You might think you could accomplish much more during the workday if only you had more time.
The sad reality is, we seem to waste our precious time—all the time.
Start reclaiming your (and your employees’) time by using an effective task management system. This will help you track tasks to determine where time is being wasted and make it easier to free up time for projects that keep getting put off.
Defining task management vs. project management
“Task management” and “project management” sound pretty similar. And they are—but there are differences.
Project management is a process of leading a team’s multiple tasks to achieve goals within specific timelines.
Meanwhile, task management serves as a foundation for project management because it involves managing each individual task through its whole life cycle. These tasks include planning and assigning work, status updates, setting timelines and priorities, gathering resources, and determining results.
Task management for teams is especially important for collaborative projects, but it can also help each person on your team:
- Complete their individual tasks by mapping out their day-to-day work.
- Identify what they need to be working on at any given point, whether a particular task rolls up into a larger project or not.
Getting to know task management systems
There are plenty of options for time management and task management systems. Your current system might even be as simple as a list of to-do items. However, investing time (and sometimes budget) into a more comprehensive option may help you and your team in the long run. After all, freeing up potential wasted time across your company is always something worth investing in!
No matter which type of task management system you choose for your team, make sure it includes the following components:
- Goals—Defining the ultimate task or project goal helps you see the big picture, but small milestones are important too. Succeeding at small goals can boost your team’s morale, which makes it easier to meet the overall objective. It’s also important that everyone involved is aware of their individual tasks and how they fit into the final project.
- Prioritization—You’ll want to determine the most important tasks that need to be completed before other steps.
- Scheduling—Knowing deadlines, resources, and constraints that go into each task ahead of time will help you set realistic expectations.
- Visualization—Seeing your task’s progress in real time helps you and your team to understand next steps and goal progress. Tools like Kanban boards and Gantt charts take individual tasks, collaborators, resources, and timelines into consideration and present it all in an easy-to-read visual flow.
- Collaboration—Task management systems for teams help each member see the status and progress of tasks so they can work together.
Choosing task management software
If you’ve decided that a to-do list or whiteboard full of colorful sticky notes just isn’t helpful anymore, investing in task management software might be the right option for your team.
Consider these elements before choosing your next task manager:
- Ease of use—Is the software user-friendly and relatively easy to understand? Having to learn a new system is sometimes difficult, so make sure your colleagues can pick it up quickly with minimal frustration. Accessibility is also important. Some programs are available on both desktop and mobile, making it easy to see and update tasks no matter where you and your team members are located.
- Connectedness—How well does it incorporate with the other software your company uses? This may not always be critical, but software that connects across systems will also help improve the ease of use.
- Complexity—How well does the software align with the number of tasks your team has going on at any one time? Find out if there are limits to the inputs or outputs, and whether you run the risk of reaching those limits.
- Security—Will you have sensitive data stored in (or connected to) this system? Make sure the software provider will stand behind their guarantee. Meanwhile, check in with your IT team if you’re not sure what kind of security is necessary for the data you have.
Get started in three steps
Congratulations! You’ve decided on the right task management software and you’re ready to implement it within your company. Next steps:
- Plan—Establish a timeline and milestones for rolling out the system. Identify stakeholders and how you will communicate progress to them.
- Communicate—Build excitement by helping employees understand how the new technology will benefit your company. Get employees who are good promoters on board first, and ask them to help you communicate the software’s value and ease of use to the rest of the team. Listen to and address anticipated concerns or pain points, if any.
- Train and implement—Allow for ongoing training, especially as you make adjustments to the software, onboard new employees, or incorporate software updates.
Imagine the possibilities of reclaimed time
Whether you make improvements to your company’s existing task management system or implement a new one, you’ll be glad you did.
By assessing and completing tasks effectively and efficiently, you and your team will get back plenty of time to address important projects that need attention. Reclaiming even just a few hours will ultimately make a big impact on your team’s productivity—not to mention the bottom line.