Why Unorthodox Scheduling Improves Time Management
Setting regular team meetings and check-ins is a standard part of the project management process, and something that virtually managers are familiar with. However, it is most likely considered a necessary evil by everyone involved, but there are ways to change the entire crew’s perception of a daily or otherwise meeting.
For example, every day at 9:49am, TINYhr CEO David Niu holds an all-hands-on deck staff meeting. And no, that starting time isn’t a typo. Not only does the seemingly random time keep it first and foremost in his team’s minds – and keeping it quick and keeping them standing helps to cut down on unnecessary chatter or conversation that may take over the meeting and distract attendees from the business at hand.
Note that this team meeting isn’t exactly planned for the standard workday starting time – it is still early in the day, but it gives everyone involved some buffer time to answer emails, get organized and situated for the day, have some coffee or tea, and get mentally prepared for the day. Of course, the 9:49 team meeting is meant for a 9:00 am start in this case, but the time can obviously be adjusted as applicable for any manager who wants to employ this technique with their own team.
A 9:49 meeting (or similar time depending on your business’s time zone or schedule) also can improve morale if managers announce “wins” or other significant milestones that were recently completed. No need for a major celebration, but a bit of recognition from both management and colleagues goes a long way towards boosting morale. After all, we all like to be appreciated. And remember that most of the time, the only time employees hear from their manager or boss is to be reprimanded, so positive reinforcement can go a long way.
Consider skipping Mondays and Fridays as well, unless absolutely necessary. First thing Monday morning is generally a bit chaotic for even the most organized employees, and even the most dedicated team members tend to mentally relax a bit at the end of the week (of course, adjust this timing depending on location and customs).
Another essential element of this kind of team meeting is empowering the team with the ability to freely overcome negatives or nip problems in the bud before they become bigger issues. Enabling team members to openly bring up anything that is blocking them from accomplishing a goal or otherwise preventing them from completing tasks or projects will decrease friction and speed up deliverables. These blocks could be anything from a lack of software or other tools, other employees needing to perform certain tasks or provide information, or clients needing to do their part (or any combination of the above).
Making sure that everyone involved leaves the meeting with actual next steps and tasks to accomplish is important. Straight up – there’s no point in spending the time and effort to have a meeting unless it will result in a positive effect on the bottom line on some level, after all. On a related note – keep it short. This kind of meeting is meant to be a quick status update, not a extended session discussing new projects, changes to existing ones, or other lengthy discussions that the entire might not need to be involved in.
Last but not least, personal accountability might be the most important aspect of the daily team meeting. If each person at the meeting announces one thing they want to accomplish that day – and someone takes notes for follow-ups – they are much more likely make sure it is checked off their to-do list before they leave. Especially if they know someone will be asking them about it at 9:49 am or a similar time during the next work day.