Getting more done with less is the mantra of every small business. But what are the habits you can use to actually accomplish more?
As a project manager, I have anywhere from two to six active development projects at any given time, plus a slew of smaller website bugs and issue requests of varying importance each with individual deadlines and responsible parties.
Through trials and tribulations, here’s what I’ve learned:
1. Build a flexible system.
Unless you do the same 2-3 things every day, you’re going to need flexibility to stay highly productive. That means finding some kind of triage system that will allow you to prioritize tasks as they come in.
2. Each week is different, but prep is prep.
Until you know what generally works or you get into a rhythm, it takes deliberate time, energy and a plan to change behavior.
3. Implement changes to your workflow slowly, over time.
If you try to change too much at one time, you’ll drive yourself crazy. You also won’t know what’s working and what isn’t, because you’re in constant flux.
4. Limit the number of tools you use to 2-3.
Along the same lines as #3, you need to keep the number of tools you use to stay productive under control, or you will spend more time jumping from tool to tool than getting things done. However, replacing one of your main tools with a better one periodically might be worth it.
5. If a picture is worth a thousand words, an annotated screenshot is worth at least $200.
Capturing relevant information and what you are seeing or referring to really cuts through the challenges of a remote workplace quickly. Everyone person uses different terminology (despite best efforts not to) and attacks problems differently, so it’s not safe to assume everyone will understand what you mean unless you’re very explicit.
6. Find a way to stay in touch with the team while on the go.
For us, Slack is the main workflow place that glues all projects and tools together. Finding a flexible system for keeping in touch, pinging people with updates, and generally checking in, is really useful and grows in importance the more independent your team is.
7. Set yourself (and others) up for success.
As a project manager, I’ve learned how important it is to anticipate the needs of others in order to get as much as possible done. Example: If I’m not going to check on Project A again until 2 days from now, I need to ask myself, what do I need to know or get from a client or team member in order to make sure progress is made? Do I have what I need to resolve the task(s) for Project A, or is there information that I need to request now, ahead of time, so that when the time comes to work on that particular project, we can make progress?
Do you have a system that keeps you uber-productive? We want to hear about it—get in touch with us today!