How long is your to-do list?
To-do lists are awesome things. Just trying to get through the day-to-day work at your business can be stressful. When you need to tackle a huge project, the work can sometimes seem overwhelming. By using a great to-do list, you can mitigate that stress by seeing all of the tasks of the day, week, or month laid out in front of you. The trick is that, when you are running a small business, your regular to-do list might be a bit too limited to get the job done. This is one of the reasons why companies both big and small should adopt a full-featured project management system to make sure everyone is on the same page and help them keep all of the balls in the air.
Your Basic To-Do List
On a very basic level, a good to-do list should simply allow you to organize the tasks in your day. They are great for organizing your personal life (get groceries, pick up dry-cleaning, get the dog groomed), but when you are dealing with more complicated and advanced tasks, you might find your simple to-do list expanding to an unreasonable number of entries. There are only so many lines for entries on a page! If you have too many projects on the go, you’re going to want to upgrade to something a little more useful.
If you’re an entrepreneur or run a small business, odds are that you have a ton of different projects for a number of different clients at all times. Sure, you could have individual to-do lists for each client, but that can get confusing and, if you are working with others, you can easily lose track of your progress, especially if it is a multi-step project.
One of the best things about a full-featured project management system (such as TeamWork Project Management or Asana) is that you can enter all of your clients into one system. That way, all of the tasks and projects for that client will be in one place for easy reference.
If you are working on a large project, you can easily set up a main task with a number of sub tasks for the project. This allows you to create a SOP (standard operating procedure) for each of your clients. It will ensure that each step of the project is finished before the next one is started, with no steps missed along the way.
Project Management for Teams
If you are working with a team, a project management system is a must. You can assign individual tasks to each of your team members and leave detailed instructions for them in the task. With most project management systems, there will be a comment section where your team can ask questions, making sure that there will always be a written record of your conversations about a project.
For multi-step projects, you can also assign subtasks to each team member with the order they need to be done. Let’s say that you are working on creating a newsletter for the month. You can assign yourself the overall task, and assign a number of subtasks to your team. First could be the person on the team who writes the content. Second could be the person who edits the copy. Next could be the person who designs the newsletter’s layout and graphics. Last could be the person who puts it all together into an attractive email marketing package. Once one team member completes their task, the person who is assigned the next step will be notified automatically that they can then start their part of the project. You, of course, will be notified every step of the way to make sure that you can easily keep track of how a project is coming along.
Integration with Other Online Tools
The integration of online tools can make things far easier for businesses. Most project management systems can be connected to time tracking systems such as Harvest. This can make invoicing an absolute snap. When you or your employees click on the time tracking button within a task, Harvest springs into action, giving you the opportunity to put down all relevant information while linking that time entry automatically to that task. Once you are finished working on the task, just hit the time tracking button again and the timer will stop. Once it is time for invoicing, you will have a complete record of all the work that was done in that pay period, divided into clients, along with the information of which team member did what.
Project management systems can be one of the best efficiency tools in a small business’ toolkit. By using one, you can minimize the time wasted on projects and make sure nothing slips through the cracks. You will have a record of all work done and who did it. They make teamwork smoother and collaboration simpler and easier. A great project management system can save you so much time that, heck, you might even be able to finally find room in your schedule for a weekly exercise routine!
The only problem is that they can take forever to set up! You need to put in all of your clients, their information, all of your team members, their information, integrate other online tools into the system, create the tasks, and much more. Believe me, once it is set up, a project management system will measurably improve your life, but getting to that point can be a pain. That’s why hiring a virtual assistant who has experience with setting up project management systems can be well worth your time and money. They can get everything ready for you, so all you need to do is log in and find all of your projects, tasks, clients, and team members waiting for you. You just need to know what your company needs from a project management system. Contact me today and we can talk about how adopting a project management system can make you put away your old to-do list forever and take your productivity to the next level!