Being Productive While Working in a Small Team – Guest Blog by Hayley Watts

31st December 2016

It can be tricky can’t it, working in a small team or organisation? It does have some advantages too, so lets think about both and how you can use them to your best advantage…

One of the challenges is that working in a small organisation or team often means you have not just your core job to do, but the other stuff as well. Sometimes this might be something that is kind of an extension to what you do, things that in a big organisation are separate roles or departments.

So while you might be responsible for marketing, the wider PR, advertising, internal comms and maintaining the website all become your job. Or perhaps these things get added to your job which is something much broader. Either way, in a small organisation there are less people to do the big stuff, and less people to do the small stuff too. Which means that you end up with more variety, which can be great. It can also make the job more stressful.

My tips here come from my 16 years of experience in the charity sector, and from training people in the sector to become Productivity Ninja’s.

Be ruthless…

about what you do and don’t get done. You can’t do it all, so focus on the stuff that will make the most impact. This could be in terms of working to your organisation’s strategic priorities (and if you don’t have these, I’d encourage you to set some), or to the specific goals of the funding that you receive,

Involve volunteers…

I can hear some of you groan and think this is more work, and it can be in the short term. But recruit volunteers, train them well and master your delegation skills. Consider involving volunteers who are highly skilled and involving them short term on an area of work. This could be general admin stuff as well as bigger projects. You may find volunteers happy to do several days a week if its for 2 months. Delegate well and you will see the results.

Be kind to yourself…

You work in a small organisation. It could be the day to day stuff like answering the phone, fixing the photo copier is part of your job, or you end up doing it anyway.

Be kind to yourself. While this doesn’t get stuff ticked off the to do list, it is part of your role. I’ve met people who feel resentful about doing this stuff, if that’s you make a list about what benefits this can have (eg you answer the phone to your clients, which gives you an insight into the wider work of the organisation).

Recruit volunteers (and perhaps even a volunteer to manage them) to do the day to day stuff, and the stuff that you are less good at. Yes it takes time, but think of it as an investment.

Focus on 3 things…

Pick 3-5 things to do each day that are your priorities. Work on them before you do anything else where you can. Certainly don’t get side tracked into other stuff without thinking to yourself, ‘is this more important? Will it make more impact?’ Many people work in charities because they believe in the cause and want to help people. You are best placed to do that if you focus on what will help the most people, or make the most difference.

Guest Blogger: Hayley Watts

My next public workshops ‘Stress Less Achieve More’ are on 20th January and 31st March. Or you can find more productivity tips on the Think Productive website

About Hayley – I was originally a delegate on Think Productive’s ‘Getting Your Inbox to Zero’ course in 2010. I was working as a charity CEO and spent a huge amount of time ‘doing email’. The session really made a big impact on me. It was before Graham wrote his book. I went away and read other books about productivity, a colleague told me about an app I could use and there was no looking back. I have had the experience of implanting the ‘Think Productive Ways’ in an environment that isn’t Think Productive. I have since trained and coached people in all sectors, from small charities, huge charities and multinational businesses.

Why I do it – I love it. It works. Think Productive workshops are about people implementing change there and then. These methods have made a huge difference to my personal and professional life and I enjoy sharing that experience with others. I’ve said good bye to stress and welcomed productivity!

My background – I enjoy helping people to be the best that they can be. With 14 years experience as a trainer I focus on working with people to adopt solutions, change their working practices and make a difference to their lives and those around them.

What my clients say – “Opened up my mind to other ways of working. Practical advise I can use when I leave here and share with my colleagues and friends. Very informative. Timely- I so needed this. Invaluable. “(CIMA London 2016).