Coming back from the holidays can be pretty brutal. Returning to waking up early, commuting to work, and sitting at your desk just don’t seem as joyful as spending time with family and friends. But as we all know too well, time keeps moving – and with a new year comes plenty of work. Sometimes, it’s easy to be glass-half-empty kind of people and moan about all the stuff we have to do. But other times, new projects can be energizing and exciting to get back to. Of course, it’s always better to be positive, so here are a few ideas for some quick-wins to improve things for your team – and start the year off on a positive note:
Daily or Weekly Huddles
The new year brings plenty of new projects and things to do. Items are being added to your to-do list every day. Especially if you’re rolling out some big initiatives, the additional requirements are just being added on top of your already existing workload. To help alleviate stress, consider implementing daily or weekly huddles with either your manger, your team, or both. These huddles take about 15 minutes, and are designed for you to discuss your list and receive direction on priorities. Determining what’s most important will allow you to tackle projects efficiently. It also helps others to understand where you’re coming from if things get pushed back. Make sure these meetings aren’t much more than 15 minutes – the idea is not to take time away from you, but to help you organize it better. And spending a few minutes each day or week covering priority projects can definitely help things move forward.
Pro Tip: Need more methods for improving team dynamics this year? Here's a simple 3-step activity you can run any time.
A number of you are implementing some big changes this year, like new processes, new technologies, or both. One of the most important things to do is to keep track of current state vs. future state as they’re discovered. This way, you and your team have something to reference when you’re wondering how things should be done. They key here is noting them down as they are discovered. Creating a live document that all team members have access to –and maintaining this document constantly – will make things easier when all changes are in place. Then, nobody has to go back and try to remember, “what was that thing again?”
If you're on the lookout for some templates to help track changes and improve HR processes, we've put together a list of resources to help you find what you're looking for.
Design Your Folders Like A True Architect
Whatever your project is, I don’t need to sell you on the need for organization. And since we’ve already talked about documentation, it’s important to touch upon how that documentation is organized. Before your network drives become extreme chaos, take some time to design what the folder structure should look like. Clearly define what types of documents should exist in each folder, and consider putting one person in charge of creating new folders if necessary. Limiting folder creation to one individual can prevent duplicate or excess folders from being added. This helps to avoid confusion for all team members, since everyone will know where to go for the single source of information. Box has a really helpful article on how to plan out your folder structure - before giving your team access to your network drives.
Okay - I may just be a process-map enthusiast, but there really is no better way to spot improvements. When you take the time to lay out each step of a process, you can see duplicates, things that are out of order, and items that are completely unnecessary. Warning – when building a process map, be aware that some people are much more detail oriented than others. It may be best to let a high-level thinker take a first crack and a detailer fill in the rest. I have seen someone lose their cool when the details prevented them from ever getting to that terminal node.
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These are just a few ideas for quick ways to improve processes and project management as you enter the new year. Do you have any others that could potentially save someone from being overwhelmed? Let us know in the comments!