How teams can reset for 2024
How teams can reset for 2024
After the busy end to the year, January is a good time to take stock and make plans for 2024. It is a good opportunity for people to get together and reset the team priorities for a productive year.
First, it can be useful to reflect on the year just gone. Collectively consider your ‘ways of working’ together. What worked well in 2023? What can be improved in 2024?
A team can boost their effectiveness and work-life balance by looking at how they communicate, plan and report together. This is particularly important when working in a hybrid model as there is less overlap in the office. Collaboration tools can help streamline status reporting which in turn saves update time in team meetings. And who doesn’t want to spend less time in meetings in 2024!
Reset for 2024
Now focus on what the team needs to achieve in 2024. Review existing goals to identify what is still relevant. Have new goals and priorities emerged since the last time you planned? What is realistic to achieve this year, based on the existing workload?
Practical goal setting
A lot of goals are never achieved mainly because they are too vague. The key to success is to be specific and then break the bigger goal into smaller actions and tasks.
Here are some tips for goal setting in 2024
To turn a high-level goal into a practical action plan, get together and ask:
1. What is the change we want or need to make?
This helps the team decide the work that needs to be done to achieve the goal. Be clear and be specific.
2. Why are we doing this work?
What is the motivation, what impact will it make? Does this fit our overall vision and purpose?
3. When does this goal need to be achieved?
Agree the deadline and then work backwards to set target dates for smaller tasks along the way. This helps the team stay motivated and focused throughout.
Also consider the timeframe for each goal you set and prioritise the ones that will add most value.
4. What can stop us?
List the factors that stopped progress the past. Then consider how to avoid this time.
5. How can we achieve this goal?
What actual work needs to be done to make it happen? Break the high-level goal into smaller actions and tasks.
Develop the action plan
Now it will be easier to: 1) develop a plan, 2) get started and 3) make small incremental progress each week. All actions add up and, if well planned, the goal can be achieved by the deadline.
A plan keeps everyone on track and gives the project a greater chance of succeeding. Here is a sample goal planner for small projects, available for download from the beproductive.ie website here: https://beproductive.ie/productivity-resources/
Be realistic about time
Now you have a plan in place but how are you going to find time to work on it? It can be hard to find time for planned work when there are lots of ongoing day-today tasks to get done. It helps to take a realistic view of the workload and schedules and then take control of your time by implementing a weekly planning routine.
Here are some key tips to help you get into the habit of regular planning. These exact tips may not suit everyone, but you can adjust each one to suit your way of working:
- Each Friday afternoon take 10 to 15 minutes to look at the week ahead.
- Identify up to 3 key things to get done the next week. This can include work on your goals or important operational tasks.
- Schedule time in your diary for this work rather than leaving it to chance. This helps you get the planned work done while still being available to respond to other requests.
- Protect this time by using time blocks, starting with one or two 1-hour blocks each week.
- Labelling each block with the target task or outcome helps to keep you focused and motivated to complete the task.
- As other requests arise, assess their priority against your planned work.
- If you need to prioritise something new, make sure you reschedule the time block so that you don’t lose momentum.
This is ‘time blocking’, a productivity technique that allows you make progress on your planned work while still being available most of the day for your stakeholders.
As well as helping our productivity, time blocking can also reduce stress because we feel more control over our time.
Happy New Year to you all. I hope you have a successful and productive 2024.