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Strategies for Balancing Deadlines and Team Management in Q4

By Jodie Hurst December 6, 2023

It’s common knowledge that the 4th quarter, known as “Q4,” is the make-or-break period for any organization. As we approach the last months of a fiscal year, leaders and project managers are aware of whether their yearly goals are complete, and if they aren’t, last-moment chaos is inevitable.

To avoid such mishaps, it’s a no-brainer that you must plan, and by planning, you need to do much more than just task allocation. Instead of worrying about meeting deadlines and checking on the team, it’s just wiser to create an order that naturally ensures everything falls into place.

So, how does one go about planning their Q4? It’s all about strategizing and correcting the course at its root, and we’re here to spill the beans so you can have a sigh of relief by the end of Q4.

Purpose Of Strategizing for Q4

  • Planning for the next three months by re-evaluating resources, progress, and effort required.
  • Defining expectations and goals using the SMART approach (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound)
  • Project management by outlining milestones, tasks, and deadlines to develop an action plan.
  • Monitor the progress of the above plan and adjust strategies to overcome challenges or deal with new opportunities.
  • Staying ahead by planning for the next fiscal year to maintain momentum and start strong.

How Do You Balance Tasks and Deadlines?

1. Maximize Efficiency for Higher Quality Work

Ensure the tasks assigned among team members align with their strengths and expertise. Not only will doing this improve the quality of work, but it will also give you the confidence that the completed tasks are done to the best of their potential.

2. Workload Distribution to Categorize Tasks

Consider breaking down the workload and categorizing tasks into three main categories: critical, important, and additional. Critical tasks are the ones that directly impact Q4 goals and completing them is non-negotiable. Important tasks involve necessary but secondary tasks that still contribute to the overall outcome of Q4. Lastly, additional tasks are ones that you can push for later or are low on your priority list.

3. Job Satisfaction by Diversifying Opportunities

Rotating responsibilities and tasks among team members based on what interests them or teaching a new process takes away the monotony of work, which means they are less likely to get bored with their job. Doing so also promotes personal growth among employees and improves their skills. Plus, if team members know about the different tasks, you also have a backup in case a particular task needs attention.

4. Set Realistic Deadlines

Each task can have its own set of deadlines; however, you must consider the time needed to complete each task and use these estimates to create a submission schedule. Don’t “hurry” a task up if it’s not required because this will only result in hasty work done poorly.

How To Manage Team Duties?

1. Set Clear Expectations Among Team Members

Now that the tasks and deadlines are ready, you can move on to share these with your team. Inform them about the desired outcome to ensure they understand their responsibilities and to avoid unexpected “surprises.”

2. Regular Check-Ins Through Team Meetings

Schedule daily (or as required) team or one-on-one meetings to ensure everyone is in tandem with the workload. Encourage the team to communicate with each other and give feedback about ongoing assignments to gain insight on what’s working and what’s not.

3. Offer Recognition and Feedback

Offer regular feedback on your team’s performance, whether about improvement, a job well done, or how to avoid another disaster. Positive reinforcement among team members instils a sense of accountability and encourages them to do their best. So, if you notice your team is performing well, tell them!

How To Enhance Productivity and Time Management?

1. Teach Task Prioritization

Communicate with your team about prioritizing tasks for the day by breaking them up based on importance or urgency. For example, among the ten weekly tasks, two to three may need quick action; teach the team about managing their time to get it done.

2. Offer Team Training Opportunities

Even if you don’t have a process set up to teach the team about prioritizing tasks, offer courses for the same. There are numerous online portals offering time management courses that teach you about planning, time allocation, maintaining records, delegating tasks, and avoiding distractions.

3. Utilize Progress Tracking Tools

With many project management tools at your disposal, you can use these systems to track tasks and their statuses, ensuring transparency by keeping you and the team aware of their progress or downfalls. These tools also allow you to leave feedback when needed, allowing the team to visualize their contributions and areas of improvement.

Conclusion

We’re amid Q4, and if your company has not put strategies into place or is struggling with the workload, this guide should be able to address most of your concerns. However, as next year commences, don’t forget to start all the prep in advance. You’ll be amazed at how it streamlines all your processes.

Jodie Hurst is a financial analyst, turned entrepreneur, who advises businesses on using technology to manage teams, upskill staff, and streamline business processes.

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Disclaimer: The ideas, views, and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of International Institute for Learning or any entities they represent.

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