Project managers usually think from the perspective of multitaskers. Meetings all day long, constant notifications on the slack and a thousand tasks per minute are their daily bread. However, many jobs don’t look like this. Analytical, creative, and product development employees need time to focus to enter the ‘flow’ or ‘phase’ when they are most productive. How to support your team in focusing? 


Focus – a productivity booster

We live in the age of multitasking. We work and listen to music, we take the bus and scroll through our smartphones, we cook dinner and answer emails. We rarely do one thing at a time, and finally – we find it increasingly difficult to focus and maintain attention for long periods.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, our average attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds. In 2015, it was just 8.25 seconds! We are finding it increasingly difficult to stay focused because we are used to constantly providing ourselves with new stimuli. Distractors are everywhere affecting the productivity and quality of the work we do. This is a huge challenge for organizations where efficient use of time is essential. Unfortunately, many of them want to get as much done as possible in as little time as possible, but in the end, they reduce the capacity of their employees.


A story about how companies sabotage their own effectiveness

Companies make many mistakes that negatively impact team effectiveness. 

  • Firstly, a teamwork schedule does not exist and the rhythm of work is determined by ad-hoc tasks. 

  • Secondly, work planning does not take into account individual differences. 

  • Thirdly, the work schedule is made from the perspective of the project manager, not from the perspective of the executive. 

  • Fourthly, companies do not value the time of their employees and do not prioritize tasks, e.g. too many meetings in which everyone is involved even if they’re not needed. 

  • Fifthly, companies do not analyze their performance data, for example, time reports or feedback from their team. 

Does this mean that there is no hope and we are all doomed to perform inefficiently? Absolutely not! There are many ways to improve performance, starting with a good employee management tool, a flexible approach, and awareness of the focus process. In this article, we’ll discuss tips on how to improve the quality and comfort of your work with good planning.


How to increase team focus with work management software?

  1. Individual approach

Everyone is different. Yes, we know it sounds like a cliché, but when looking for the perfect work model you have to take into account the individual preferences of your people. Some work better in the morning, others in the evening. Some get bored quickly and like a lot of variety, while others prefer to focus on one big task before moving on to the next. Use the resource scheduling software to assign the right tasks to the right people. The role assignment feature will also be very useful – so everyone can see at a glance who is responsible for what.

Free employee scheduling software or shift scheduling software help with employee scheduling
Employee scheduling/work scheduling software helps with the scheduling process and employee availability
  1. Control the workload

During workload management, it’s important to set ambitious goals and give your team a sense of achievement and growth. However, it is easy to fall into the trap of overloading your employees. If they worked efficiently one month and achieved a project milestone, the next month they get even more, and so on. This strategy is very short-term – everyone will eventually become overtired, frustrated, less productive, and demotivated because they will feel like the work never ends. To avoid this, control your team’s workload. You can try to work in intervals, where one week will be more intense and the other a little less, or you can make sure to keep a balance in your daily workload. Use resource management software to make sure your employees are not under too much pressure. Incorporating a virtual data room can also enhance the security and efficiency of project management.


  1. Give some time to focus 

According to a University of California Irvine study, it takes a person 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to a state of focus on a task after being distracted. This may not seem like much, but if every day an employee has 3 meetings and 10 messages on Slack – it becomes a huge loss of efficiency. How to prevent this? Suggest to your employees that they book themselves a focus time. Using the calendar, they can set a meeting for themselves – for example, 2 hours during the day. You can be sure that when your team gets some time in which they can focus only on the task – productivity will increase.

  1. Set priorities

In many organizations, there is a tendency to label every task as very urgent and very important. The thinking behind this is that prioritizing each task will make the employee take each task equally seriously. As a result, people get overwhelmed by excess pressure and are unable to focus on one thing because they are constantly thinking of the next 5 ASAP tasks that await them. So when planning work, use the prioritization option – mark tasks according to deadlines and urgency so your employees can make their personal work strategies.

Work schedule app solves many challenges with workforce management and time off requests
The best employee scheduling software successfully eliminates scheduling conflicts and challenges related to availability, over- or underutilization


  1. Reduce the number of unnecessary meetings

Company meetings are necessary and important. But not all of them. A common organizational mistake is to hold meetings every time something needs to be “talked over”. This is especially typical for people who coordinate work, such as project managers – their job is to check that everything is working as it should, to communicate and gather information, and decide on the next steps. In their case, the meeting is often the main tool of the job. For the people doing the work, each meeting is a flow break and distraction that requires time afterward to return to the state of focus before.

When preparing your daily or weekly work schedule, try to limit the number of meetings to those necessary. Check the online calendar planner regularly to make sure your employees don’t have to be on the call every hour and have time to create in peace. A great idea will be a task plan – each task should have a detailed description of the requirements and steps, so everyone can easily check the findings without wasting time on an unnecessary meeting.


  1. Plan breaks

People need breaks. Statistically, you should take a 15-minute break every 1.5 hours to refresh your brain and increase productivity. Unfortunately, there is often no room for a break in an intensive work schedule. As a result, people work more but really get less done as their productivity drops. Try the break planning model, encourage your employees to write short breaks in their calendars, step away from the computer for a while, go out on the terrace for some fresh air with a cup of coffee or do some simple physical exercises to oxygenate the brain. You will be amazed at the positive effects.


  1. Diversify your team’s work

Many large projects seem to drag on forever. It’s very demotivating when you’ve been working on the same thing for months and the end is still a long way off. This makes it easy to stagnate and lose motivation and productivity. Try to diversify the tasks your team receives. If someone has been working on the same thing for a week – involve them in something new, so they can gain perspective and come back with fresh ideas. Of course, this is also where the individual approach and conversation with your employees’ counts – some prefer to vary their work and jump between tasks, others prefer to focus on one project from start to finish. Flexibility is key.

Workforce scheduling software help with shift management and team communication all your employees
Schedule employee shifts and manage labor costs with employee scheduling app


  1. Divide work into smaller steps

This point is related to the previous one. If you are working on a large project that needs to be completed and you don’t have the opportunity to diversify your work – divide it into steps. The completion of a work step is a success. Success is motivation. If you are working on a six-month project – break it down into project milestones and celebrate with your team the achievement of each stage. 

Employee scheduling tool gather all the data, shift swaps, or upcoming shifts in the one place
Team schedule and people assigned to the particular projects and tasks


  1. Use the best employee management software with the best employee time tracking software feature

When implementing a strategy to increase productivity, you need to keep an eye on all processes going on in the team. Use a tool where you can have all the information in one place.

A great example is Teamdeck – it’s a system in which you can create a well-thought-out work schedule, schedule meetings in a calendar, distribute tasks, check the workload of employees, monitor working time with timesheets, assign roles, add task descriptions, and much more! Well-planned work, where everyone has space to focus and relax and knows exactly what needs to be done, is the secret to higher productivity.


Increase your team’s productivity and avoid scheduling conflicts with a work scheduling software

Every organization wants one thing: high productivity and good results. To achieve this goal, the most important factor to consider is your team’s working conditions, which are adapted to their duties and positions. A carefully planned work schedule will raise your performance to levels you haven’t even dreamed of before!

Looking for the best work scheduling software?

Try resource planning solutions for scheduling employees and managing their performance in multiple locations



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