For many of us that have worked for large companies we’ve grown to think that perception is reality. If you’re the first one at your desk and the last one to leave, you must be working harder than everyone else. You must be getting more work done than your coworkers. And you are definitely the employee that’s most valuable, right? WRONG!
I spent the first 8 years of my career thinking this way. I worked for people that I always wanted to please and felt if I worked the longest hours then I was the most productive and valuable to them. It wasn’t until starting my own company and focused on time management that I recognized I was wrong the whole time.
Spending more than 12 hours in the office was both physically and mentally draining and I’d frequently find ways to fill time when I wasn’t “busy”. I put limited time into planning my day and became a reactive worker, versus a proactive one.
I knew that I had to figure out a way to change this. I wanted to wake up every morning energized to go to work, to execute, and to keep building not only my personal brand, and the company I wanted to build. And most importantly, I wanted to do this in eight hours so I could spend time with my family. Today I feel that I’ve accomplished this, and I attribute a big part of it to the implementation of a project management tool.
The #1 tool that we’ve integrated into our daily lives to execute and build our company is Basecamp. There are tons of project management tools available to help companies get more organized. We tried a few, we found Basecamp to be the most user friendly and effective one. It has become a key component to our business. It’s the new age pen and paper to-do list, but way more powerful.
A project management tool has a living and breathing to-do list. We upload daily, weekly, and monthly tasks, which not only provide lists of things that need to be done but stores a history of completed tasks and comments.
Reminders are set for tasks that are assigned to you by others, ones that need to be completed soon, tasks that are overdue, and notifies you when tasks are completed. You can also comment at others on tasks to keep task specific notes in one organized place. Having associated comments and questions with the specific task is immensely helpful. It helped us build out our invoice financing page in just 48 hours. This leads to the biggest advantage of a project management tool, accountability.
Accountability in an organization is essential for strategy execution and overall success. Having a central location where your team members can see each other’s to do list adds a special layer of accountability. It’s not just being accountable for things that need to get done, but it also shows the effort that each person puts into strategy and planning. We quickly see who uploaded tasks is at the last minute for our daily check ins and the people who are truly putting the time and effort into planning for their day, week, and month.
By using this tool our company has more than doubled our output with the same amount of people. There is way less talk and way more action.