Teamwork tricks – how a calendar can help in team work

Teamwork tricks – how a calendar can help in team work

The calendar is one of the most important tools in the manager’s work. There are meetings, plans, and various additional information that has no place in the head. But in order for the calendar to bring benefits, and not just eat up precious time, you need to keep it right. And besides, not just one manager.

How to turn a calendar into an effective team work tool – I invite you to read.


Greeting! My name is Ilya Pracht, I am a TeamLead course trainer, Senior Product Manager, Delivery Manager and COO at OTUS. I actively practice myself and promote other time management. After all, it is thanks to him that you can manage everything everywhere (well, or a lot). The key tool, one might say, the core of time management for me, is the calendar. I want to talk about him today.

How we usually keep a calendar

Calendar is a convenient tool for synchronization. And usually, team leads and managers use it for just that. All meetings and calls are stitched here. There are convenient notifications, so you won’t miss anything.

So, most often, this is where the use of the calendar ends. And yes, for the manager, this is at least half of his work, because the entire working day consists of constant meetings and meetings. But the second half (and maybe the third, fourth, whatever that means) stay out of business.

The calendar can give many more buns, can cover many more tasks. Let’s figure out which ones.

Calendar features

To add some systematicity to our overview, let’s try to remember what the main functions of any manager are. There are 4 of them:

  • Planning

  • Organization

  • Motivation

  • CONTROL

And with each of these functions, a calendar can help!

Planning

We have considered the first useful feature of the calendar – you can create meetings, rallies, meetings. Add participants there, fill out the invitation, attach a link to zoom or meet (or any other tool you use), send invitations to all. You can even see who accepted the invitation and who didn’t. Easy. It helps in planning.

But that’s not all. The second important feature of the calendar for planning can be the allocation of time to tasks. This practice is not suitable for everyone. But I use it myself, so I’ll tell you.

When planning a week or a day, you can allocate specific slots in the calendar for certain tasks. Estimate how much you need and then allocate time. What is the profit? First of all, you record the most important tasks for you, and you will definitely deal with them, once you have allocated time (or almost definitely, there are also force majeure, of course). And secondly, it is clearly visible how many tasks will fit into your day or week. It will not be possible to push in the non-inflatable, as they say. And you will learn about it at the planning stage, not at the end of the week, when the deadline is pushed. Convenient, agree?

I repeat, this method is not suitable for everyone. There are 2 approaches in time management: from free time (and this is precisely the distribution of slots in the calendar) and from the list of tasks (keep the list sorted by priorities, always take the highest = important task). I found a compromise. If the task is urgent, I try to allocate a hard place for it in my calendar. If the deadlines are acceptable, then the tasks are in the backlog, and I take one of the top ones when I decide to work. And the wolves are fed, and the sheep are not harmed.

Organization and Control

Meetings, summonses, protocols, invitations are all about the organization as well. But again, there is a calendar and other useful functions.

How not to forget anything? There are many receptions. Someone drinks biohacker additives for memory. Someone writes on stickers and covers the monitor with them. Someone writes in a notebook (and then loses it in a pile of other notebooks). I suggest using the calendar here as well.

All information entered can be transferred to the task. Select a special list for the inbox there and store everything there. Several times a day to sort, get to work, plan. Allows you not to lose anything, work with the inbox from different places and from different devices. And the head is free.

And there is a reminder. An invaluable thing in the work of a manager. But it’s more about control.

Here, your developer Vasya promised to complete the task before lunch. Do you have to remember it? He promised otherwise, you didn’t ask, he didn’t do it. Or he won’t do it next time, because he tried, but no one asked for the result. You put a reminder in the calendar for lunch “Ask Vasya about the task”. At hour X, the calendar notifies you, you address Vasya’s question, and the situation is under control. Vasya didn’t make it, he said he needs a few more hours? Ok, we moved the reminder for 2 hours, and forgot again. The head is relieved, and the calendar will remind. But Vasya will have to do it, you will definitely come to him in exactly 2 hours.

And so with all the promises and agreements. Any organizational history. Very comfortable.

Motivation

Motivation is more difficult here. Everything is not solved “head on” like that. But even here the calendar can help you. I would like to suggest two techniques.

The first is to share your day. We have different biorhythms, some are owls, some are larks. Someone likes to start working earlier, someone likes to sit quietly and work at night. It is important that we have periods of different cognitive activity. Minimum 3:

  • The active work of the brain is to come up with some solution, to be creative;

  • The normal working of the brain is just the task of the task, without any particular RnD inside;

  • Passive work of the brain is when that’s all, the bowler doesn’t cook, the most they can do is to do some kind of monkey job, where you don’t have to strain your gray matter at all.

So, as a rule, these periods of activity are more or less stable in people. And you, knowing when you have a surge of strength and when you are in a passive phase, can plan tasks accordingly. Categorize them and insert them exactly in such periods. It helps to a lesser extent to force yourself to do something, and on the contrary, to use the fruits of your brain’s work.

And the second technique is the reverse. When you don’t want to do the task at all. There is absolutely no way, from under the stick as much as possible. And a pre-planned day helps here. Maybe I don’t want to do it, but I’ve already planned to go somewhere. So that I don’t have to change or move my plans later, I’d better take it and do it. That’s pretty much how it works.

I repeat, it is not everyone. But it helps me personally.

Calendar in the work of the team

Obviously, all of the above won’t work to their full potential if you’re the only one using the calendar. Your ideas and practices should be shared by the team, then it will make sense.

There are special rules of “calendar etiquette”, the observance of which gives a significant increase in productivity. And a significant relief in the life of the team members themselves.

We have prepared open lesson on the Team Lead course about this. AND August 2 at 8 p.m in Moscow, we will definitely tell you more about the possibilities of the calendar, the rules of team work with the calendar, about other useful life hacks that will make your life easier. Register and come!


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