Top 3 Tips for Productivity from a Project Manager

It’s hard to believe that next month (September!) I’ll be celebrating one year of working at The Wonder Jam. I spent most of the last year in a part-time role, but have recently been hired as a full-time employee…cue the celebrations! In the past year, I’ve learned a lot about managing a remote team and wanted to share a few quick tips!

Here’s my workspace and my assistant Iggy.

Tip 1: Do weekly check-ins with your team.

When I first started at The Wonder Jam, I would do a 15-minute weekly status call with each individual on our team. It worked well for a while, but with our team being in different time zones, I quickly realized that a weekly call wasn’t ideal. Instead, I created a recurring task for each team member to fill out a special status form I made in Asana. Some really key questions I ask are:

  • How was this past week for you? Anything you’d like to brag about, share your concern or offer up a suggestion?
  • Looking ahead to next week, are there any projects you feel stuck or confused about?
  • How many hours are you available to work next week? Since almost everyone is a contractor, you can dictate this! Or keep Dayna up to date on your availability.
  • How does your workload for next week match up with your capacity of work hours?
  • After taking a look at next week’s calendar, let Dayna know if you want clarification on any meetings or due dates that involve you!
  • Are there any OOO dates you need to tell Dayna about?
  • Anything else you’d like to tell Dayna?

I get a notification as soon as each team member fills out their form, and I set time aside every week to read through them and update our leadership team. I’ll task myself if I need to delegate more work or check in on any projects. This system works well for us because it gives each of our team members time to think about their answers, rather than having to think of them on the spot while they’re on the phone. 

Tip 2: Turn off notifications.

As a project manager and retired social media manager, I’m the queen of having all notifications turned on. However, when it’s time for me to dive deep into a project or work on a task that needs my full attention for a while, I turn off the notifications on my phone, Slack, email and Asana. This really helps me focus and allows me to put all of my energy into what I’m working on. I’ve found that when I do this, I complete my tasks in about half the time as opposed to when I forget to do it and I’m constantly being interrupted.

Tip 3: Plan your day around the way you work.

Have I mentioned that I’m working my dream job for a dream team? One of my favorite things about The Wonder Jam is the flexibility. I definitely need to get my work done and in a timely manner, but I have the ability to choose when I work. Even if you don’t have this flexibility, you can still plan your day based on how you work. For example, I’m not a morning person, so I like to read through emails, update Asana and do small tasks when I first wake up. I block off an hour each morning on my calendar to get caught up on these things. At the end of each week, I look at my task list for the following week and block out time to work on those tasks. If there’s some strategy/creative or copywriting tasks for me, I will block out a few hours in the afternoon to work on those, because I know that’s when my brain can handle those tasks. If you have the opportunity to manage your calendar (which you should), then make your calendar work for you!

I hope you find these tips helpful. Feel free to leave a comment below or reach out if you have any questions!

August 20, 2019
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