Whether you're a sole trader or manage many employees, you must ensure that important work gets done to a high standard and on time. So how do you prevent important tasks from being neglected?
1 Stop doing everything yourself
Share the load with people who are stronger in areas where you are weaker. The work will get done; you'll feel less stressed; and your business will benefit.
2 Give away low-skill, low-fun tasks first
The tasks to delegate are the ones that are least enjoyable and require less-skill. Why? Because they are: easier to train others to do; cheapest to hire for; and often create the most distractions.
3 Match the correct person to the role
Before you hire, define the role along with responsibilities and desired output. Then match that against a few key considerations:
- Do they have the right skills for the job?
- Does their personality type match the tasks they'll be doing?
- Are they enthusiastic about the job?
4 Develop a system
Introducing a system is critical if you want to ensure tasks don't fall through the cracks. It will also you help you manage your team.
- Define the outcome. Ensure team members know exactly what is expected of them.
- Timeline everything. Start with the date when the result needs to be achieved and plan backward from there.
- Ask employees to recap. Hear it in their words and make sure they have understood your instructions.
- Include a touch point in your diary. Mid-way through the project make sure everything is on track. If you wait until the end – it may be too late to deal with serious issues.
- Install a task-management system. A basic spreadsheet can be used to manage tasks.
5 Document everything you do
Create concise but comprehensive documentation and it will feed back into your business by making the training of new hires a breeze, ensuring your business runs without interruption. Remember to keep it concise and simple:
- Limit yourself to one-page documents.
- Make use of checklists and bullet points.
6 Use a Google Drive spreadsheet
At the London Coaching Group, we have an efficient team that works very closely. And we exchange barely any emails.
What you need:
- A Google account (which is free) and an activated Google Drive (also free).
- A Google Spreadsheet within Google Drive (click Create > Spreadsheet). This works much like an Excel Spreadsheet. It must also be shared with your team (click on Share in the top right).
You then create column headings for:
- Task description.
- Due date.
- Date started (filled in by your team to indicate when work on a task has begun).
- Date complete (filled in by your team to let you know a task is ready for review).
- Team Qs/comments (filled in by the team if they have any comments about the task).
- Leader responses (filled in by you, giving comments to the team).
So how do we use this?
Whenever a task comes to mind, I, as the team leader, add it to the spreadsheet straight away. My team then fills in the fields accordingly. Once a task has a "Date complete" I double-check the task. Once I've double-checked and it's done, I delete it from this list. Only I can delete.
My team and I keep this document open during our working day. It acts as our communal 'to-do' list. Everyone is aware of the status of all other projects, which makes meetings a breeze and ensures nothing falls through the cracks.
By using the tips and tools above you can run your business and your projects smoothly and efficiently. You will be 100% in control of each project, which reduces stress and that feeling of a 'heavy load'. So you'll have more time to work on your business and its future.
Copyright © Shweta Jhajharia 2014. Shweta is an award-winning business coach and founder of The London Coaching Group.