Welcome back to our series on how to improve the organization of your PPC team.
- Trust your team
- Focus on one task per day
- How to plan your work
- Structure your meetings
In the first part, I talked a bit about why overseeing everything and everybody as well as doing half the work yourself might not be the best way to create a productive workplace for you and your employees.
Now that we have the basics out of the way, I want to dig a little bit deeper into how my team works and share our secret philosophy on focus tasks with you.
But first, let me tell you a story.
In the beginning there was darkness…. and days so full of unstructured work that a small team of PPC managers didn’t know what to do next and how to prioritize which task. They didn’t know if they should jump in on every new request or if the work they were just doing was worth continuing. They were frustrated and thought they’d never get things done. The flood gates were wide open and our brave heroes about to drown. A change was needed.
And change came. We structured our work and we saw that it was good. But what did we do?
We decided to focus on one task per day. The focus task is the one task you need to do today. If you can do more, great, but all that is a nice bonus. Your focus task matters the most. Even if you have done nothing else but your focus task, that’s awesome. You finished everything that was important for you today.
Well, sounds great. But how do I find my focus task? This is how we organize the daily business in my team:
1. The setup
- Use a board to gather all your tasks. Be it digital (see tools like Trello, Asana or Evernote) or physically hanging on your wall, it needs to be big enough to hold every single job your team is doing. And by the way, every project or maybe even the individual employee has his own board.
- Create four sections on your board. We call them Prio 1, 2, 3 and “done”. You can call them anything you like as long as everyone grasps the meaning.
- Write all your current tasks on notes and stick them to your board. Yes, all of them. Then try to sort them into the different priorities. Just to be clear: having 30 prio one tasks isn’t good prioritization. I would say 10 to-do’s in prio one is an absolute maximum, five is better. All the other tasks are prio two and three. And yes, getting it right isn’t always easy and might take some time in the beginning, but you can do it.
2. The good morning routine
- Wake up, brush your teeth and do all the things you like to do in the morning until you enter the office.
- Take a look at your tasks and reprioritize where it’s needed.
- Pick your focus task.
- Kick ass at work.
By the way, you don’t pick focus tasks for a team. Everybody has his own role to play and thus his own assignment to accomplish. This way every employee knows what he is doing and that he is important because he contributes to the success of the whole project.
And do you remember my first article? Trust your team! I don’t assign them what they need to do. Everybody has his own board and does his own organization.
Last notice: There will be days were you need to change your focus task during the day and that is absolutely okay as long as it doesn’t happen too often. If you need to change it on three out of five days, then you haven’t picked your priorities properly and need to spend more time on your board segmenting and prioritizing. The same goes for not accomplishing your focus task most days. Do more planning and you will work a lot more effective: you get more tasks done, you know what you did was important for the success of your project and you go home with a good feeling.
I really do hope that this will help you organize your work a little bit better. In the next part, I’ll move from the daily business onto long-term planning and a broader view on your work. If you have any questions, need something explained in more detail or have a hint for good organization, just tell me in the comments section and I will come back to you.