16 Dec 2021

We have all experienced the feeling of looking at our work tasks and just feeling all our motivation drain out of us. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed when deadlines for projects get closer.

Work exhaustion has been a serious problem for many, and with the pandemic, even more, are brutally affected. Over 50% of workers have already experienced burnout in 2021.

Fighting this global exhaustion in the workplace is no walk in the park.

But we have to start somewhere, which is, moving to a more effective way of planning our workload.

This is where automatic planning comes into play!

The problem with today's way of planning

Difficult keeping up with all tasks:

One of the hardest and inefficient aspects of manual planning is the fact that you have to keep track of all the tasks, subtasks, feedback and more for every project that your team works on. This is not only hard work but also a waste of time.

Keeping track of tasks is especially hard for your teammates and it gets worse when constant changes are being done. They might feel like tasks are popping out of nowhere and lose time trying to figure out where to even start.

Sounds stressful right?

Workload management is inefficient

If keeping up with task completion is a challenge, then organising your work schedule is a killer. You might use time blocking to designate certain hours for each responsibility. However, Guessing how much effort you’ll need for each of your tasks is a slippery slope.

In most cases, you’ll either over or underestimate the amount of time needed to complete each task. When you work on a tight schedule, however, you have no space for wrong estimations. If this happens, you’ll most likely spend your night working on unfinished tasks.

Which will reduce the amount of time you have available to do the things you love or most importantly getting a good night sleep.

Difficulty in delegating Tasks to the right people

As a manager, delegating tasks is an important part of work productivity. You have to ensure that resources are evenly distributed between your team members. This is proven to be difficult when done from the top of your head or with little knowledge of your teams' capabilities.

In most cases, tasks are given to the first team member who comes forward and chooses to take on the responsibility. But, how sure are you that they are the right fit for the job? They are likely trying to prove their worth and value for the company.

This once again causes individuals to assume more responsibility than the time they have available. Maybe they don’t have expert knowledge on the topic and end up spending too much time researching how to complete the task.

Also, when delegating tasks you have to also know how to strategically prioritise tasks. This means evaluating the level of importance and urgency of a task. In most cases, this is once again done by guessing.

In all cases, this is time-consuming not only for the business but also for the individual. Taking precious time away from tasks that could be done instantly and with less effort.

What is Automatic Planning?

Automatic planning is the process of using intelligence to automatically plan your team, making their workload and schedules more efficient. What this means is that you completely remove the guessing when it comes to delegating and managing projects.

With the use of intelligence, all you need to do is define the skills required and the effort needed to perform a specific task. Then, the best plan of action will be calculated for you. This also takes into consideration your team members and their availability.

What are the benefits?

Removes time-wasters from your team schedules

With the current way of planning projects and workload, a lot of time is spent in discussions, meetings, brainstorming and so forth. You may feel like your flow of work is constantly being interrupted to touch base with the rest of the team or business in general.

Automatic planning takes all the mundane activities out of your and your teams schedule. As it can strategically plan the most efficient way of completion, less time will be wasted trying to guess what the best path to take is.

Maximises resources available to complete a project

Resource planning is hard work, there are several important factors that you need to take into consideration when deciding how to tackle a new project. You have to keep in mind your team members skillset, capacity and evaluate who would be the best fit for each task.

Automatic planning will do all this for you. It will estimate the best individuals for each project requirement as well as find the most suitable schedule to meet important deadlines. This all takes into account budget and team availability.

Helps tackle unexpected challenges successfully

Most managers have accepted the fact that no plan is foolproof. There will be moments where occurrences that weren’t expected stunts the productivity of a team. Even though challenges are expected, if not managed appropriately it can cause grave consequences to the successful completion of the project.

With automatic planning, you can anticipate future challenges using data-driven knowledge rather than using assumptions. Instead of having to readjust your priorities manually, you can have your action plan adapted and recalculated in just a few seconds. You’ll feel and be a lot more prepared to tackle the unexpected.

Automatic planning improves team collaboration

Automated planning removes any tensions that might have been building up within your team and improves team collaboration. There is no need for discussions of who does what and how long they should take doing it. This is all provided to you through intelligence.

Team members have a clear understanding of what their responsibilities are and how much time they have to complete them. Most importantly, this is not guessed but calculated by taking into account skills, effort and availability from each individual. One study states that over 90% of employees believe that a lack of alignment within a team negatively impacts the performance of a task or project.

This means there is less time for negativity and more time to experience positive moments as a team. They will know exactly who to turn to if tasks depend on others. Also, they will have a stronger sense of accountability as roles are well defined lowering the amount of conflict that could potentially happen.

As communication flows, tasks will be completed quickly and successfully, illuminating any exhaustive underlying issues within the team.

Goals are strategically calculated by skillset and effort

Employees should have specific goals that they are working towards. This can be a short term goal like taking lead on a specific project or a career based like reaching a certain position within the company.

Either way, these goals have to be not only well defined but also realistic. You have to take into account the specific skills that are needed to achieve this. There must be clarity in the objectives, what is necessary to be done and the expected timeline.

Task distribution should depend on what each team member has to offer. There will surely be someone within your team who is better suited to achieve the desired result. For example, we wouldn’t allocate the responsibility of content creation to a web developer. That would seem strange, right?

By leveraging the specific skill set that your teammates have, you’ll be playing to their strength’s. It has been reportedthat 71% of employees who believe their managers can name their strengths feel engaged and energized by their work. This will not only increase the rate of task completion but providing them with a higher chance of excelling. Which in turn, will increase their motivation and engagement.

Less time will be spent on meetings and more on work

Have you ever considered how much time is spent on meetings related to planning, task allocations, unexpected changes and so forth? A LOT. It was found that on average, business professionals spend 23 hours a week stuck in meetings. Where the majority of them have admitted that they were frequently asked to complete unimportant tasks or time-wasters.

With the new turn to remote work, due largely because of the pandemic the amount of time spent in meetings has surely increased. Meaning that your team has fewer working hours to complete tasks. Making them stressed and working long hours to keep up with the expected timeline.

With automated planning, the number of meetings needed will diminish drastically. As your team knows exactly what they have to do to achieve completion, they can move forward autonomously. As communication improves within the team, their workflow will be less frequently interrupted for unnecessary calls.

As a manager, you’ll also feel less the necessity to be on top of them. You can be ensured that tasks and projects are well distributed within the team and each team member has to appropriate skill set to complete tasks without much of a struggle.

It will help increase employee productivity and motivation

Delegating tasks with the use of automated planning not only brings the benefits that we have previously mentioned but also can indirectly increase employee productivity. You’ll be able to distribute tasks strategically keeping in mind who would be the best fit for what. This will create a well-defined structure of each individual's responsibilities and goals.

When you build a strong infrastructure within your organisation not only do you know who exactly accomplished what but more importantly you can praise them for it. Employee recognition has been considered one of the main influencers for employee happiness as it fosters a sense of pride within them. In a 2018 Randstad global report, 27% of employees point to a lack of recognition and rewards as an important factor for leaving an employer.

In turn, as they feel happier with their work they become more productive. By providing individual as well as team recognition for completions and other achievements they will feel motivated to keep going and achieve more!

Also, by knowing exactly who does what, you can provide insightful feedback about their work. With the right amount of guidance and a sense of trust, team members will challenge themselves to do better.

Will provide more time to do what they love

Lastly but not least, your team will have time to do the things they love. From spending time with family to working on their hobbies or even taking an extra day off to relax. As automated planning increases the efficiency of your time and work management strategies, employees should no longer feel the necessity to bring work home.

It was found that 80% of Americans don’t think they have enough free time from work. We also can’t forget about the responsibilities our team members have outside of their work lives. Making it even less likely for them to feel like they can have some “me time”.

It’s more than obvious that having time to do the activities that make you happy, reduces stress drastically which includes exhaustion from work. Keeping a balanced work-life schedule is crucial to keep a certain level of well-being and long term productivity.

In the Randstad 2018 report, a good work-life balance was the third most important reason when choosing an employer. Realistically work consume over 50% of our lives and it’s more if the workload is not strategically managed. By taking advantage of all the available resources, you can alleviate the workload on each team member. Allowing them to have the time to relax and re-energise for the next challenge.

Most importantly, they will feel motivated to complete each challenge that comes their way.