Ok, so you’re productive and you get your stuff done. But Dave in creative department is busting your balls because he doesn’t deliver on time. What can you do? You’re in a bit of a bind. And in the end you’re probably the one getting the sticky end of the stick. In other words, you are left to clean out the mess because you didn’t follow up.
This is one of the hardest feats of getting anything done: the follow up. Basically, you have to remind yourself to follow up on tasks that you have delegated to other people. It sounds simple but when you delegate dozens of tasks sometimes they slip through the cracks and you end up in an uncomfortable situation.
Let’s take this to a task management level. You have promised to send a draft of a small marketing campaign to a client by the end of the week. You have a lot to delegate, a lot of things to put together. One of those tasks is to delegate the ad copywriting to Dave. Easy enough.
You have finished that task, mark it done, and move on. Three days later you realize that the task hasn’t been completed and you’re in a bind because a client is waiting and you’re missing something Dave promised to do by Wednesday. However, amongst all the client calls and your other tasks you forgot to follow up on Dave. Just great.
There could be a whole world behind why that task was not completed by Dave. Never underestimate the power of bad delegation. But I assume you’re perfect at everything you do and will put this aside.
I’ve found that there are two possible solutions to this problem, I use both interchangibly and it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference to the end result.
1) To be able to track everything you do, the best way is to create two separate tasks. One of which is the task where you delegate the ad copywriting to Dave. The other one is to remind yourself to follow up on that task. In most task management systems you can set a scheduled task to do just that. In two days, remind yourself that you need to follow up on it.
2) The other way is to just change the task as you move forward. Instead of having delegate copywriting to Dave, you simply change it to follow up. This way you already have all the notes that you might have inserted into your task available but you only change the name and schedule it to show up in two days.
What’s your way of reminding yourself to follow up on delegated tasks?
Paul Rauno Merisalu February 5th, 2014