Any job can get extremely hectic at times, with new crises popping up amid typical day-to-day obligations and long-term planning. It can be easy for staff to get sidetracked, overwhelmed, and disorganized amid all of the chaos. There could be many impacts of this disorganization. Obviously, there’s a risk that commitments won’t be kept and balls will get dropped. But, feeling disorganized can also make staff feel anxious and have a negative impact on morale.
An easy strategy for employees and teams is to keep to-do lists broken down into time-appropriate chunks—i.e., daily, weekly, and monthly plans. Daily plans might include recurring items like submitting a daily report or checking e-mail at the end of the day to catch any last-minute items. They might also include unexpected items that pop up throughout the day that need to be completed before close of business. Weekly and monthly plans, of course, will have longer time horizons and include longer-term projects and items that are less time-sensitive.
Making Tasks and Plans Visible
It’s essential that daily, weekly, and monthly plans have appropriate visibility. This might mean the plans are displayed prominently for an individual making his or her own to-do list, or it could mean a team’s weekly plan is highly visible in a common workspace or shared online space. The point of having a visible plan is threefold: First, it helps ensure the plan isn’t overlooked, which would defeat the entire purpose; second, it’s a useful means of holding oneself or members of a team accountable; and third, this visibility helps individuals and teams map out the obligations they have in a given time period.
For example, teams that have to complete three significant projects by the end of the month might find they need to delay or reject new tasks based on their current workloads. Without a monthly plan, they might not realize they don’t have additional bandwidth to commit to new work.
Combining Shorter- and Longer-Term Planning
Daily, weekly, and monthly plans shouldn’t simply be created at the start of the time period and revisited at the end. This practice sets planners up for time constraints when items in the plan haven’t been completed at the very end of the time period. Instead, it’s a best practice to regularly revisit the plans throughout the day, week, or month to ensure they are in place to address all the necessary items.
Few employees have the luxury of focusing exclusively on a single task day in and day out. Instead, employees and teams typically have multiple, competing commitments. Creating daily, weekly, and monthly plans can help organize those commitments and ensure nothing gets lost in the shuffle.