Your team handles numerous projects and tasks for various clients every day. Tackling everything at once can lead to chaos and burnout. Instead, it’s necessary to step back and prioritize your client work. As the saying goes, when everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.
Prioritizing client work, however, is easier said than done and can be one of the biggest challenges for managers and leaders.
Here are a few tips to help your team effectively prioritize work for clients daily.
1. Minimize distractions
From unnecessary meetings and irrelevant phone calls to chatty coworkers and requests from other departments, frequent interruptions can distract team members from urgent tasks and kill their productivity.
A study by the University of California, Irvine found that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get yourself back on track after being interrupted. Numerous distractions can add up quickly, costing you hours of your workday!
Typically, managers and supervisors are responsible for minimizing distractions so that employees can give their full attention to completing tasks. For example, you can schedule meetings only when necessary or consider implementing a schedule where team members take turns fielding incoming calls for one another.
2. Set realistic expectations
It’s easy to get carried away and overestimate the amount of work your team can complete in a given timeframe. However, placing too much work on your employees’ plates can cause them stress. And when team members are overwhelmed and rush to complete tasks on time, the quality of their work diminishes.
Be practical and realistic in terms of what you expect employees to accomplish within a specific timeframe. This will make it easier for team members to plan their workday and complete tasks within their deadlines.
It’s also important to remember that your team can only do so much work within a day, and there may be times when you must postpone or quit a task altogether.
3. Sort tasks by urgency and importance
While it may feel like every job is critical and needs immediate attention, this likely isn’t the case. When creating a to-do list for your team, it’s vital to arrange tasks by level of urgency and importance.
Using the Eisenhower Matrix, you can quickly prioritize tasks for client projects by putting them into these four quadrants:
- Do first – Tasks that are both important and urgent and need to be done immediately
- Schedule – Important, but less urgent tasks that you can schedule a time to do
- Delegate – Urgent, but less important tasks that you can delegate to others
- Don’t do – Neither urgent nor important tasks that you can choose not to do at all
As client work comes in, you can ask yourself which quadrant it falls under to decide its level of priority. For instance, your team may have work for a particular client that requires completion by the end of the day, or there will be severe consequences, such as a missed deadline or launch. These tasks, of course, are both important and urgent; therefore, they are high-priority.
Think about a task’s urgency and importance so your team can focus on work that takes precedence.
4. Schedule regular check-ins
Without regular check-ins, team members may feel lost or lack clear direction on client work. Check in with your team regularly to review priorities and track the progress of tasks.
Whether it’s in-person or by phone, schedule a time to meet with employees weekly to review priorities and ask team members how they’re feeling about current projects. This allows them to share any challenges or roadblocks they may be facing.
5. Get visual
Meeting deadlines is critical for any marketer or agency. You can help team members align on goals and keep everyone on the same page by maintaining a team calendar that displays essential deadlines.
A well-organized team calendar for projects can help employees visualize how they spend their time and better manage their schedules. They can also see what the team is working on, any upcoming deadlines, and track the progress of projects.
Gain offers collaborative calendars that your team can use to visually plan, manage, and schedule client work. A calendar can help team members see their work ahead for the next week or month.
6. Encourage a flexible mindset
Realize that priorities can shift at any time. What was once a high-priority task the day before, might be replaced by another more urgent matter. Team members must be quick on their feet and ready to change gears according to business needs.
Managers should train team members to prepare for any sudden changes. Flexibility is a valuable trait that allows employees to evaluate and shift priorities according to their importance.
Being able to prioritize client work is vital to the success of projects and overall business. Your team can’t do everything at once, and trying to will likely result in stress and missed deadlines. By prioritizing tasks, your team can complete work based on what’s most pressing at the time.