances that a new idea that can take the whole company in a new direction can emerge. You never know how talented and ready to work someone is. So if you want your team to become more innovative, shaping your whole team’s mindset is a key starting point.

      Set realistic goals

      Setting realistic goals is very important because the sense of achievement is one of the things that is going to motivate people further. For example, you should avoid involving your team in projects that take more than 3 months to achieve, or if you have to face them with this sort of obligation, it is necessary to split up the project into smaller and shorter achievements. This will give people a sense of improvement after each completed step, even though the project is much bigger.

      On the other hand, task that take up to a month to complete will provide your team with a great sense of achievement. Small and well-timed wins will take your team much further, so be careful when determining how you are going to schedule tasks.

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      Give credits to team members

      Upon completing any type of task, no matter if the task was successful or not so successful, it is very important to show appreciation for all the people who were involved in the project. This will make each team member feel important and appreciated. If a task is completed without any given credits, the people will feel less motivated to engage more with the upcoming tasks, as they are not going to feel that the energy they invest is being appreciated enough.

      So, no matter how a certain task is performed, it is important to give some sort of pep talk that is going to motivate the people around you. Over a longer period of time, appreciating team members will not only increase productivity, but will also establish a sense of belonging to a family, increased loyalty and trust.

      Make a truly professional environment

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        All of the above things are important to establish, but the foundation on which all of these things should be built is a great working environment. Create a soundproof and isolated environment that is going to enable your teammates to be productive. Additionally, even though it may sound harsh for some people, access to a variety of time-wasting websites and social media networks should be forbidden.

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        These are some of the ways in which people lose precious time, as social media networks take away their focus for extended periods of time. On the other hand, while protecting people from the grasp of the internet it is important to make sure that there are no trespassers in the office. Any type of interruption is very distracting for the whole team, which can significantly reduce the productivity of the whole team.

        These are some tips that will encourage specific behavior and increase the productivity of the people around you. However, it is also important to apply some practical steps, so that people are more time-efficient. If you combine all of these tips, your team is going to feel like one big family, which will help them get the job done efficiently and enthusiastically.

        Featured photo credit: http://startupstockphotos.com/post/94180886521/waterstreet-coffee-bar-on-location-for-a via pexels.com

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        Published on January 16, 2019

        How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

        How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

        We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

        You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

        You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

        That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

        Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

        1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

        Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

        We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

        To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

        At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

        The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

        2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

        Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

        The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

        In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

        It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

        It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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        So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

        • Are you a great strategist?
        • Are you an effective planner?
        • Is Project Management your strength?
        • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
        • Are you the ideas person?
        • Is Implementation your strength?

        Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

        3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

        One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

        Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

        Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

        Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

        4. Take Time for Planning

        “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

        One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

        You can take the time to think about:

        • What’s the purpose of the project?
        • How Important is it?
        • When does it need to be delivered by?
        • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
        • What are the KPIs?
        • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
        • Who is working on this project?
        • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
        • What tolerances can I add in?
        • What are the review stages?
        • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

        Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

        5. Focus on Priorities

        Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

        Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

        One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

        1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
        2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
        3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
        4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

        James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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          The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

          If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

          If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

          6. Take Time Out

          To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

          If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

          Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

          In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

          Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

          7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

          Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

          I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

          Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

          If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

          8. Stop Multitasking

          Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

          So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

          When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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          If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

          9. Work in Blocks of Time

          To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

          I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

          Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

          Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

          Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

          Then take another 10-minute break.

          Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

          By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

          10. Get Rid of Distractions

          Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

          “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

          Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

          If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

          11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

          You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

          Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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          Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

          12. Take a Time Audit

          Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

          Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

          You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

          Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

          Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

          At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

          If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

          13. Protect Your Confidence

          It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

          When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

          Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

          When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

          Final Words

          A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

          The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

          If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

          Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

          Reference

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