Feeling busy? Here's how to prevent important tasks falling through the cracks

Shweta Jhajharia
Stressed Out Workers
Stay organised by making sure everyone knows what they're doing (Source: Getty)

Being a business leader is tough enough without tortured metaphors - but being in charge means the workday is pretty much taken up by plate-spinning.

Basically: whatever you accomplish, there’s still a whole lot of that stuff needing to be done. Here’s how to make it easier:

Read more: How much the productivity puzzle costs the UK

Stop doing everything yourself

Delegate to people who are stronger in the areas where you are weaker. The work will get done; you’ll be less stressed.

Give away your low-skill, low-fun tasks

Why? Because these tasks are: easier to train for; cheapest to hire for; and create the most distractions.

Develop a system

First of all, instal a task management system: Asana or Podio are good; for smaller businesses, a basic spreadsheet will do.

Then timeline everything: start with the deadline, then backtrack. Next, define the outcome. Your team needs to know exactly what’s expected of them. Ask them to recap, making sure they’ve understood what you intended to communicate. Don’t wait until near the end of a project before checking everything is on track; include a mid-way touch point in your diary.

Document everything you do

Read more: How to make workers more productive without paying them more

Comprehensive but concise documentation will feed back into your business by making the training of new hires more efficient.

To do this, create a shared spreadsheet with column headings for the following areas:

  • Task description
  • Due date
  • Date started – filled in by your team when work on a task has begun
  • Date complete – again filled in by your team; lets you know a task is ready for review
  • Team questions/comments – the team note any comments about the task
  • Leader responses – you pass comments back to the team

How to use it

Whenever a task arises, team leader adds it to the spreadsheet. The team gets started on it, filling in the fields accordingly. Once a task has been given a "date complete", it is double-checked. After the leader is satisfied that the task is done, they delete it from this list. Only they can delete.

This document is open during the entire working day, acting as the communal "to-do" list. Everyone in the team is aware of the status of all other projects, which makes meetings smooth and quick, and ensures absolutely nothing slips by unattended to.

By using these tips and tools you can run your business and your projects smoothly and efficiently. You will be in control of each project, so you’ll have more time to work on the business and its future - and less time taken up stressing about those blasted plates and cracks.

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