Recently one of my friends said this on LinkedIn in response to my post on the to-do list – ”I have been using a spreadsheet and it’s working well so far. (I) Am getting peaceful sleep unlike earlier when it used to always bother me that am missing something important. But it’s growing bigger mostly with ones (I) am dependent on others to complete.”

He is talking about two problems, but let’s focus on the problem of tasks dependent on others. This is a common experience when you have a team of directs and contractors working for you.

I have heard this invariably from people who are into managerial roles. The situation actually gets worse when you double up the managerial role with an individual contributor’s role. When you take out some time to get deeper into a problem, you are guaranteed to be missing on pushing your teams and contractors and overall losing on your productivity.

Let’s deduce a solution:

You will say that why do people need reminders. Why don’t they just do whatever is asked of them and deliver”

The answer is easy. They too are humans. They also get overwhelmed by the work they get on their plate. They also get distracted by changing priorities and scope.

The next question is then what is in my hands to insulate my productivity from the chaotic work practices of others. The answer is – give them enough and timely reminders.

The next question is then how do I remember what I have to remind others about. And we get our solution to this problem:

  1. Maintain a list of delegations for which you are dependent on others. Note that the dependency could be hierarchical up or sideways as well. Your superiors or peers also need reminders, so don’t forget to include even those delegations in your list.
  2. Review this list of delegations at least once every day, typically in the morning so that you could send reminders early in the day and get them to work on your tasks.
  3. Keeping this list of delegations separate from your regular to-do list will make it easy to quickly process this list and get back to your primary to-do list. Also, you should be sensitive to the fact that most often the actions from your to-do list often flow into the list of delations and vice versa.

As I always say, no matter how many management techniques you apply to get work done out of delegations, one sure thing that always works and is a must is – enough and timely reminders!

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