Research Backed Approaches to Leadership and Team Dynamics with Dr. Will Ramey, The Leadership Dr.
Visual Management: Making your tasks visible, knowing what needs started, and what’s in process pays dividends when it comes to where you are spending your time, effort, and energy. We provide how to get started with a simple and effective approach to visual management of your tasks. Let’s get into it!
The Time Vortex
Team leaders get pulled in a hundred different directions throughout the day. One conversation sparks another conversation which leads to a new task that requires a phone call which turns into…wait…what was I planning to do today?
As a team leader your responsibility increases as does your span of control. You are no longer an individual contributor. What doesn’t increase is the amount of time you have to get things done. Your team needs your time. Your peers need your time. YOU need your time. How can you keep track of your priorities, know what you and your team are working on, and when to celebrate accomplishments? Let me introduce you to the “To-Do, Doing, Done” board.
The To-Do, Doing, Done board operates on the Kanban principle. This principle is aimed to do work just-in-time and reduce waste. It is a visual management tool used to identify what works needs to be done. This simple and effective visual management tool can be applied to your priority task list to reduce wasted energy and cognitive load from continuously switching tasks, trying to recall what needs started, what is in process, and what is done. Make work visible, limit the amount of work in progress, and celebrate the wins when work gets done.
Get Started with Your Board
You can get started with something as simple as a whiteboard with sticky notes or go high tech with the use of an app. Whatever method you choose must be easy for you to access, be clear with what is in what column and be visible to you throughout your day. I prefer high touch/low tech solutions. For this approach you will need a pad of sticky notes, a marker or pen, and a board that you can write on.
1. Divide your board into three columns labeled: To-Do, Doing, Done
2. Determine the time span that you want your board to represent. To get started it can represent a daily board. If it’s not too overwhelming you can set your board up as a weekly board. This means that the tasks in your To-Do column should be able to move through the Do and to the Done column by the end of your week.
3. On the sticky pads write down your tasks, one per sticky. Ensure your tasks are clear and concise. They should be single steps. If you have a big project, break the tasks down into a single step.
4. Review your tasks. Write down an estimate of how long the task should take to complete. Determine how many of these tasks you can tackle based on the time range of your board.
5. Stick all your notes on the board in the To-Do column based on their priority.
6. Move the first couple over to the Doing column and get busy!
7. When you complete a task move it from Doing to Done. Them pull the next task over from To-Do into the Doing column.
8. Repeat until all your tasks are in the Done column.
There are a number of customizations you can make. You can color code your sticky notes based on the Eisenhower Matrix priority list. Learn more about how to use the Eisenhower Matrix here: Eisenhower Matrix for Prioritizing Tasks
You can use this board for tasks that you assign to team members too. Be sure to write the person you assigned the task to on the sticky note. As you move through this process you will add new tasks to your To-Do column and archive the completed tasks from you Done column.
Benefits of the Board
As a team leader you can use the tasks in the done column as a way to celebrate the accomplishments of your team. You can also add a column called “Reflect”. These would represent completed tasks that you want to circle back to your team on so you can learn more; What went well? What needs to change? Being a team leader can take a toll on you. There never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done and spend time with your team.
The good news is that putting systems in place to make what you are working on visual you will have the benefit of focus and control. This system helps to eliminate distractions. By making team tasks visible you can engage with your team through follow ups and collaboration. It also provides a visual reminder of what you are doing and contributing to help push your team forward and meet the organizations goals. Now, get out there and get started!
Interested in learning how to reclaim control of your time and feel less stressed when you look at your calendar? Check out my virtual course Prioritize & Execute – Leadership Development
Reach out to connect on LinkedIn Dr. William Ramey | LinkedIn
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