When you’re working with an online or remote team, how you manage tasks and projects can really make or break your success. Things like task scheduling, project management, delegation — all of these things are CRUCIAL and need to be done correctly.
But don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be overwhelming or complicated! There are a few key things you can put in place that will really help keep everything on track.
As a systems and operations specialist, one of the things I love talking about the most is how to successfully run a remote team. I’ve been running my own digital marketing agency since 2015 and now have a remote team of 20 women. I’ve also helped some of my 7-figure clients run their own teams. Over the years, I have learned a lot!
I didn’t start out as an expert, though… When I first started working online and built my team, I had absolutely ZERO management experience. Let’s be honest — I had no clue what I was doing. 😳
Basically, being in charge of group projects in school was my only experience with managing others. And, let’s be clear, that does not actually qualify as experience and gave me NO team management skills whatsoever. 😂
But, through trial and error, I discovered that (like a lot of things) leading a team is a skill. And over time I improved — to the point where now I love to teach others what I’ve learned!
So here are some of my best tips on how to handle task scheduling and management in your online business!
Start Using Project Management Software
A project management software is a tool that you can use to manage all of your tasks and projects (for yourself and for client work).
When I first started my business, I managed my day-to-day work by writing to-do lists on paper. But, as I started to have more clients (and eventually a team), that became completely inefficient. I started to miss and forget things, and it wasn’t professional.
As a service provider, it’s important that we provide a high-quality service to our clients. Using a tool like this allows us to be completely on top of things and organized. It allows you to feel more in control of everything you’re managing. It can help organize your schedule for the day (like a to-do list…but better!).
Especially as you start to grow your team, using a tool like this is crucial. Everything will be all in one place — files, tasks, details, etc. If you’re trying to manage team members only over email (or even if you’re using a tool like Slack), you will eventually get to a point where it becomes unwieldy and impossible to manage without project management software.
Seriously, You Need to Start Using One (like yesterday)
Even if you don’t have a single other person on your team yet besides yourself yet…you still need a project management system.
In fact, I highly recommend using these types of collaborative tools by yourself first before you bring your team into the mix. It’s super important that YOU, as the person in charge (whether you’re a solopreneur, CEO of a small team, or integrator/OBM of a larger team), get REALLY comfortable with the tools you’re using before you do anything else.
One huge mistake I see people making is that they move too fast. They bring a team into it before their systems and processes are set in place. When you do this, you not only have to manage the team, you have to build your SOPs at the same time (or worse, not at all)…and, as you can imagine, that leads to complete and utter chaos.
It can be so tempting to jump in and start quickly, especially if you’re an action-taker! But seriously — resist the urge.
It’s crucial that you have a decent amount of experience with the tools you’re using (and your systems) before trying to delegate to others. The goal is to have super solid processes FIRST — even if it means that you’re doing it all yourself for a short period of time — and then start integrating your team.
How to Start Using a Project Management Software
If you’re switching project management software (or starting to use one for the very first time), it may be a good idea to start with one smaller, defined project first. For example, a launch or a website redesign.
Your starter project should:
- Be defined in its scope
- Have set start and finish dates
- Include some deliverables and/or clear objectives
- Have a step-by-step workflow for you to follow
Hint: If you don’t have a step-by-step workflow to follow for any of your projects, you might want to work on that first! This is something I teach in The Systems Society.
When you do it this way, you’re basically just “playing house” with the new tool. You’re doing everything that you would normally do as part of this project, but in a new environment. Once you’ve gotten used to how it works, you can start adding in more projects and slowly transfer everything that you do in your business into this tool. Then, bring in your team.
Starting off with one project like this is a great way to start using (or test out!) a new project management software. Instead of just trying to throw everything in there all at once, this method will help you get your toes wet. You’ll be a lot less overwhelmed! 😅
If you have an online business manager, they will be able to help you with this! It’s important that you bring them in on this at the ground level, too. Because an OBM helps with systems and team management, they’ll need to feel very comfortable with this tool as well. They should be fully briefed and in control before they start managing other team members using it.
Which Project Management Software Should I Use?
If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you know that I love Asana and highly recommend it. As a systems expert, I’ve used (almost) every single project management tool out there. And I can definitively say that Asana is the best one.
Some people can get a little overwhelmed by it at first, because it’s kind of a “blank slate.” It’s very functional with a LOT of different ways you can utilize it. That’s the main reason I love it so much! It’s completely customizable to YOU. Although, on the flip side, this may make you feel like you don’t know where to start. So, like any tool, there is a bit of a learning curve.
But when used correctly, it’s an amazingly powerful (yet super simple) tool. Personally, my team and I have been using it for 5+ years now and it’s a life-saver. 🙌
If Asana isn’t your jam, or you want to experiment with other tools — that’s totally fine! I’m a firm believer in using whatever tools work for YOU. The best tool is the one that you’re going to use consistently (and enjoy). This may mean that you need to try out several before making your final decision on what’s going to work best for you and your team.
Task Management vs. Project Management
You may be wondering: if this is a blog post on TASKS…why are we talking about PROJECTS?
There’s a lot of jargon and terminology out there when it comes to business systems, so it’s totally normal to feel a little confused about what the heck people are talking about.
Tasks and projects go hand-in-hand, but here are the technical differences:
- Tasks are singular to-dos that are completed by one person.
- Projects are (usually) collaborative efforts involving multiple team members that include a bunch of tasks in a specific order.
Projects usually are bigger, take longer, and have set start and end dates, while a task can typically be completed in a much shorter time frame and just has one due date.
How to Get Started with Task Scheduling & Management
As the leader of your team (as the CEO, integrator, or OBM — whatever your role is right now and depending on how big your team is), you’ll be in charge of creating SOPs for all the tasks and projects that need to get completed, setting up these tasks and projects inside your project management software, and delegating them out to the correct team member.
For example, let’s say you have a project: monthly Instagram management.
Here’s what you would need to do:
- Decide on the goal(s) of the project
- Figure out all the individual tasks that will need to be completed in order to accomplish those goal(s)
- Build a workflow by putting all the tasks in the correct order
- Create SOPs for each task in the workflow (especially the ones you plan to delegate)
- Delegate out each task to the correct team member
- Manage the project to make sure everything is completed correctly and on time
The Ins and Outs of Task Scheduling
The tricky part of this whole process is often figuring out how to handle task scheduling and management for ALL of your projects. Because your business is going to have multiple projects happening at once, at any given time.
When you have a small team, this is not as big of an issue. Maybe you just have a small handful of projects at once, so it’s easier to manage.
(Hint: If that sounds like you, this is a great time to start solidifying your SOPs now in preparation for future growth!)
As your team grows (size of team and amount of clients/projects), you’ll want to make sure that your SOPs are rock-solid, projects start and complete without a hitch, and the things you are creating maintain a high level of quality.
If you have multiple clients with multiple projects happening for each client at the same time, plus multiple team members working on each client — this can easily get out of hand.
Here are some tips that have helped me!
Use Recurring Tasks as Reminders
For all of your repeatable workflows that need to get completed over and over again (even if it’s slightly different each time), there is usually some type of trigger for it. For example, the Discovery Call System is triggered by a prospective client booking a discovery call.
But what about the repeatable workflows and projects that don’t have a trigger? Like the monthly Instagram management system I talked about earlier! Or things like launches, paying your taxes, onboarding new team members, etc.
To make sure that you don’t forget to put those workflows into action, create recurring tasks in your project management system as a reminder. Put the link to the workflow template inside of that task for easy access!
If possible, assign these types of tasks to a team member instead of yourself! Typically, repeatable/recurring tasks are the easiest to delegate and the most helpful to get off your plate.
Monitor Tasks Daily to Ensure Things are On Track
This one is mostly for if you are managing a lot of tasks and team members. If that sounds like you, it’s important to stay on top of things and monitor the broad overview of all tasks daily.
This is another mistake that I see people making. They delegate tasks to their team and then wash their hands of it until it’s been completed. 👏
While this can work if you have a small team — the more team members, clients, and projects/tasks you have…the easier this can slip out of control. And the goal is that, even if you do have a lot of clients or team members, the quality of your services should never suffer. (If anything, it should improve!)
As the person in charge, you’re responsible for making sure that things get completed well and on time. There are always extenuating circumstances, issues with tech, or something else that can randomly derail a project or workflow.
Make sure someone is in charge (this doesn’t have to be you!) of monitoring all projects to make sure things are happening on schedule. If things get off track, they would then notify you that your help is needed (or just make you aware of the situation).
Create Task Scheduling SOPs for Your Team
Another important part of this is developing SOPs for using your project management system. There are thousands of teams that use Asana, but not every team is going to use it the exact same way. Every team and setup is slightly different.
So, especially if you have (or are planning to have) a team, you need to develop SOPs for how you use this tool as a team.
For example, in my Team Member Onboarding System, I share an overview video with all new team members of how we, as a team, use Asana. This gives them the broad strokes of how to use Asana (super helpful if they’ve never used it at all before!) plus details on any special ways we use it as a team — like our tagging system. (Learn more about this in The Systems Society!)
I also like to give lots of details about task scheduling. As a 6-figure digital marketing agency, we handle literally thousands of tasks at any one time, with hundreds of tasks being completed each day by different team members. As you can imagine…this easily could become overwhelming.
Having a system for how we handle task scheduling and management is essential. We share those details with all team members so they understand how to stay on track with their own tasks.
Task scheduling and project management are crucial components of any successful service-based business (or, really, any business!). But I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed by all of these details.
The important thing is that you recognize that these foundational elements are important so that you are able to scale your team and client load easily (without burning out).
If you haven’t started working on these things yet:
- Try putting aside just 30 minutes per day to create one new SOP (or a piece of one).
- Start consistently using a project management system and stick.with.it. Use it every day until it becomes ingrained in how you work.
- Check out The Systems Society for even more tips on how to make your business more easy + fun with systems! Including LOTS of tips on how to create SOPs and copy & paste Asana workflows you can one-click install into your own business.
Follow me on Instagram @mirandanahmias (check out my Stories!) for daily systems inspiration. 🤓