Prioritize. Schedule. Do. Delegate. Insert here other overused words that describe actions meant to smoothen the path towards checking those boxes on the to-do list. You already know all of these tips and tricks. They’re not wrong, but they aren’t optimum either. Especially in this century of automation and AI provided help. Let’s see what is new in the realm of managing work processes.
When we first stepped into the new millennium, we unknowingly (more or less) also entered a new era, that has proven out to be marked by a “software revolution”. From wearable internet, to driverless cars, blockchain, and 3D printing (for an enjoyable read, go to this link), the future looks extremely entertaining. (Maybe a bit scary as well, but that’s not the point.) And considering the speed at which this sector is developing, the future is right at our door.
But what does the software revolution have to do with task management? Well, if you’re excited about this computer-driven future, everything. Embracing the modern wave of technology will help streamline your business’ workflow. In doing so, it will also ease the burden of convoluted task management.
Here’s a few ideas on how to bring your task management techniques in the new era.
1. Make use of the available software
There are hundreds of management apps on the market. Plain or complex ones, free or with subscription, with a narrow scope or a broader one etc. It’s simply a matter of matching needs with services. Hence, one of the steps in choosing the most befitting piece of software is evaluating what’s the exact necessity. Is it an issue of time management, of faulty communication, or maybe of a disorganized workflow? After you have identified the core problem, search for the app that has been built precisely around it.
However, try not to get lost in dozens of apps. You don’t need 15 apps to solve 15 problems. The majority of them are designed to cover a process from start to finish after all. Keep in mind that implementing a new software implies employee training and on-boarding. While this can be successfully done following some easy steps, it can also create friction. It would be counterintuitive to handle an issue while generating others. Find the minimum number of apps that can manage the entire workflow and then stick with it.
2. Your tasks versus your team’s tasks
A manager’s tasks and those of the employees are, obviously, different. In the technology sphere, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. There are specialized tools for different parts of a business, serving different needs. To single out and enforce one software system for everyone, regardless of their responsibilities, might prove to be unsuitable and cause other problems.
Contrary to employees, managers have to do a lot of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. As a result, they need software that facilitate all the actions that these tasks imply. We’re not saying that workers don’t need reliable programs to help them organize and control their assignments, just that managers have a lot more administrative things to do. They have to design proposals, implement strategies, build reports. On the other hand, employees rather need agile means of communication, data centralization systems, user-friendly time reporting tools, and so on.
3. Use workflow automation software
What’s better than streamlining processes? Automating them. Reducing a redundant, routine task to an automated process leaves more time for things that matter. Of course, each company is free to choose what its priorities are. Whether it’s widening its pool of clients, improving workplace culture, or firing up new projects, every minute won is a minute spent on the new goal.
Automating workflows is one of the stepping stones towards the new era. More and more companies make the transition from on-premise tools (such as Outlook, Excel etc.) to cloud-based SaaS apps. The major advantage here is that SaaS apps can communicate via APIs, automatically merging data. This reduces the number of actions the user makes. The lower the number of tasks, the less task management you have to make. Simple, right?
Finally, a piece of advice: if you decide on using a certain method, be it tech or non-tech, discard all other ones. For example, when it comes to to-do lists, having tasks set up in an app, some sticky notes on your desktop, and a bunch of pieces of paper with reminders written on them spread around your desk will definitely not help. When you’re aiming for tidiness as an instrument for efficient management, less is more.