Running a small business is a lot of work—between inventory counts, workforce management, and handling finances, there’s no shortage of tasks to complete. Having a plan and a course of action can help you stay focused and increase productivity—for both you and your staff. Just 10 minutes invested in planning can save you two hours of wasted time and effort throughout the day—but what’s the best way to structure your business’s operations?
Everyone stays organized differently. From to-do lists and sticky notes, to detailed calendar appointments, there are plenty of ways to manage your everyday responsibilities. But when it comes to managing your business operations and entire team of people, it’s important to not only keep track of the running list of duties, but also to put strategies in place to make the process efficient for everyone.
Whether you’re looking for tips on how to manage your team’s workload, or a few ways to make your daily, weekly, or monthly to-do lists really work for you—we’ve got you covered.
The most important step in effective task management is understanding your business’s priorities. In the US business market, on average, only 20 percent of the workday is spent on crucial and important things, while 80 percent is spent on things that have little value or no value at all. Not everything needs to be done right away, but don’t fall prey to putting off the most important tasks for menial projects like cleaning out your inbox and answering voicemails from vendors. While these tasks might make you feel like you’re tackling your to-do list, they’re likely pushing important responsibilities—like counting inventory, labor forecasting, and other projects that help move the needle—to the bottom of your list.
Each week take stalk of your larger ongoing projects and schedule out time to focus on those. Research shows that scheduling when and where you’ll do something makes it radically more likely that the task will actually get done. If you’ve been putting off auditing your business expenses or holding a training to update staff on new regulations, carve out specific times throughout the week to chip away at those projects. Evaluating the most important objectives for your business—and understanding the opportunities that come with completing them—can help you and your staff finish more high-value tasks.
Make an Effective To-Do List
Once you’ve established what your high impact projects are, you can focus on the best way for you and your team to get them done. But don’t just start listing out everything that needs to be completed in the next month—make thoughtful, well-formulated lists that will help keep your staff focused. Create multiple to-do lists with a plan of action for each project and operation. Always manage one long term project list, with broader goals you’d like to accomplish in the next month, quarter, year, etc. Find a to-do list template that works for you and your managers—and be realistic about upcoming priorities and deadlines.
Communicate with Your Team
No matter how well formulated your task management strategy is, without proper communication, you can’t expect peak productivity from your staff. While 95 percent of the US workforce uses email as its primary mode of communication, for organizations like retail stores and restaurants, email often slows down the communication process. Consider leveraging a team communication app to make collaboration with your staff faster and easier. When your manager needs your cook’s help placing an urgent food order, you don’t have time to waste. Look for a communication platform with a private employee chat network, and save time on message replies, easily share ideas, and give real time feedback to your team.
Try a Task Management Software
When you’re running a business, you can’t always be around to make sure your team is doing everything they’ve been assigned to do. Delegating is imperative to the success of your organization, but it can be stressful when you’re offsite wondering whether your shift manager logged food temperatures, or if your cashier closed out the register for the night. Utilizing a workforce management platform will not only help you assess which tasks have been completed, but will help increase productivity of your entire team. Quality programs will allow you to assign tasks to employees, incorporate instructions, and provide you with a record of who did what and when it got done. Even better, they will often grant role-based access, so managers receive notifications when a task is completed.
When it comes to task and workforce management, a little extra planning will go a long way. Learn more about how we can help you forecast trends—giving you an up-to-date picture of your business operations and staff needs.
- Harvard Business Review: Why Aren’t You Delegating?
- Harvard Business Review: How to Focus on What’s Important, Not Just What’s Urgent
- BonfyreApp: 6 Internal Communication Statistics for 2019
- Task: How to Manage Tasks Effectively? 10 Tips for Effective Task Management
- LinkedIn: 5 Ways You Can Use Technology To Clean Up Your Schedule