Busy doing what? Five ways work management converts 'busyness' into productivity
Imagine it's Friday afternoon (it might be when you read this!) You're looking back over your week and feeling accomplished. But have you been productive, or have you just filled your time with busy work to make you feel like you have achieved something?
We live in a relentless culture of 'busyness'. Being busy is now a marker of importance and in some cases, even a status symbol. We're all familiar with joining a virtual meeting, asking how everyone is doing and at least someone exhaling loudly and announcing 'busy' while everyone else nods knowingly.
However, we are now more time-poor than ever. While flexible working, compressed hours, and asynchronous teams are positive, we're still learning to work effectively in this remote environment. What's more, we need to make our working hours count.
We need some help to focus on what matters most.
Here are five ways you can use work management practices to be more efficient and actually productive:
1. Automate manual tasks
Checking admin tasks off your to-do list might make you feel like you're winning, but although necessary, they took a lot longer than they should have. Rather than doing your planning in a spreadsheet, use a work management tool. Make workflows a staple. You can set up notifications to trigger events automatically. For example, send that reminder to your team every Monday morning to submit their weekly report. Instead of recreating plans, automatically create a new task based on the completion of another by using triggers. You will cut down on those unnecessary meetings and email chains.
2. Integrate all your favourite tools
Instead of constantly tool-switching between email, docs, instant messages and to-do lists, combine everything in one unified workspace – your own personal hub. Work management tools allow you to link up the apps you use most, reduce complexity and need less training. It also means you can focus on your crucial workload rather than jumping between tasks.
3. Collaborate better
We're hearing a lot about collaboration and better working relationships. It might seem like a buzzword, but it's essential for many reasons. More engaged teams are more productive. By facilitating collaboration and giving teams the tools to manage work better, we abandon silos and strengthen connections to boost morale. It also means better transparency and clarity around goals, objectives, and status of tasks and projects. People want to work in and stay in a culture that fosters collaboration and provides the structures and security to make it easier.
4. Make informed decisions
With work management tools in place, there is so much data that you can draw on. Rather than manually trawling and collating reports, much of the information exists, and you can quickly surface it in your work management tool. Budget reports, project status, resource deployed and workload capacity, sales pipeline – whatever you need to report on, you can glean those insights quickly and in whatever format you need. Forget spending hours copying and pasting from one tool to another.
5. Manage better
Whether managing a team directly or having stakeholders to keep informed, oversight is vital. Work management lets you see who is working on what and when, and track deadlines. It makes one-to-one meetings with your team more productive as you have ultimate visibility of the current status of projects. You can plan better for upcoming projects, and it's a great way to back up a business case for increased resources or budget.
In this current trend towards employee monitoring and increased scrutiny, is it not better to equip people with the tools to help them maximise their productivity and focus on what matters – getting the job done – and not the number of hours they spend at their desk?