Leading a team, whether it’s a sports team, a band, or a team of digital marketers, is hard and time-consuming work. Getting people to focus on the same goal and work together for the good of a team is no walk in the park. Unless that walk includes being chased by wild ducks, and getting hit in the head with a frisbee.

The fact is, people are different.

Everyone has different work ethics, different team spirit, and different priorities.

So, what can a digital marketing team leader do, to make his or her team work like a clock, and also against the clock?

Let’s check out some tips that can help you manage time more effectively.

Have everything planned out and set up

Before you even start a project and assemble a team, you need to prepare the groundwork. Having the basics set up before everyone starts working on their individual tasks can save you loads of time in the future, when potential problems or setbacks start piling up.

To develop a plan that will make your team run like greased lightning, you can do the following:

  1. Write down the reasons behind the project
  2. Gather statistical data needed for guidance and goals
  3. Elaborate clear path to the goal
  4. Schedule individual tasks and define timelines
  5. Create review and control points

Another thing to do before the project starts is to gather all necessary documents and software that might speed up the whole process. This will prevent losing precious minutes in dealing with those things later.

Useful software solutions for managing remote digital marketing teams are:

Create a step-by-step to-do list

Studies have shown that creating a checklist with actionable and clear steps can help teams and individuals avoid anxiety over unfinished work, as well as be beneficial to productivity.

Other upsides of using to-do lists:

  • It can make tasks feel more manageable
  • It helps your team see the clear outline of completed and uncompleted tasks
  • It makes your team feel a sense of progress and accomplishment
  • It helps everyone focus on the most important tasks, at any given moment
  • Reduced delegation time

So how exactly can you make a good and effective to-do list?

First, you need to make some preparations. See what the goals your team needs to accomplish are, and write down all the activities that will get you there. Don’t worry about the order, or going into too much detail – just put everything you can think of on a piece of paper.

After that, you can list the tasks and activities in order, discard repetitive and less important stuff, and create the desired timetables.

To make a convenient to-do list, make sure you:

  1. Don’t confuse quality and quantity — shorter and more streamlined lists are better than long and cluttered ones. Include only the most necessary items.
  2. Make your list before the project starts — this sounds obvious, but many managers remember that they could use a to-do list only once the project has already started.
  3. Prioritize — start lists with the biggest and most time-consuming tasks and goals. Leaving the most difficult stuff for last is a sure way to increase anxiety as the deadline approaches. Tackle these activities when the team is fresh, and the productivity is at its highest.
  4. Mix it up a bit — make sure you insert some light and easy tasks between imperative ones, so that the team can get a little rest and a morale boost.

Don’t waste time on needless meetings

When you work in a remote team, there is often a need for team members to get together and have a joint conversation. These virtual meetings are very important for teams to clear some details, discuss the overall progress, and make sure everyone is still on the same page.

But when you take meetings too far, and start having them too frequently, or over matters that are not of immediate importance, there are bound to be negative consequences. People will get fatigued, they will lose focus and the productivity will suffer.

Some studies have shown that employees think that about 33% of the time invested in meetings feels unproductive, and that a whopping 63% of the meetings don’t have an agenda behind them. This is a lot of potentially wasted time, time that can endanger your project’s deadlines.

Allow flexible work hours

In a recent study, 37% of millennials said that they would settle for a pay cut if they were allowed to have flexible work hours.

Granted, being in a remote team is different than going to the office every day, but there are still a lot of employers and managers who demand that all team members be at their computers at the same time. And sure, for some types of work this is necessary, but for digital marketing, not so much.

If you allow your remote employees the freedom to manage their own time, it can prove beneficial to the team’s productivity and efficiency. As long as your plan is set, and everyone knows their own responsibilities and timetables, flexible work hours can be a good way to streamline time management and bring a new dynamic to your digital marketing team.

Some advantages of the flexible work hour policy are:

  • Increased feeling of personal control for employees
  • Reduced employee burnout and overload
  • Increased employee morale and engagement
  • Competitive advantage in recruiting talent
  • Reduced turnover

Conclusion

When leading a digital marketing team which is geographically, and sometimes culturally, dispersed, time management can be of central importance for project success. If you follow the aforementioned tips, your team can become more streamlined, and more time-efficient.

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Marketing and business author. Mostly focused on digital marketing, SEO, branding, and management.

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