If you own or manage an enterprise, you already know that time is tight and that as the leader you have to prioritize your areas of focus. The more you can succeed at intelligent task management and getting items off of your to-do list, the faster you can get back to the essential business of building your company and turning a profit – as its visionary thought leader, not its go-to worker bee.
We're talking about a hierarchy of tasks, similar to what was described by two time management experts, Jordan Cohen – who won a Management Innovation eXchange award for his work at Pfizer, and Julian Birkinshaw, who chairs a department at the London Business School. In a piece they co-authored for Harvard Business Review, they refer to tasks that waste your time while delivering relatively little real value and they sort them into "quick kills," "off-load" tasks, and "redesigns."
1. A quick-kill is something you can drop from your to-do list without suffering any negative repercussions. We all have those little time-wasters, and it is just a matter of identifying them and dumping them.
2. Then there are tasks we really should be delegating to someone else, the so-called "off-load opportunities." Keep in mind that delegation doesn't rob you of managerial control. Instead, if it's done right, it empowers you by making your employees more accountable and responsible.
3. The third is long-term redesign, the category for work that needs to be redefined, restructured, or otherwise reevaluated. Maybe you need to come up with a more efficient way to tackle that problem, for instance, or you want to create a task force to deal with it.
But what if you could reassign all of those pesky and time-sapping task lists – and the prioritization and scheduling of each of them – to an employee who never gets tired, never asks for a day off, and doesn't demand a raise? Actually, in today's digitally-fueled business world, you can, by putting task management software and apps to work to solve these issues. The highly sophisticated enterprise software that handles critical details like these for big Fortune 500 companies is now available to medium-sized businesses and even small "Mom and Pop" companies.
You don't have to be technically proficient or spend money installing costly software or computer infrastructure. All you have to do is shop for apps that are custom-designed to fulfill your task management and work prioritization needs. There are even full-fledged systems that work as mobile smartphone apps you can operate from your phone, iPad, or virtually any other kind of Wi-Fi and Internet-connected gadget. Not only that, but these inexpensive and powerful apps are also capable of performing remote task manager work. So instead of dropping everything and commuting back to your office or across town to your other stores or locations, it's possible to track and manage tasks from your home, your vehicle, or even from the golf course.
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