Planning resources can often mean that you are building a pretty tight schedule for your employees. Even more so if you are planning concurrent tasks while adjusting the utilization of each of them. There are more tips for boosting productivity out there than one could count. But how does something as simple as scheduling resources with a resource planning tool affect productivity? How detailed should a schedule be so it wouldn’t kill productivity?
One of the important components of motivation is actual energy to complete a task. That’s where a little flexibility in your employees’ schedules can work wonders. People work are the most productive if they have their own habit-based schedules. For some, it might be that they are doing creative work right when they get to work. For others, brainstorming sessions might be something they want to start their day with. Although you can plan tasks with 15-minute accuracy in our resource scheduling tool, you shouldn’t go overboard with it if there isn’t actual need for that. Now you might argue that minute to minute planning actually boosts productivity. Cal Newport said so, right? Well, planning your day out with that level of precision only works if you are doing it for yourself. Buuuuuut… in general, people do tend to have more energy in the morning. So schedule the tasks that are more important or harder to complete to the first half of the day. Or just give your team the tip that the day will seem oh-so-much peachier if you do the hardest task first.
Once more for the people in the back row. It’s still happening. There are too many long meetings that every team member has to attend. And those meetings? A huge productivity waste. The time that could be spent on completing tasks or taking a break, is spent on sitting in a stuffy meeting room. But we can’t go over that again. If you want to master the art of productive meetings, have a look at here. But basically, schedule meetings that are short and have a clear and strict agenda.
There isn’t a trophy for the person with the longest to-do list but there definitely is a cultural emphasis on the moral value of being a person with a busy schedule. There also isn’t a trophy for a manager that schedules their employees with the most tasks but there are some pros to finishing a project ahead of its schedule, aren’t there? Keep in mind that your team isn’t made up of robots. If it is – I’m seriously jealous. Even if you’d like to think that they are working 8 hours straight, you know that it isn’t actually the case. Having too many tasks planned out for the day will hurt productivity since you can’t really have it all. Tasks will fall behind schedule. The Zeigarnik effect will kick in and the tasks that aren’t complete will seem much more important than the ones that are. Stress will increase. To fix it, your team might thrive for getting it done with some overtime. Since overtime comes at the expense of leisure time or what even worse, sleep, it will decrease productivity during the next days as well.
Even if you build a schedule that’s perfect, and your team seems to be always working on their tasks, your project might fall behind its schedule. So what’s going on? Well, it’s important to remember that someone that is sitting at their desk for 8 hours might not be the most productive one. To fix this, you can try to become the productivity sensei. Leading by example is always a good idea. You can definitely guide your team to more productive time planning practices. If you are making a change towards more flexible resource scheduling, make sure to let your team know why that is (with a short meeting, hehe). Teach yourself about the Pomodoro Technique and time blocking and every other time management technique out there. Share the knowledge. Make planning your day out ∼cool∼.
When scheduling tasks, leave some air for flexibility if you can. Schedule more all day tasks or even all week tasks concurrently so that the person you are planning tasks for can actually shape their own daily schedule around their habits and preferences. Giving your team the freedom to shape their daily schedule and leading them to better planning is what you should do.
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