Whether you have a team of three people or 35, staying organized can be challenging. But with the right blend of tools and processes, anything is possible. By taking the initiative today, you can ensure your team is efficient and productive in the weeks and months ahead.

Let this article serve as a helpful guide for getting started.

The Major Challenges of Staying Organized in 2021

If you want to know the truth, technology has had both a positive and negative impact on organization, productivity, and efficiency. In one sense, new tools and advanced processes have made it easier than ever to assimilate and document data for clear visibility and easy retrieval. In another sense, it’s made it challenging by proliferating the problem of digital sprawl.

How to Keep a Small Team Organized

As you look for ways to keep your team organized this year and beyond, there are three key challenges you must confront and overcome:

  • Reducing clutter. Most teams are operating out of a place of “too much” rather than “not enough.” In other words, it’s the overwhelm of messages, notifications, data, and files that make it difficult to be productive – not a lack of access. Thus reducing clutter becomes one of the key challenges.
  • Organizing digital footprint. Every time you add a new tool, launch a new application, or build out another online profile or account, your digital footprint grows. Staying organized in the midst of scaling is the second big challenge.
  • Remote team alignment. When your team is operating in the same physical office, it’s easy to walk down the hall and ask a question or share direct feedback. When operating remotely, keeping everyone aligned and on the same page is more difficult.

If you’re able to address these three problem areas, getting organized is much easier. It simply becomes a matter of eliminating unnecessary elements and plugging the right ones into the correct places.

How to Keep a Small Team Organized

4 Proactive Steps You Can Take

Not sure where to begin with getting your team organized and aligned? Here are a few helpful suggestions:

1. Get Your Team Focused

One of the many things that made Apple founder Steve Jobs so impressive was his ability to block out the noise and zero in on the most important tasks and responsibilities.

As Jobs famously said: “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”

Help your team focus on what truly matters and teach them to say no to the things that don’t push these priorities further along.

2. Revamp Your Approach to Meetings

If you study highly productive teams and compare them to unproductive teams, you’ll immediately notice one very important detail. Productive teams spend almost all of their time doing actual work, while unproductive teams would prefer to be in meetings “planning” about doing actual work.

You can eliminate 50 to 75 percent of your weekly meetings without missing a beat. A meeting should only be called when there’s some sort of conflict or concern that needs to be addressed, or when there’s a process or plan that needs to be coordinated.

When you do have a meeting, follow a few simple rules:

  • Set a hard start and stop time (ideally 30 minutes or less)
  • Have a clear agenda
  • Take meticulous meeting notes and store them online for everyone to access afterward
  • Encourage any conversation unrelated to the meeting goals to be handled offline

3. Use a Centralized Project Management App

Your team needs a centralized home base where you can organize projects. The best and easiest way to do this is with a project management app like Asana, ClickUp, or one of the dozens of other platforms out there. By keeping all communication in one central place where everyone can collaborate, you ensure the entire team is in the loop.

How to Keep a Small Team Organized

4. Leverage Better Tools

Stop relying on email to collaborate. Email is an excellent external mode of communication, but it’s terrible for internal usage. It’s distracting, finicky, and hard to organize. Instead, rely on a combination of tools like Slack and Loom to communicate with efficiency and clarity.

It’s Time to Get Organized

If you’re serious about getting organized, there are plenty of ways to get your team back on track. It’s all about setting goals and then developing systems around these goals. All the while, you should leverage simple and streamlined tools that make it easier to store, access, and share information.

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