Going from working solo to hiring your first team member is a big day in your entrepreneurial life.
It feels like a big leap. Suddenly, you’re responsible for someone else in your biz. And, all your worky quirks are visible for someone else to see.
Of course, the benefits outweigh the negatives: it pushes you to work smarter and grow your bottom line. By taking the time-consuming stuff off yer plate you’re left with more space for income-driven tasks – yipeeee!
But, in the beginning it’s not always easy finding your flow – especially if you work with a virtual team.
It has to work a bit differently
There are no passing conversations, no water cooler moments or after work drinks to catch up with colleagues or team members.
It often involves trial and error, working it out as you go, and it’s all too easy to fall into bad habits like:
- email as a to do list
- catching up on-the-fly
- not putting processes in place
before you know it everything is an organisational nightmare.
Which means that further down the line you end up working IN your business and reinventing the wheel. Or worse still; looking for things you shouldn’t have to look for when you could be unleashing your brilliance on the world. Eeeek.
When you work with a virtual team, communications are more important than ever.
You HAVE to put the time and systems in place to stay productive, keep things moving and working well together. If you don’t, you end up feeling like separate workers when you want to feel like you’re part of a team, right?
I’m going to share what happened in my team, and how we make sure we all know what each other are up to.
We were so close!
We had most of the pieces in place, but it still wasn’t quite perfect.
We had our weekly meetings scheduled but in between them my head was full of has this or that been done, and the things that we had spoken about in our meetings continued to swirl around my mind.
When this happens it’s impossible to be as creative as you can be or to focus entirely on your genius zone.
Your poor little brain is cluttered and overloaded. It desperately tries to keep you remembering all the things it thinks haven’t been dealt with. That’s why you’ll be working on something when suddenly you start worrying about client emails or website updates (true neuroscience fact!).
But we weren’t quite there, AND we had a terrible habit
Even if I got an email update to let me know that a task had been completed it was getting lost and so I was still wasting time wondering whether the action had taken place.
Hands up, 100% guilty of this: We had also fallen into a baaaaad habit – we were using FB messenger, Whatsapp, email and text to communicate between our weekly meetings. It was turning into a total waste of energy just trying to remember where I had seen an update on any given task.
What I needed was a separate, central place for tasks and projects.
I needed to be able to see very clearly and quickly what had been actioned, and just as importantly what was being planned – that the goal had been captured to be done in the future. Plus, my assistant needed to see what I was up to so she could nag remind me about any deadlines or tasks.
That doesn’t mean I wanted to micromanage OR get a text message every time my assistant replied to an email or edited a document. So what did we do?
So here’s what we did
Over at team HQ we started to use iDoneThis to keep track of all the little (and big) tasks on our to do lists.
It allows us to keep open communication in the team without being on top of each other all the time.
iDoneThis keeps a log of your “dones” and “goals” by sending a daily email at the end of the day asking you and your team – What did you get done today? It couldn’t be easier to update – you just reply directly to that email with what you’ve done.
The next morning you’ll get sent an email with your team’s updates (which you can like and comment on).
Even better news though – you can also set goals. Yessss, no more flippin wondering whether I had mentioned something, or whether my assistant had picked up on it on our calls. Exactly what had been missing before!
Hello clear thought space, bye bye cluttered and overwhelmed brain!
And if I want to check in on what’s happening without diving into the black hole of time sucky emails I can do it online, like this:
Because over at HQ we like everything to run smoothly, we’ve integrated iDoneThis to our other can’t-manage-without-it communication tool, Slack. That means we can update directly from there AND keep out of email as much as possible. WIN!
We use a designated channel in Slack so we can easily see what we’ve all been up to.
As usual there’s a smartphone app for checking in on progress when you’re out and about.
The benefit of being able to see at a glance is that you can then forget about it and get on with whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing.
Simple but effective
These are simple ideas which will make a MASSIVE impact in your biz. Without the overwhelm of trying to keep everything in your head you’ll feel a gazillion (at least) times more able to focus, I bet you.
Over to you
How about you? How do you keep on top of team tasks and projects?
If you’ve got lists all over the place and a head full of to do’s with no idea of how to get it all done or what your priorities should be, book a Clear Strategy session with me. We’ll untangle the mess and leave you with a sense of purpose and a very tidy list!
Read this blog on how I use Slack with my team: How I increased productivity by slacking off
Here’s what I think about team meetings: I do this every week with my team and MAN it feels good
And here are some other remote working gems that I can’t live without: 5 tools for successful remote working