How do you think your employees feel when you tell them to ‘redesign the website’ or ‘set up a marketing campaign’? With such broadly stated goals, they might not know where to start, or how long it’s going to take, they might be frustrated if the deadline seems to short, or they might not even feel like doing it at all if they don’t have a clear roadmap.


Long and complex tasks are killing productivity.


This is how you get procrastination, low motivation and everything that comes with it. And to make matters slightly worse, employers don’t know how to break up tasks - it’s not their specialty so, understandably, they don’t know which processes are involved in each project.


On the other hand, employees are just following orders, they want to get the job done and the deadlines aren’t allowing them to dedicate time to planning.


Luckily, there are a couple of things you can do to ensure that you give your employees small manageable tasks that they’ll want to get right on to.

Sharpen Your Knife

Breaking up complex projects into smaller chunks is a team effort and it will almost certainly take some time and practice. On the one hand, you need to do the initial slicing so that your workers don’t feel dizzy when they get a gigantic task that’s going to take them two months. On the other hand, it’s the Team Leads and employees who need to do the fine chopping because they know the steps and processes best.


So, when you get a brand new big project, first try to figure out how to divide it in phases. If you’re not familiar with the processes involved in that type of project, you can use time tracking software to analyze projects. Task tracking apps give you the ability to take a look at what goes on on your employees’ computers when they do a certain project or task. This includes websites and apps they use, who does what and how long each process takes.


Take this task tracking software data into account when formulating tasks. It will help you decide who to assign each part of the project to. Alternatively, you can chop up the project based on which tools are used for each part of it. This way, employees get tasks that seem at least slightly more manageable and they’re ready for work.


Which brings us to the second step. Now, let’s be honest here, your contribution to the task chopping process will probably be a very small one - good for initial motivation but not much else. Now it’s time for employees to get their hands dirty.


There are two things you can do at this point. First, trust your employees’ judgement - they are the experts, right? Well, at least some of them. And secondly, encourage planning. Allow time for the team to get together and map out the work that needs to be done. Encourage them to figure out the smaller steps in the process and to allocate tasks based on expertise. Tell them they could make to-do lists or organize everything within a project management system. Give them a couple of hours for this, maybe even a couple of days for very complex projects. This time investment will return manyfold.


(Useful tip: If your task tracking system has an option to give employees access to their data, make sure to tell them about it because the time tracking reports will come in really handy when estimating how much time to dedicate to different tasks.)

Follow Up

Just allocating smaller tasks doesn’t mean that your work is done. Just like with anything, you need to make sure that everything is working. Tracking progress is an essential part of process optimization. And luckily, you can use your employee project time tracking software for this too.


Keep tabs on which tasks are in progress, which are done and how long everything is going to take to finish. And if you see that something isn’t working, adjust.


Today’s technology even allows you to implement automated time tracking solution that makes the whole tracking process easier, more precise and error-free.


Doing task tracking in a methodical and accurate way will not only ensure that the team is on track with the project, but it also makes a neat client progress report.


How Does All of This Affect Productivity?

Smaller tasks improve productivity in a number of ways.


First of all, the employees and teams are more organized. They have everything mapped out and they always know exactly what they need to do next. Organized workload makes them more focused and productive.


Secondly, smaller chunks make progress tracking easier. Employees can check off completed tasks, so they know precisely how much work they’ve done and how much still remains. A sense of progress increases motivation to move the needle.


Finally, when employees have tasks that are doable in the foreseeable future (read: today), they are much more willing to start instead of procrastinate, and much less likely to succumb to distractions before they finish the task.

Conclusion


Long and complex tasks are scary. With no end in sight, they prompt procrastination more often than productivity. But technology and inter-team collaboration are here to save the day. Using project management and time tracking software along with encouraging employees’ common sense in organizing their workload open up the doors for a fresh burst of productivity, motivation and readiness to get down to business.


Workpuls Teramind ActivTrak Hubstaff DeskTime Time Doctor RescueTime Kickidler Veriato Work Examiner
OVERVIEW
Price $6/user/month $6/user/month $7.20/user/month $7/user/month $7/user/month $9.99/user/month $6/user/month $9.99/user/month $150/licence/year $60/licence (lifetime)
Free trial 7 days 7 days No 14 days 14 days 14 days 30 days 7 days Yes 30 days
Ease of use Very easy Difficult Very easy Easy Easy Very easy Very easy Very easy Very difficult Easy
TRACKING METHODS
Unlimited (tracker working 24/7)
Fixed (defined working hours)
Automatic (when computer is connected to a specified network)
Manual (start/stop)
Project based (track time only on projects)
GENERAL MONITORING FEATURES
Stealth mode
App and website usage
Real-time monitoring
Offline time tracking
Attendance
Activity levels
Keylogger
Geolocation
Remote desktop control
Website/activity blocking
SCREENSHOTS AND RECORDING
Screenshots
Screenshots on demand
Screen recording
PRODUCTIVITY FEATURES
Productivity trends
Websites and apps labeling
Category labeling
Productivity alerts
ADVANCED SECURITY FEATURES
User behavior analytics
Data loss prevention
Advanced file and web monitoring
REPORTING
Productivity reports
Team reports
Timelines
Email reports
Access management
PLATFORMS
Web
Mac desktop app
Windows desktop app
Linux desktop app
Mobile app iOS, Android iOS, Android iOS, Android iOS, Android iOS, Android Android
Browser extension Chrome Chrome Chrome
Other Citrix, VMware Chrome OS
OTHER
Support Phone, email, online Phone, email, online Phone, email, online Email, online Phone, email, online, in-person Online Phone, email, online Email, online, Viber, Whatsapp Phone, email, online, support ticket Phone, email, online
Knowledge base
Video tutorials
Integrations comming soon
API
Deployment cloud, on-premise cloud, on-premise, AWS, Azure cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud on-premise cloud, on-premise on-premise
Kronos Humanity Timeclockplus Tsheets Wheniwork Deputy Replicon Jibble EbilityTimeTracker OnTheClock
OVERVIEW
Price (per month)Available upon requestFrom $2 per userAvailable upon requestFrom $6.40 per user + $16Free for up to 75 usersFrom $2.50 per userBasic plan: $30 for 5 users + $5 per additional userFrom $1.50 per employeeFrom $4 per user + $8From $2.20 per user
Free trial30 days14 daysYes14 days14 days14 days30 days
Ease of useDifficultEasyDifficultVery easyEasyEasyDifficultVery easyEasyEasy
FEATURES
Timecard management
Scheduling
Shift Trading
Timesheets
Break time management
Real-time tracking
PTO Management
Payroll
Invoicing
Client billing
GPS tracking
Clock out reminders
Alerts
Manual time
PUNCH-IN METHODS
Web app
Mobile app
Time clock device
Time clock kiosk
Facial recognition
Fingerprint scanning
Geofencing
Group punch-in
REPORTING
Visual reports
Email reports
Time rounding
MANAGEMENT
Permissions
Manager approvals
Add time for others
Integrations
PLATFORMS
Web
Android app
iOS app
Mac desktop app
Windows desktop app
Linux desktop app
OTHER
SupportPhone and onlinePhone and onlinePhone, chat and onlinePhone and chatEmail and onlineChat and phonePhone, email, chat and onlinePhone and onlinePhone, email, chat and onlinePhone and online
Knowledge base
Video tutorials
Community forum
API
Workpuls Hubstaff Toggl TimeDoctor Harvest TimeCamp Timely Everhour Tick TMetric
OVERVIEW
Price (per month) $6 per user $5.83 per user $9 per user $9.99 per user $10.80 per user $5.25 per user $99 for 5 users $7 per user $19 for 10 projects $5 per user
Free trial 7 days 14 days 30 days 14 days 30 days Yes 14 days 14 days 30 days 30 days
Ease of use Very easy Difficult Difficult Very easy Easy Very easy Easy Difficult Very easy Difficult
TIME TRACKING METHODS
Manual
Start/stop buttons
Automatic time mapping
IN-DEPTH TASK AND PROJECT ANALYSIS
Screenshots
App and website usage
Activity levels coming soon
Real-time tracking
TASK AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Project adding
Project templates
Project status
Task assignment
Task priorities
Budgeting coming soon
Mark billable/non-billable hours
Payroll calculation
Invoicing
ALERTS
Idle time reminders
Deadline alerts coming soon
Budget alerts coming soon
REPORTING
Client login
Productivity analysis
Email reports coming soon
PLATFORMS
Web
Mac desktop app
Windows desktop app
Linux desktop app coming soon
iOS app Beta
Android app
Browser extension Chrome Chrome, Firefox Chrome Chrome Chrome, Firefox Chrome Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge
OTHER
Support Phone and online Email and online Email and online Online Online, email and phone Email, online and support ticket Email and chat Email and chat Email Chat
Knowledge base
Video tutorials
Integrations coming soon
API
On-premise hosting

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