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What is a task? Definition, examples, and how to get more done
While the word “task” might bring about feelings of despair related to chores or undesirable actions, this is usually related more so to the way you have to manage your time than the task itself.
In this article, we’ll do a deep dive into tasks, show you the best ways to break down larger projects into them, while covering efficient approaches to manage and distribute tasks.
What is a task in a project?
In project management, a task is a work item or activity with a specific purpose related to the larger goal. It’s a necessary step on the road towards project completion.
For example, it could be something as complex as a mobile app bug fix.
Or it could be something as simple as photocopying the latest brochure for distribution.
Single tasks are typically assigned to a single person or team, while the larger project could be a company-wide endeavor.
The task may or may not include a start and end date or a series of subtasks—this all depends on the complexity of the project at hand, which could be related to industry.
How do you break down a project into smaller tasks?
Even long term Scrum projects that last 11.6 weeks on average make use of task management to get their work done efficiently and effectively.
Part of task management includes creating manageable workloads, considering task dependencies, and of course, communicating across teams to avoid double work or roadblocks.
To avoid these issues, you need some way to break down the high-level project deliverables and goals into tangible tasks.
In the next section, we’ll show you two of the most popular methodologies, Waterfall, and Scrum.
Work Breakdown Structure
The work breakdown structure (WBS) is the official method of breaking down projects in the PMI Guidebook.
To figure out how to break the entire project into tasks, you first need to divide it into the actual deliverables required to hand over the final product or result to the client.
For example, if you’re planning to make a mountain bike, you can break that down into the frame, handlebars, pedals, wheels, chains, and so on.
( Image Source )
You also need to work out the dependencies of the project (aka which deliverables require another one for completion).
If we were to simplify the WBS, the section on manufacturing the bike frame might look something like this.
Of course, each item contains multiple tasks such as sourcing vendors, reviewing designs, picking materials, and more.
But if you assign these tasks to teams who have the necessary skills to complete all of them, that’s what the top-level plan might look like.
If you use an Agile framework, like Scrum, you won’t bother breaking down the entire project into detailed tasks at an early stage. Avoiding this large-scale exercise in prediction is one of the primary principles of Agile.
Instead, you’ll focus on planning out a deliverable increment of your product in Scrum sprints . These are 2–4 week periods of focused work dedicated to delivering a working product version of the final deliverable.
The basis for planning out these iterations is a backlog of features or user stories (functionality from the user’s perspective). You may also have a product roadmap to outline the long-term product direction as well.
The product backlog is continually pruned and optimized before, during, and after sprints. Even if you’re not planning software projects, you can often single out elements that you can deliver in increments.
Before each Sprint, you meet with your team and stakeholders (invested parties) to discuss which user stories are the most important. You select a few items and create a dedicated sprint backlog.
Each user story is then further divided into tasks, and team members take ownership of the specific tasks they can handle.
It’s not ideal for all organizations or projects, but it’s an antidote against micromanagement in complex projects.
What size should a project task be?
So how granular should you get? What should the scope and length of the task in your project be?
It depends on the size of your project and your PM framework, but here are some rules of thumb.
The 8/80 rule for WBS
In traditional project management, a rule of thumb is that no task should be shorter than 8 hours or longer than 80 hours in the WBS.
That’s why the PMI recommends keeping tasks between 20–80 hours in the WBS.
Your individual teams can then have more granular task boards to manage their own to-do lists and/or break 2-week tasks down into daily sub-tasks.
Task length in Scrum
While user stories generally have no specified length, they’re often broken down into manageable chunks, usually one workday or less.
The official Scrum Guide doesn’t use the word tasks, but instead uses the term work unit:
“ Work planned for the first days of the Sprint by the Development Team is decomposed by the end of this meeting, often to units of one day or less. ”
On a Scrum board , you can use story points (at monday.com, we equate 1 SP to a workday) to estimate the length of the task.
Tasks shouldn’t require more than one resource
When you break down deliverables into individual tasks, time isn’t the only consideration. The best approach is to make sure the person (or resource) who’s assigned the task can complete it from start to finish.
For example, a graphic designer could create a wireframe for an app, but wouldn’t be able to create a working prototype.
So you should split the larger deliverable of a working feature prototype into wireframe/design and development (at the very least).
For larger companies, a resource could be an entire team that includes designers, developers, and software testers. In which case, you don’t have to get as granular when planning and assigning tasks.
Accurately estimating task durations
The best way to predict the duration of tasks is to involve the actual resources who will handle the task in the planning process.
You don’t need to switch to Agile or Scrum to make this happen. You just need to involve the actual project implementers in the planning process, not just management.
Not only can they help with task durations, but they can also help with dependencies and expecting potential bottlenecks.
What is the best way to organize project tasks?
There are hundreds of different frameworks and methods for managing projects and breaking them down into tasks.
A few stand out because of their efficiency and ease of adoption and have become popular as a result.
Let’s take a closer look at these industry-leading options.
Waterfall refers to the traditional “predictive” project management approach. It’s called predictive because you plan every phase of the project from start to finish before even getting started.
The reason it’s called waterfall is that the projects are planned to follow a sequential order.
First, you start out by figuring out the requirements of the project. What deliverables do you need to deliver a finished product?
Then you move on to designing and creating (implementing) it. Finally, you verify that the product works as intended, and launch it. The last stage includes the long-term maintenance of the product.
While berating waterfall is a popular pastime among younger management professionals, it has its place.
For physical products with a lot of dependencies and high costs associated with actual production time, mapping out the entire project in detail can be the best approach.
Instead of a specific methodology, Agile outlines a core set of values and principles to apply to your projects. As a result, Agile is an umbrella term that covers many different methodologies and frameworks .
The most famous principle is to deliver working iterations of your project frequently. That’s in contrast to planning out an entire product from start to finish like with waterfall.
Lean, like Agile, is not a specific framework that details a project management approach. Instead, it refers to a management philosophy with a core set of principles.
The focus of Lean is eliminating waste in processes throughout each stage of production. The execution is what controls the outcome, after all.
Fixing bottlenecks between departments to speed up the final assembly is a good example.
Not to be confused with Agile, which is more about high-level concepts and principles, Scrum is an actual framework for project management .
It outlines clear rules, meetings (ceremonies), and deliverables (artifacts), not just values.
For example, Scrum teams should only include a maximum of 9 regular team members. Daily Scrum meetings should only last 15 minutes.
The entire process of designing and completing a sprint is laid out in detail. That’s what makes the Scrum framework so useful for teams that want to implement more Agile principles into practice.
How to use a project management platform for effective task management
Instead of slowing down your managers and teams with an inefficient process, take advantage of the latest task management software .
monday.com is a digital workspace with all the functionality a project manager could ever want, wrapped in a package that’s actually easy to learn and use.
Pick the framework or methodology you want to work with
If you want to reach a completely new target level of productivity, basic task management won’t cut it. You need to introduce a project management framework that goes beyond daily tasks.
Luckily, monday.com makes it easy to make the switch. We offer dedicated templates for everything from WBS to Scrum.
Develop the high-level project roadmap
For consistent results, you should develop a high-level project roadmap. It will help guide all decisions and priorities as the project progresses.
Get more granular with a WBS and other task boards
This is where you break the larger goals into smaller deliverables and start to establish the workload for each team or department that’s involved.
It should outline the overall process but may not specify every activity or task, depending on the scale of the project.
But it’s not the best for planning individual tasks within the involved teams or departments.
Which is why monday.com also offers more basic task boards that these teams can use to manage the day-to-day.
You can easily divide larger items into smaller subtasks and assign them as well.
Use integrations and automations to automate menial tasks
If you want to perfect your workflow , it’s not enough to create some new task boards. You also need to eliminate repetitive menial tasks.
For example, with our smart integrations, you can automatically update a card or create a new task when you receive an email or message.
It’s a useful feature for a wide variety of teams and use-cases. For example, your software team could get a new task with every bug report.
By automating menial tasks, you give your managers and team the time and space to focus on crucial high-level decisions.
Keep managers up to speed with dashboards and reports
Want to see at a glance if tasks are being completed on schedule, or which people (or teams) are available for last-minute work?
You can easily create and customize a dashboard that will give your managers instant access to all the information they need.
Master your tasks
Breaking down a project into tasks and assigning them effectively requires a bit of balance.
Finding the framework that works best for your industry and internal workflows and pairing them with the tips above can help you find the happy medium of management and autonomy that will allow your teams to thrive.
Whichever you choose, monday.com has the right templates and tools to help your projects succeed.
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I Tried 4 To-Do List Methods. Here’s What Worked.
- Kelsey Alpaio
…and what didn’t.
There are a lot of methods out there for staying organized. But which method prevails? Over four days, I tried four ways of organizing my to-do list. I tracked my overall productivity and stress levels to see which worked best.
- Monday: Get rid of your to-do list and instead schedule out your tasks in your digital calendar. This method is good for people who like structure, aren’t afraid of a crowded calendar, and love planning ahead.
- Tuesday: Keep a running list but do just “one thing” on it. This method is good for daydreamers, multitaskers, and people who are easily distracted.
- Wednesday: Use a digital task manager. This method is good for techies and people who have A LOT of tasks to organize, or are working on a variety of projects.
- Thursday: Make three lists, one for immediate tasks, one for future tasks, and one for tasks you’re never going to get done. This method is good for self-motivated people with competing priorities who love crossing the easy items off their list (a little too much), and don’t need much support to stay focused.
Where your work meets your life. See more from Ascend here .
You know that slimy, green ghost from Ghostbusters ? The one that floats around eating everything in sight?
That’s kind of what my to-do list reminds me of. Every day it just grows bigger and bigger as I desperately try to get it under control. (Anyone have an extra proton pack lying around?)
Things weren’t always this way. My brain changed during my first year of college. Suddenly, it felt impossible to remember things as well as I used to. There was so much to keep track of: homework, internships, extracurriculars, where I put my car keys. It was around this time that I started experimenting with different planners and to-do lists.
Sadly, I’ve never quite mastered the whole “ productivity ” thing, at least not in a cohesive way. There are a lot of methods out there for staying organized, and over the years, I’ve tried most of them: keeping my to-do list in notebooks, bullet journals, paper planners, phone apps, and hundreds of color-coded Post-its plastered to my desk.
Nothing has stuck… yet.
This year, I decided enough is enough. I scoured HBR’s archives for research on the best to-do list methods out there and pledged to give my four favorites a try.
For four days, I tried four different strategies. Every morning, I set out to complete 12 tasks that required a similar amount of effort, time, and focus, and eight of which were important for me to complete by 5 PM. The number of meetings I had between Monday and Thursday did vary slightly (I’ve noted where this may have been a factor). At the end of each day, I measured my overall productivity and stress-levels.
Monday: No list, just a calendar.
As someone who often feels haunted by their to-do list, the idea of tearing it to shreds sounded amazing — so when I came across an article advising me to do just that, I was thrilled. “Stop making to-do lists,” author Daniel Markovitz writes. “They’re simply setting you up for failure and frustration.”
His idea is straightforward. Rather than relying on Post-its or productivity apps, use your digital calendar to organize your time. For every task you have to get done, estimate how long it will take, and block that period off in advance. Markovitz argues that this method helps you better prioritize your work, gives you built-in deadlines, and keeps you from prioritizing super easy tasks.
I gave it a try. Last thing on Friday, I took one final look at my list and scheduled all of the tasks I wanted to get done on Monday. I left some spots open for lunch, reviewing emails, and any last-minute assignments that might pop up.
Filling out my calendar ahead of time gave me a real sense of control over my time. But as the weekend progressed, I started to panic. As an anxious person, the “ Sunday Scaries ” hit me on Saturday around 2 pm. I found myself constantly opening Outlook to see what I had coming up. Each task seemed to be staring at me through the screen, whispering “ soon .”
Once Monday morning came around, I managed to get it together. When that first *ding* chimed, notifying me it was for my task, I was ready to go. I didn’t have to use any brain power to figure out what assignment to tackle (a huge relief, especially on a Monday morning), and I finished it with 10 minutes to spare. The blocked time on my calendar also alleviated any pressure I would normally feel to respond to emails or multitask. That said, I did have to move some things around due to last-minute schedule changes.
My least favorite part of this method: Not getting to check off my completed task. Checking off tasks literally releases dopamine in our brains, a neurotransmitter that make us feel light and happy — and WOW did I miss that feeling.
Tasks assigned: 12 Tasks completed: 8
- Limits indecision
- Good for scheduling work-life balance
- Keeps you on-task
- Scary to look at
- Tasks may get rearranged with schedule changes
- No checking off completed tasks (or dopamine)
This method is good for… people who like structure, who aren’t afraid of a crowded calendar, or who love planning ahead.
Would I do it again? As much as I love the idea of straight up shredding my to-do list, if I were to try this method again, I would approach it a bit differently. I would keep a written to-do list and schedule items from it on my calendar each morning. That way, I get both the structure of time-boxing tasks and the satisfaction of crossing them off.
Tuesday: Keep a running list but do just “one thing” on it.
Our brains start to get overwhelmed as soon as we have more than seven things to choose from . For me, this is a reoccurring issue. Sometimes my to-do list is so long that I completely shut down. Instead of deciding on a task to tackle, I stare off into the distance and think non-work thoughts. (If aliens exist, why haven’t they contacted us yet?)
The tactic I tried Tuesday, which I call the “do one thing” method, would supposedly help me overcome this problem. It’s a strategy highlighted in Peter Bergman’s article, “ Your To-Do List Is, in Fact, Too Long .” The core concept is: Keep your to-do list, but use it only as a reference — not something to work off of. Every time you want to tackle a task, write it down on a Post-It and stick it where you can see it. Then, hide your full list and focus. Once you finish your chosen task, cross it off your list, and start again.
The idea here is that by selecting one task at a time, you’re more likely to follow through on it, as opposed to hopping half-heartedly from task to task (or just staring off into space).
Come Tuesday, I selected my first task: research ideas for our upcoming pitch meeting. I wrote it down, hid my to-do list, and stuck the Post-it to the wall in front of me where it would remain in sight. Every time my mind began to wander, I brought my eyes back to the note. It reminded me a bit of meditation: when your mind starts to drift, you come back to the sensation of your breath moving in and out, and re-focus on the present moment. Think of the Post-it as “my breath” in this scenario. Its physical presence helped me concentrate on the work at hand.
The best part? After finishing each assignment, I had the pleasure of tearing the Post-it off the wall AND crossing it off my list. Double dopamine!
Tasks assigned: 12 Tasks completed: 11
- Results in high focus
- High task-completion rate
- DOUBLE DOPAMINE
- Difficult to fit in tasks around meetings
This method is good for… daydreamers, multitaskers, or people who are easily distracted.
Would I do it again? Absolutely. Compared to the calendar tactic, I had a harder time navigating my time around meetings and avoiding interruptions. But this method proved more useful than the last, at least for someone like me, who has trouble staying focused. After just one day, I was more confident in my choices, more productive, and even though I attended more meetings than I had on Monday, I was able to get more done and start tasks that I had been procrastinating.
Wednesday: Use a digital task manager.
Please let me know if you relate to this scenario because it happens to me all the time: I’ll be casually scrolling through the app store on my phone when I see a shiny, new task manager application. I download it with high hopes, thinking it will help me get my life together. And it does! For a day… until I forget it exists and never open it again.
Still, on Wednesday, it only seemed right to give digital task managers a fair shot. After all, digital to-do lists, when used correctly, have quite the allure. The fancy ones allow you to schedule tasks, sync them with your email, and make multiple lists at once.
For this experiment, I decided to use an app called Todoist . When you Google “best digital task managers,” Todoist is one of the first ones to surface. But we all know search engines don’t know everything, so I did a little more digging to be sure I was making the right choice. According to The Muse and LifeHack.org , I was.
Todoist had everything I was looking for in a digital planner: project sorting (which allows you to organize tasks into different groups), task scheduling (so you can do some long-term planning), and recurring tasks (great for things you have to do every day). A lot of other apps, like Trello and Asana , have similar functions, but I was able to test them out for free using Todoist.
To optimize my experience, I used every unique tool Todoist has to offer — and it paid off.
First, I entered every task I could think of into the app. Then, I used the project-sorting feature to organize them into groups: social media, articles, video, etc. The color-coding feature allowed me to assign meaning to each task and prioritize my most immediate projects. I asked myself, “What am I actually going to complete today?” If I didn’t plan on getting it done, I used the scheduling function to give it later due date.
Finally, I set up my recurring tasks. It was a relief, knowing I would never have to schedule them again — the app would do it for me. (Though, you can do something similar on most digital calendars.)
Thinking strategically about what I’d be able to accomplish in a given time frame allowed me to sidestep some of my usual indecision and the anxiety that accompanies it. Rather than staring at a list of 30 tasks I could potentially complete in the next five hours, I narrowed it down to my top 12, which was much easier to comprehend. The app also allowed me to drag tasks up and down and reorder them by priority throughout the day.
- Great for organizing lots of tasks (including short and longer-term ones)
- Scheduling recurring tasks frees up brain space
- Saves trees
- Hard to track in-progress tasks
- Less dopamine
This method is good for… techies, people who love using their phones and have A LOT of tasks to organize, or who are working on a variety of projects.
Would I do it again? I loved the unique functionalities a digital app offers. But it was harder to keep track of everything I had accomplished — once you complete a task, it vanishes into the ether. (The paid version of Todoist resolves this.) Clicking a checkmark on a screen was also less satisfying than crossing a task off my paper list — a factor that is, apparently, very important to me. Lastly, a digital app can seem like a glamorous version of a digital calendar: easier to use and more visually pleasing. But in the end, it offers similar tools. All in all, I still prefer a paper list over a digital one.
Thursday: Make three lists.
On Thursday, I went a little bit wild. I made THREE to-do lists.
In her article, “ Taming the Epic To-Do List ,” executive coach Allison Rimm writes that one to-do list is not adequate for managing our very complicated lives. “Our lists are crammed with urgent priorities we must get done immediately, important tasks we’re afraid of forgetting because they have no specific due date, and basic tasks that we add to the list because it makes us feel good to check something off,” she explains.
Basically, we have more tasks on our to-do list than we can ever imagine completing. When this happens, we get caught up in a never-ending cycle of completing the easiest and most urgent ones, and fail to finish the ones that are most important. Instead of working off of one long list, Rimm suggests keeping three. List #1 is for important non-time-sensitive tasks (aka things you need to do eventually but not today). List #2 is for tasks you need to complete today. List #3 is for tasks that have been on your to-do list forever, but that you’re never going to get done.
Once you have all three lists, start with list #2. Schedule the tasks you need to get done today on your calendar (similar to what I did on Monday). Then, take list #1 and schedule those tasks for future dates. By scheduling your tasks by priority, you’re acknowledging that your time is a valuable, finite resource. You’re more likely to complete meaningful work and throw away work that doesn’t really need to be done.
Writing List #3 was by far the best part of this tactic. It’s satisfying to admit, “I’m never going to get that done.” Scheduling out longer-term tasks gave me a similar sense of satisfaction, and I became less anxious about forgetting them.
Scheduling List #2 was much more challenging. Whether it was the two extra meetings on my calendar or the bowl of comforting chili I ate for lunch, this tactic didn’t give me the support to power through the day like some of the other methods had. I need extra motivational support to get me through short-term tasks, and this approach seemed to lend itself better to the long-term.
- Keeps you organized
- Narrows down your list
- Relieves anxiety about future projects
- All the scheduling can get overwhelming
- Didn’t help motivate me in the moment
- Easy to lose physical lists (if you choose that method)
This method is good for… people who have competing priorities, who love crossing easy items off their list (a little too much), or who don’t need much support to stay focused.
Would I do it again? I personally wouldn’t use this method long-term. I like to write my lists down on paper, and keeping track of all three was difficult. There is, however, one aspect of this method that was genius: List #3. Go through your to-do list right now and make a list of all the tasks you will probably never complete. You won’t regret it.
What’s My Verdict?
The “do one thing” method made me feel more productive and in control than the others. But it was really best for completing my most immediate tasks. Moving forward, I’m going to combine it with Todoist, my digital task manager, which is better for scheduling important tasks that are due down the line.
I confess: My verdict is entirely based on my own preferences, strengths, and flaws. No one method is really better than the other — what works for you will depend on your own quirks, habits, and what you’re trying to accomplish. So experiment! And make sure to leave some blank space on your calendar to relax. ( Burnout is real. )
Remember: If you don’t finish everything on your to-do list today, there’s always tomorrow, or the next day, or the next.
What to-do list method do you like the best? Tweet at us @HBRAscend !
- KA Kelsey Alpaio is an Associate Editor at Harvard Business Review. kelseyalpaio
How to create a successful weekly work plan (tips, templates)
A weekly work plan is a clearly thought-out map of all that you need to accomplish at work during a week.
With hectic and demanding work lives, introducing such a simple practice into your process can significantly improve your efficiency and productivity.
In this article, we’ll explore eight handy tips for a successful weekly work plan and provide a great template that you can use. We’ll also identify some of the tools available to support your plan and the most important benefits of planning out your week.
This article contains:
(Click on the links below to jump to a specific section)
- 8 Handy Tips for an Effective Weekly Work Plan
- 3 Types of Tools to Support Your Weekly Work Plan
- 3 Vital Benefits of Using a Weekly Work Plan
- Weekly Work Plan Template
Let’s get started.
8 handy tips for an effective weekly work plan
A weekly work plan is easy to incorporate. The structure and order that you get from a plan can positively impact every aspect of your work life.
Here are eight practical tips you can use to create a stellar work plan to suit your needs.
1. Set aside time for planning your week
First, pick a day and set aside an adequate amount of time for your weekly planning.
Planning your next week on a Friday is a better option than actually waiting till Sunday evening or Monday morning. Since Mondays can be already overwhelming for many, you can lighten your load by making sure you’ve planned out all your weekly tasks and are ready to go.
Additionally, when you plan on Fridays, you’ll have a better idea of what needs to be done because you have the whole week’s tasks fresh on your mind.
Initially, you may need to spend about half an hour creating your weekly work plan. To make things simpler, you can use a free printable weekly schedule template .
As you get better at planning and strategizing, this should become easier and take much less time.
Make sure to do this on a weekly basis and give this activity the time and energy it deserves.
2. Set goals and objectives
Begin by identifying your long-term goal for a specific period of time. You can then break it down into objectives that you need to accomplish in the following week.
Next, it can be helpful to break down large projects into individual tasks. This allows you to plan out your week in detail rather than with vague statements.
When you have an action plan with specifics for each workday, you can get a much clearer idea of the time you’ll require for each action item and what you can realistically achieve. You can increase your productivity this way and actually end up getting more done each week.
3. Do a quick brain unload
Pending tasks can feel overwhelming, tempting one to procrastinate and focus on tasks of low complexity.
However, the problem with this is that you may not be able to focus on the task at hand, thinking that you still have tons of things to do. You may not even be able to prioritize the tasks appropriately and only add to your anxiety levels .
During your planning session, getting it all out on a page limits your stress.
It doesn’t have to be too structured or organized – this is just a preliminary brain dump that you can use to create your work plan.
4. Prioritize and schedule
Prioritizing all the items on your to-do list can save you a lot of stress during the week.
While you’re planning, you should identify everything with urgent due dates and have the most important task at the top of your list.
You can select three big tasks for every week. These are just the three most important tasks that you need to complete by the end of the week.
Once you’ve established the most important tasks and appointments, you can begin making your weekly work schedule.
However, it’s important to be realistic at this stage and not squeeze too much into every day. Give your weekly schedule some free time for breaks, thinking and reflecting, or just anything unexpected that may arise.
5. Be conscious of your energy levels
Account for the fact that your energy levels won’t always be at 100%.
Identify the tasks that you know will drain a lot of your energy, and make sure you don’t schedule any other demanding tasks on the same day. Instead, pick out some low-intensity tasks and plan to do those so that you can still be productive.
It also helps to understand your working patterns.
Are you more sluggish at the beginning of the week due to the Monday Blues ?
Or are you lethargic at the end of a long week ?
Be honest with yourself and plan so that you can always have an efficient and productive week.
6. Have a focus day
Try allocating one day of the week where you only work on a single project. With no other distractions or pressure to move on to the next task, it can free you up to focus better on the task at hand.
Committing all of your attention and energy to one project can be a great way to boost creative and innovative thinking when working on those tasks.
You don’t need focus days every week if you’ve got pending projects to work on. But whenever your weekly schedule allows for it, this is definitely a great strategy to use – both for your productivity and your job satisfaction.
7. Follow through with your plan
Planning is all well and good, but it’s another challenge entirely to stick to your work plan.
Here are a few things you can do to ensure you stick to your plan:
- Be realistic with how much you can do.
- Use a weekly calendar, planner, or schedule template (Google Calendar or Microsoft Project provides good options).
- Don’t make too many last-minute changes.
- Tell someone close to you about your plan to put a healthy amount of pressure to stick with it.
- Set reminders and alarms throughout the week.
Moreover, don’t be afraid to make small changes to your plan during the week. It’s quite natural for things not to work out perfectly.
8. Reflect on weekly performance
Lastly, at the end of the week, take a moment to reflect on how successful your weekly schedule was. It can be very gratifying to see that you’ve reached all the milestones you aimed towards for the week.
If you still had a weekly goal or two left unaccomplished, investigate why that happened. Identify the tasks that you underestimated and use your findings to craft an even better work plan for the upcoming week.
If necessary, allow yourself a brief daily planning session to adapt and adjust your planned tasks for the remainder of your week instead of dismissing your plan entirely.
Now that we know what makes an effective work plan, let’s discover some fantastic tools that you can use to support your plan.
3 types of tools to support your weekly work plan
You can use a lot of different planning tools to support and enhance your work plan.
Some of these can help you create better work plans, while others can assist with sticking to your plan during the week.
Let’s explore three of the major types of tools to figure out what solution would work best for your weekly work plan.
1. Productivity and time management tools
Productivity and time management are all about optimizing your work process so that you can achieve as much as possible in a reasonable amount of time.
Using a productivity management tool can help ensure that you are always on track to accomplish what you’ve planned to.
Pomofocus and Pomodor are good examples of simple and convenient online tools that can help you boost your productivity levels.
They have customizable timers that use the Pomodoro Technique – this is where you break down your work time into 25-minute chunks with a 5-minute break in between.
This is a fine accompaniment to your weekly action plan and can help you improve your time management skills so that you stay on top of your daily schedule.
If you’re looking for a more powerful and feature-rich option, Time Doctor may just be the right tool for you.
Time Doctor is an excellent employee time tracking and productivity tool used by major companies, like Verizon and Ericsson, as well as by SMBs, like Thrive Market, to boost productivity across the board.
Here are some of Time Doctor’s major features:
- Time tracking: You can easily track work hours with options for manual or automatic tracking.
- Idle time tracking: Tracks your idle time during work hours. If you’ve been inactive too long, Time Doctor nudges you with a pop-up alert, and time tracking is stopped automatically.
- Projects and tasks: Create projects and tasks and assign them to team members. You can also use this to create an accurate shift schedule for employees.
- Productivity ratings: You can rate the websites and apps as productive or unproductive based on their relevance to work.
- Productivity reports: You can access detailed reports to analyze your own or your team’s productivity in real time.
Time Doctor makes for the most comprehensive option to support your weekly work plan with its robust time tracking and project and productivity monitoring features.
2. Project management tools
A project management tool can make weekly planning, project planning, and monitoring the progress of your team members a hassle-free process. It can provide valuable insights for schedule planners.
Zoho Projects , ClickUp , and Trello are good work management tools that have all of these functions.
These tools can be a great help for a project manager to plan and schedule projects in the most efficient way. They can clearly display links between different tasks in a convenient task list and highlight any major deviations between planned and actual progress.
3. Scheduling tools
A scheduling tool can give you a comprehensive view of things like the total workload and the availability of your co-workers. This is valuable information to consider when making your own schedule.
Calendly and Doodle are great options for a scheduling app. They can manage employee schedules and easily set meetings while adhering to the availability in your weekly schedule. These are fine tools to help make sure that you can always follow through with your work plan.
But why take so much effort to organize your work ?
3 vital benefits of using a weekly work plan
An effective work plan can have a powerful effect on your work habits and bring about an overall improvement in your work life.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at how exactly you can benefit from using a weekly plan:
1. Improved work-life balance
Working chaotically with no plan in place actually ends up eating up a lot more of your time.
This happens because you may spend more time on a task than you can afford to and then have to make up for it by putting in more hours.
Maintaining balance is an essential thing for wellness at work. When you work smart by planning thoroughly, you’ll have enough time available for a healthy work-life balance.
2. Consistent workflow
With a plan in place, you’re far less likely to have unexpected interruptions to your work process.
You can spend less time and energy figuring out what to do next and maintain your work momentum. You waste no more time trying to refocus on a task after getting distracted.
Maintaining a steady pace with scheduled breaks at appropriate times can do wonders for your concentration and motivation levels.
3. Increased efficiency
Having a weekly plan in place can considerably improve your work efficiency.
It makes it clear what tasks need to be prioritized and how much time you can afford to spend on them so that you get through as efficiently as possible.
When you’ve planned ahead of time, you know what to expect and are less likely to be caught off guard by unforeseen circumstances that require you to multitask. Multitasking is counter-intuitive and can substantially decrease your overall work efficiency and productivity.
A great work plan helps you organize your time so that you can focus on one task at a time. You are sure to be significantly more efficient with your time when you’re prepared this way.
Next, let’s check out a simple weekly planner template that you can use to begin structuring your work week easily.
Weekly work plan template
Here’s a sample weekly work plan template for a five-day week that can help you get organized with no additional hassles.
You can download the template and customize it according to your needs.
- Google Sheets
Using a weekly planner for your work process is an excellent way to take control of how you work, rather than having the circumstances determine it.
We’ve highlighted eight essential tips to ensure that your weekly work plan is successful and explored some of its benefits. Be sure to incorporate them and use the tools mentioned as you construct your plan of action and follow through with it during the work week.
Once done, you’ll surely notice a significant improvement in your productivity!
Carlo Borja is the Head of Online Marketing for Time Doctor, a time tracking software for remote teams. He is a full-time telecommuter, a digital nomad and a coffee junkie.
Free printable employee attendance calendar (Excel, PDF, Word)
8 steps for successful remote onboarding for new hires (+ faqs), related posts, what a hybrid work policy should include (+ free template), how to create a work from home policy (a guide), a free employee attendance policy template for businesses, free daily timesheet template (excel, pdf, word), free monthly timesheet template (excel, word, pdf), 4 free software development timesheet templates.
Free Task List and Checklist Templates
By Kate Eby | July 19, 2016
In this article, we’ve gathered the most comprehensive list of downloadable task and checklist templates to keep your personal and professional endeavors on track.
Included on this page, you’ll find a variety of free templates in Word, Excel, and PDF formats, such as a weekly task list template , project task template , event to-do list template , and more.
Team Task List Template
Use this template to keep your team organized and cut wasted time in status meetings. Create a centralized view of all team member's responsibilities across multiple projects.
We’ve also included pre-built templates from Smartsheet, a work execution platform that empowers you to better manage checklists and deadlines with real-time collaboration and project visibility.
Download Excel Template Try Smartsheet Template
Gantt Chart Task List Template
Get a visual picture of your scheduled tasks with this Gantt chart template. Often used in project management, a Gantt chart shows the duration of each task as a horizontal bar that spans start and end dates. Thus, it’s easy to see the different phases of a project, identify dependencies, and prioritize tasks. A Gantt chart can be useful for managing any task list that spans a set period of time.
Task Tracker Template
This task tracking template documents the progress of each item on your list, so it’s easy to assess the status of individual tasks or an entire project. There is space to list start and end dates, as well as to mark completed tasks. This template keeps things simple by providing only essential tracking information, but there is also space for notes in case you need to include further details or instructions.
Project Task Template
This template is designed for project management, and it can be used in both a business or personal setting. The template provides sections for project tasks, priority, deadlines, assignees, and deliverables, and it allows you to track project costs and compare estimated to actual hours. This is a detailed template that can easily be edited to match the exact needs of your project.
Weekly Task List Template
This weekly task list schedule includes columns for assigning a category to each item, along with deadlines and completion status. The default weekly calendar runs Sunday to Saturday, but you can also choose the starting date for the week. If you need a combined calendar and task list, this template offers an easy solution.
Daily Task List Template
You can use this daily task list template to schedule tasks throughout the day while also planning ahead for an entire week. Choose the starting time for each day, as well as the starting date for your weekly calendar view. You can also adjust the time interval of each task, which allows you to break down each hour into incremental tasks, if needed.
To-Do List with Drop-Down Menus Template
This simple to-do list template includes drop-down menus for indicating priority and status on each item. When a task is marked as complete, the row changes color; this enables you to quickly spot which tasks are still in progress or have yet to be started. This task template could be used for a broad range of applications, from organizing homework assignments to planning an event or tracking work projects.
Prioritized Task List Template
This template is a step up from a basic to-do list, as it allows you to rank your tasks with the highest-priority items first. There is also a section for notes where you can elaborate on your tasks or add reminders. This template offers a simple way to stay organized while ensuring that you don’t overlook high-priority tasks.
Download Word Template Try Smartsheet Template
Yearly Calendar Template
Use this 12-month calendar for a high-level look at your schedule and upcoming tasks. The template displays a standard January-to-December calendar, so you can view your long-term projects and tasks at a glance.
Download Excel Template
Basic Task Checklist Template
This task checklist offers a basic outline with checkboxes for each item on your to-do list. It also has sections to note the due date and status of each task to assist with planning. After downloading this template, save a blank version so that you have a master copy ready to print and use any time you need to create a new task checklist.
Download Word Template
Task Analysis Template
Use this task analysis template to determine the resources and time required to successfully complete a given task. The template includes sections for delineating the steps involved in a task, the resources (human, mechanical, or monetary) required for each step, and the time spent on each item. This provides a detailed analysis of a task, which can be useful for training purposes or for any situation where you need to evaluate a process.
Action Item List Template
Help your team stay organized and on task with this action item list for Word. The template includes a tracking number for each action item, start and due dates, the assigned owner for each task, and a notes section for adding updates or resolving issues. By defining and scheduling tasks as actionable items, you can track individual and team progress — and in the process, create a useful communication tool for all team members.
Download Template in Word Try Smartsheet Template
Password Log Template
This template is designed to help you keep track of the passwords to all of your various accounts. List each account, and then fill in the columns for website URL, email address, username and password, security questions and answers, and any additional notes. Save the form to your computer or print a hard copy — remember, though, to store the information in a safe place and and not to share your passwords with anyone.
Download Password Log Template:
Excel | Word | PDF
Event To-Do List
This template can help you stay organized when planning an event, such as a dinner party, a baby or bridal shower, a wedding, or a birthday party. Simply list each task and the person responsible, and assign a priority level to the task so you and your team can prioritize the many moving pieces. Additionally, note the due date and date completed — any discrepancy between the two dates will help you more accurately plan the timeline for your next event.
Family To-Do List
This template, available in Word and PDF, is ideal for families who want a central resource to organize family tasks. The template provides separate tables for each family member to list their individual tasks, and then register due dates and notes, along with a column to mark completion. Of course, you can add or delete tables as needed.
Download Family To-Do List:
Household Chores Task List Template
This chore list template allows you to create a weekly schedule for all of your household tasks. Create a list of tasks and assign each item to an individual for any day of the week. With a simple format, this template is easy to use, so you can streamline the planning process and start organizing your home. Additionally, you always have the option of saving the template as a PDF and printing a copy to share with others.
Project Punch List Form
In the construction industry, a punch list is a document that you complete toward the end of a project. In it, the contractor or property owner lists any work that has been done incorrectly or does not meet the specifications outlined in the original contract. The construction team then uses this punch list as a reference to complete or repair the work items before the project is officially closed. This punch list form provides a separate table to list each work item that needs repair or attention. Save the PDF form, print it, and fill it out by hand for easy use.
Project Closeout Template
Use this checklist to ensure you have completed all necessary tasks in a project. This template is designed with construction projects in mind, but you can edit the categories to reflect the needs of any multidimensional project, whether it pertains to building, real estate, or business — or even as a termination checklist if you are ending an association, an agreement, or a hiring arrangement. Simply list each task, the quantity requested (if applicable), specific requirements, and any notes. This easy-to-use form serves as a final check so you don’t overlook any requirements as you prepare to officially close a project.
Risk Assessment Matrix
Before you embark on a project, you should perform a risk assessment. While you can’t control or prevent every possible risk, taking the time to assess the possible threats to your project will help you plan for and mitigate some hazards. This matrix allows you to perform a qualitative risk assessment, gauge the probability, and predict how each could affect your project budget, scope, and timeline. The template also provides space for you to list events that could trigger each risk, designate a respondee, and make notes for a response plan.
Download Risk Assessment Matrix:
Excel | Word | PDF | Smartsheet
This simple form allows you to list contact details for each customer or client. This list includes columns for the company; the name, title, email, and phone number of your contact; and any comments. You can or remove columns as necessary, and highlight or flag certain customers who you need to follow up with.
Inventory and Equipment Checklist
Use this template to keep track of inventory or equipment you either need or have newly acquired for a project. List each item number and name, followed by a description, date of purchase, cost, and other notes. Additionally, you can track initial value, loan details, and depreciation amounts for each piece of equipment in your inventory.
New Hire Checklist
This template is designed for human resources to ensure that a new employee (and other internal teams) complete all necessary onboarding tasks. The Excel spreadsheet includes columns for completing new hire paperwork and sending it to the appropriate parties, but you can edit the form to include any tasks that your organization requires of new hires. In addition, there is space to assign tasks to employees, to set due dates, and to list contact information.
Use this basic template to make a shopping list; you can fill it out on your computer or print and complete it by hand. In addition to providing an easy-to-read table, the template includes a checkbox column where you can mark off each item as you obtain it, as well as a column for individual items and total cost. This template is created with grocery shopping in mind, but you can edit it for retail, gifts, and other consumer needs.
Download Grocery List:
Weekly Staff Meeting Template
Use this template to prepare for a recurring meeting. Note your agenda, attendees, action items, and whether or not the associated tasks have been completed. The template is designed with weekly meetings in mind, but you can edit the dates for a monthly, quarterly, or annual gathering.
Business Trip Checklist Template
Preparing for a business trip may include managing staff adjustments at work, making schedule changes with family members or caregivers at home, and taking on extra work to prepare for the trip — plus, packing everything you’ll need on the road. Use this business trip checklist template to help make the process more manageable and reduce the likelihood of forgetting a vital task or travel item. Edit the template to reflect your agenda, and then mark each item off your checklist as it’s completed. For personal use, you can also edit this template with relevant details for solo, family, or group travel.
Download Excel Template Try Smartsheet Template
Student Planner Template
Students can plan for the week by using this free template to keep track of classes and assignments. The template includes columns for listing the due date and status of each assignment, which helps students stay organized, prioritize their workload, and meet deadlines with less stress.
Day Planner Template
This detailed day planner template provides multiple sections for planning various aspects of your day, from shopping needs to meals and appointments. There is also room for a general task list and a section to add items to be accomplished on another day. Customize the template by applying new labels to sections to match your daily routines.
Business Plan Checklist
Use this simple business plan template to organize project tasks. The template is divided into phases so you can list tasks chronologically; it also includes columns for start and end dates and duration. Plus, a simple checkbox allows you to clearly mark which steps have been completed so you know your exact progress.
Group Project Task List
This template is ideal for organizing the basics of a group project or any assignment that involves multiple people. Simply list each task, a description, an assignee, a due date, and any notes in the columns provided, and add more columns if needed. This template does not have project management capabilities, but will give you an overview of every individual task and who is responsible for it. For more full-scale project management templates, visit “ Top Project Management Excel Templates .”
Job Task Analysis Template
A job task analysis can be used to determine which actions are critical for a certain job. Identifying tasks in this manner can help determine the scope of a job, appraise employee performance, inform training methods, and improve work processes. On this template, you can list the tasks that are required to complete a job, then rate the importance of each task, along with how frequently the actions are performed. You can also document your source of information for each task.
Download Word Template
Brainstorm and Collaboration Worksheet
Use this form to record information from a brainstorm or collaboration session. The template includes space to list ideas, their pros and cons, and the originator. In addition, there is a column for each team member to rank each idea. While this template doesn’t assist with idea generation, it enables you to keep all brainstorm information in one place so you can more easily compare ideas when it’s time to make a decision.
Download Brainstorm and Collaboration Worksheet:
Internal Audit Checklist
Use this template to prepare for a financial audit. The simple template includes rows for every required document in a standard audit (general ledger, balance and financial statements, tax reports, etc.) and a checkbox to note if an item has been reviewed and is attached. Add or subtract rows to include every document that your audit requires. To learn more about how best to prepare for a financial audit, read this article .
This Excel template can be used as a contact list for a variety of personal use cases, including for classes, group memberships, event attendees, or emergency communications. The template includes columns for phone, email, and address, as well as to note the preferred mode of contact. The form is fully customizable, so add or subtract sections as needed.
Download Contact List:
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How to Work Effectively: 13 Simple Strategies to Work Smarter
Productivity at work is something that ebbs and flows. We all have off days where we feel we could have done more. But the important thing to remember is that productivity is a habit — it's something you can build over time and become better at every day by choosing the methods and tricks that work for you.
No matter your job or industry, we all want to learn how to be effective at work and achieve our professional goals. But true productivity is more than simply checking tasks off a to-do list—it’s about doing more of what matters. Luckily, all it takes is a few adjustments to your daily work habits to see an improvement, so start with these simple tips and watch your productivity soar.
13 ways to be more effective at work
Trim your task list .
We all know how paralyzing it can be to start a big project or tackl e a crazy to-do list. So don’t overwhelm yourself with a massive task list! Give yourself three to five important items you need to accomplish in one day, and focus on those. If you get them done early, you can always add a few more things to your list, but keeping it manageable will keep you productive — instead of just keeping you busy.
Swap your to-do list for a schedule
Sit down, look at your available time for the day, and be realistic about what you can get done. Then make a game plan: Schedule specific slots of time for each of your important tasks—and be sure to include breaks. By dedicating time and structuring your day, you can take advantage of the times of day you're naturally more focused and motivated , make tangible progress on important work, and ensure you take the necessary breaks to stay mentally fresh.
Stop while you’re still on a roll
One of the biggest reasons we procrastinate is that we simply don’t know where to start. But if you stop working on a task for the day knowing exactly what you need to do next, it’s much easier to get started again . End every task with a defined “next step” to quickly get back in the zone next time.
Highly effective people have systems in place to help them find the exact information they need right when they need it. A simple system like David Allen's Getting Things Done method (GTD) can ease the mental burden of storing reminders and ideas and free up brain space for more meaningful and effective work. Get a 20-second overview of the famous GTD method here .
Make bad habits more difficult to indulge
Constant distractions tank your productivity and IQ, and you can't work effectively if you're not performing at your best. So create some simple barriers to help you focus. If you’re constantly pulling out your phone while you work to text a friend or check social media, for instance, put your phone in a locked desk drawer and keep the key in an upstairs closet, or ask a trusted co-worker to hold on to it until lunch.
A big part of being effective at work is learning to say no. Figure out what really matters — which tasks actually move the needle on your primary goals? Which projects have the biggest impact on your bottom line? Cut the busy work that doesn’t actually amount to anything. Using a data-driven goal-setting technique like OKRs (objectives and key results) is a practical way to focus your daily efforts on clearly-defined, measurable goals that directly contribute to larger business objectives.
Tackle your most important tasks first
Your motivation and creativity are at a high point in the morning, So instead of starting your day by checking emails (which can quickly derail your plans, as what you intended to accomplish gets pushed off or lost among incoming requests), wait a few hours to check your inbox and work on a more significant project while your mental energy is still high.
Plan tomorrow tonight
While you shouldn't stay up agonizing over all the work waiting for you tomorrow, creating a short list of simple to-dos at night can help you hit the ground running in the morning, establishing a productive momentum that will carry you through the rest of the day. Try to include at least one moderately challenging task in your list — according to Dr. Mihaly Csiksgentmihalyi , there's a sweet spot where your brain more easily enters that "flow" state where your brain is humming and you're doing your best work. It happens when the degree of challenge and your abilities intersect at a high point. (If the task isn't challenging enough, you'll get bored, and if it's too high, you'll get anxious and stressed).
Use idle time to knock out admin tasks
Waiting in line at the grocery store, bus stop, bank, etc., doesn't have to be wasted time. Bring a book you’ve been meaning to read, clear a few emails, or catch up on status updates. Or simply let your mind wander and observe the world around you. You never know when your next great idea will hit you!
Schedule meetings with yourself
Create a distraction-free zone where you can go to focus when necessary. Block time off on your calendar where you won’t be disturbed, turn off your email and message notifications (or better yet, disconnect from the internet entirely), and focus on a single important task for an hour or two.
Change your self-talk
Instead of saying, “I have too much to do today!” and “I’m so stressed out right now!” say, “These are the two things I need to focus on today." A simple shift in perspective can do wonders for your motivation and energy levels.
Communicate and clarify
We all have to collaborate with others at some level to do our jobs, so learning how to work effectively with others is an essential part of improving your effectiveness at work. One of the best ways to avoid unnecessary rework and wasted time is to eliminate misunderstandings and miscommunications. Get it right the first time, and you’ll save yourself a ton of time and mental energy revising and redoing tasks.
Find ways to do more of the work you enjoy
When you're interested in, challenged by, and good at your work, you're more engaged — and more effective . Consider which aspects of your job you look forward to, which skills you get the most praise for, and which types of projects your colleagues ask you for help with.
While not everything you do at work can be a passion project, with a little creativity, even tedious tasks can be fun or challenging. The next time you have to generate a timesheet or expense report, time yourself and see if you can beat your personal high score. Do your best to learn something new every day , or push yourself to try something you haven't before.
More tips and resources to improve effectiveness at work
Whether you work in marketing, project management , software development, or any other field, our collection of tips and tools on productivity and motivation will help you learn how to be more effective at work.
Using a work management system like Wrike can help you take your productivity to the next level by looking after the small tasks so you can concentrate on the big ideas. Features like 400+ app integrations to collaborate across platforms, intuitive automation to free up time spent on admin, and customizable workflows and work views to suit your needs all lead to doing the best work of your life with software that works for you. Try it now with a free two-week trial .
Make wrike a part of your 7 habits for becoming highly effective.
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Team Building Tasks: Examples
You found our list of team building tasks .
Team building tasks are activities that enable employees to grow friendships, collaborate more effectively, or discover new skills. For example, show and tell, team productivity trackers, and Myers Briggs assessments. The purpose of these actions is to provide concrete tasks that accelerate team bonding.
These tasks can help speed up the team building process . These lists of tasks can make up a team building program .
This article includes:
- examples of team building tasks
- how to create a team building task
- benefits of team building tasks
Let’s get started.
Examples of team building tasks
From exercises that foster communication to those that help your team stay active, here are the best group tasks for team building.
1. Mister Roger Calls
For dispersed teams, Mister Roger Calls connects employees from different departments for 30-minute chats. To facilitate these virtual conversations, use Donut, a Slack app that randomly pairs up team members and helps schedule meetings. Mister Roger Calls is great for team building because it introduces colleagues who may not generally cross paths. Since these chats avoid work-related topics, coworkers can learn about each other in an informal environment.
For similar activities, check out virtual coffee breaks .
2. Secret Gifter
Comparable to Secret Santa, Secret Gifter is a fun team building activity that you can hold any time of the year. To play, team members submit names and receive a subject to purchase a gift for. Then, on the day you hold the event, your team exchanges gifts and employees guess the identity of the secret gifter. Secret Gifter is a terrific way to bolster team morale by giving colleagues an opportunity to show appreciation for each other.
Here is a guide to doing Secret Santa virtually .
3. Virtual Show and Tell
Inspired by show and tell sessions in kindergarten, Virtual Show and Tell is where your team brings an object and explains its significance. You can either ask your coworkers to prepare their object ahead of time or ask them to spontaneously grab something nearby. Virtual Show and Tell is excellent for team building because your team members will reveal more about their personal lives, which helps everyone get to know each other better.
5. Typing Speed Race
To help your team become better typists, try Typing Speed Race, where employees race against each other to type the most quickly and accurately. Using the 1-Minute challenge on TypingTest.com , take the test and report your scores in a designated Slack channel or shared spreadsheet. Employees can compete against each other as individuals or in relays by adding up team totals. Typing Speed Race develops your team’s typing skills and fosters a healthy sense of competition.
6. Meditation Mondays
Have you ever considered instituting Meditation Mondays to kick off your week? To participate, your team tries out a new meditation from apps like Calm or Headspace every Monday morning together. Meditation Mondays are a great practice that helps employees focus and calm anxieties. In addition to the mental health benefits, this collective activity helps bring your team closer and give productivity a boost at the beginning of each week.
Check out more employee wellness activities .
7. Myers-Briggs Session
One way for your team to get acquainted is through a Myer-Briggs Session. To hold this activity, send the Myers-Brigg personality test to your team. Once your team has completed the test, bring everyone together and discuss the results. Since these tests reveal what people are like in their career, family, and love life, Myers-Briggs Session is a fun way to learn what makes employees tick and how everyone can work better together.
Here is a list of free personality tests to use.
8. The Fake Podcast
Borrowing the podcast format, The Fake Podcast is a team building activity, where pairs of coworkers interview each other about their roles in the company. The audio is then edited together to resemble a basic podcast. Not only does The Fake Podcast provide an opportunity for your team to pick up basic podcasting skills, but also provides a low pressure environment to learn about your colleagues and other roles within the organization.
9. Pen Pal Club
While pen pals may seem old school, starting a Pen Pal Club is a fantastic way to build friendships among employees. While you can choose to modernize the Pen Pal Club by corresponding through email, sticking with good old-fashioned snail mail provides a certain charm, especially with an international team. In today’s digital world, actually receiving mail is a novel experience, which makes the bonds formed through these letters even more special.
10. Online Fundraiser
One way to invigorate your team, while also doing some good in the world is to hold an Online Fundraiser. To organize one, partner with a charity or cause that aligns with your company’s mission. That way, the fundraiser feels like an extension of your organization’s work, and can be a strategic move to further your company’s authority in the space. Be sure to set fundraising goals at the beginning, and reward the team if they achieve them.
For ideas on how to crowdsource funds, check out these virtual fundraising ideas .
11. Productivity Tracker
Productivity Tracker helps team members achieve their goals through the power of group accountability. At the beginning of each week, everyone lists a set of simple, yet challenging goals to accomplish by week’s end. Then, determine the winner of the team building activity by calculating which coworker cleared their goals the most number of consecutive weeks. Productivity Tracker motivates your employees, and nurtures a feeling of group loyalty.
Another way to manage productivity is with a Pomodoro app .
12. The Channel Closing Game
Once a month, challenge your team to The Channel Closing Game, where members hurry to close as many unused Slack channels as possible. When the game starts, ask employees to keep track of how many channels they exited. The person who closes the most channels wins. The Channel Closing Game encourages a sense of competition among team members, and helps keep everyone more productive and engaged at work.
Check out more games to play on Slack .
13. Pitch Me Your Business
To foster entrepreneurship among your team, consider holding a few rounds of Pitch Me Your Business. In this game, employees have 15 minutes to persuade an imaginary investor to back their business ventures. The most intriguing business plan wins. Pitch Me Your Business is an awesome team building activity because the team gets to see members’ creative sides, and everyone gets to exercise their entrepreneurial skills.
14. Fancy Dress Day
Fancy Dress Day is a designated day each month when your team shows up to work dressed to the nines on. The employee who receives the most votes for best outfit wins this brilliant team building game. Fancy Dress Day brings your team together because not only will your colleagues express themselves through their outfit choices, but they will also have fun dressing up for the special occasion.
15. Workout Challenge
Based on the “ See 10, Do 10 ” Instagram challenge, Workout Challenge is a superb team building activity that encourages physical fitness. To play, a team member records a video of them doing ten pushups. After sending the video to a designated Slack channel, the team member tags another coworker. This sequence continues until everyone has completed the challenge. If a colleague fails to upload their video, then that person buys the rest of the group coffees. This game keeps your team active by emboldening everyone to adopt healthy habits.
Here is a list with more team building workouts to try.
How to create a team building task
If you do not see a team building activity that suits your company, then you should not be afraid to create your own. To help make this proposal less intimidating, here are the steps you need to invent the next greatest team building task.
Step #1: Pinpoint the skill(s) to develop
While having fun is important to any team building event, the best activities are developed with specific skill building goals in mind. Not only does this provide focus to your activity, but it also ensures that employees do not see the exercise as a waste of time.
Step #2: Calculate your budget
Although team building is essential for any team to run smoothly, not every organization will devote vast resources to it. Thus, before you start dreaming up your team building event, confirm with your organization how much budget you have, which determines the scale and how much you can devote to covering costs for necessary materials.
Step #3: Draw up your activity
Once you know your goals and budget, you can begin to think about what kinds of games, challenges, or exercises might address your team’s needs. While it may seem difficult to plan an activity with these limitations, you will find that the limitations actually help narrow down your focus and become more creative.
Step #4: Figure out the required materials
While some team building tasks do not require any preparation from participants, you should take a look at the activity and note what materials your team needs. Then, depending on your budget and how much time you have, buy and send out the materials prior to the activity. Or, send out a supply list, have your coworkers purchase the materials themselves and reimburse them later.
Step #5: Test out the activity
Before you hold the team building event, consider testing out the activity with a small group. These test runs may help you spot unnoticed holes in your preparations, and lets you familiarize yourself with any technology you will use, which will reduce the probability of technical difficulties arising during the actual event.
Step #6: Refine the activity as needed
If your experiment goes well, then everything is great and you are ready to go! However, if you ran into any difficulties, then refine the activity to better address these issues. For instance, you may realize that your team may need more time or that employees are missing a key piece of equipment or knowledge necessary to complete the task. Now that you know about these problems, you can plan around them so the main team building event goes more smoothly.
Benefits of team building tasks
Now that you know how to plan your own team building tasks, you may be curious what benefits your team will experience by participating in these activities. Here are five benefits that your team will observe.
Learn more about the benefits of team building .
Benefit #1: Cultivate team bonds
When employees participate in collective team building activities, they create shared memories that help form strong team bonds. Not to mention, since these events often involve the whole company, they bring together employees from different departments for a rare opportunity to interact.
Here is a list of ways to do team bonding .
Benefit #2: Draw out hidden talents
Because team building activities do not comprise common work tasks, employees may inadvertently reveal hidden talents while participating. When this happens, managers should take note! These hidden talents may be a fantastic indicator of what tasks employees are naturally suited for. You will raise engagement levels at work if you can work these natural inclinations into employees’ everyday work tasks.
Benefit #3: Fix team weaknesses
Since team building tasks are designed to develop important skills at the workplace, when your organization participates, your coworkers will work on previously diagnosed weaknesses through these activities. With the added element of fun thrown in, these team building tasks are generally more effective at strengthening these skills without feeling like a chore.
Benefit #4: Raise team morale
When teams feel like they are being worked continuously day in and day out, it is easy for people to experience burnout. Thus, if the company schedules periodic team building tasks, the break in routine will raise team morale and spur productivity. Also, when your employees participate in these events together, your team will witness how well everyone works together, which will also help build a sense of group loyalty and pride.
Here are more ways to raise team morale .
Benefit #5: Encourage new skill formation
Team building tasks also expose your team members to new experiences. Employees may find new interests and feel encouraged to develop new skills. For example, if your company decides to start a fake podcast, then it is possible that a colleague who had never considered running a podcast may learn that they actually enjoy podcasting. In which case, your coworker has picked up a new interest that they can finetune and explore for work.
Team building is an important ongoing process that requires continuous practice. Not only do these activities bring your team closer together, but they also teach valuable skills that help your team run more efficiently and effectively and help heighten productivity and engagement.
Next, check out these lists of team building questions and team bonding questions .
FAQ: Team building tasks
Here are answers to common questions about team building tasks.
What are team building tasks?
Team building tasks are quick and simple activities that bring groups closer together and foster team dynamics. These actions improve teamwork and give coworkers short-term development goals to focus on.
What are some good team building tasks for work?
Some good team building tasks for work include personality tests, fundraisers, and fake podcasts.
What are the benefits of team building tasks?
The benefits of team building tasks include cultivating team bonds, drawing out hidden talents, improve upon weaknesses, raising team morale, and encouraging skill growth.
Content Expert at teambuilding.com. teambuilding.com is a leading authority on team building and engagement at work. We are a little obsessed with company culture.
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Want to stay motivated? Set better work goals (plus 10 examples)
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What are work goals?
Why are goals so important, how to set up goals, in need of inspiration here are 10 work goal examples.
Some tips for completing work goals
Putting it all together
Setting personal and professional goals for yourself keeps you motivated. They help you fulfill your responsibilities and daily to-dos.
Goals also help you keep moving forward when life is full of day-to-day tasks. Setting goals helps you not get stuck. Goals provide an important reminder of the big picture: with persistence and hard work, you can reach your full potential.
We’ve created a guide that walks you through setting career goals. See exactly why they’re important, and explore a list of common work goal examples to inspire you as you create your own list.
Work goals are related to your current job and organization or to your career and future. Professional goals are mental targets or milestones that keep you focused and on track to succeed in your career. Work goals cover a wide range, from hitting a performance target or having a specific role on a project team to learning a valuable skill or earning a promotion.
Goals can be short-term and long-term, depending on what you wish to accomplish. Short-term goals typically can be accomplished within a few months. Long-term goals take longer to achieve, requiring at least six months, or up to several years from now.
Typically, professional development goals are more strategic than personal development goals. Your ambitions will aid you in your career development, whether you’re aiming to receive a raise or a promotion, or starting a brand new job.
From a young age, we learn about the importance of setting goals for ourselves. The following is a list of reasons why doing this is vital for professional development.
1. They’re measurable
Setting goals can quantify or evaluate your growth. The SMART goal method , discussed in detail below, is one of many ways to track how you’re doing and where you might need to improve. Without measuring, you won’t know if you’re meeting goals or falling short. Measurable goals allow you to see when you need to reduce them into steps to make them more attainable.
2. They provide vision
What do you wish to learn? To achieve? Where do you want to be next month, next year? Goals are a wonderful way to help build your personal and professional mindsets, your physical skills, and more.
3. They provide clarity
Most people have a list of daily, weekly, monthly goals. But life is messy, and your goals can be easily forgotten or pushed aside. To stay focused on what you want to achieve, try using a whiteboard or online platform to outline your goals.
4. They help you stand out
If you set goals, you’ll achieve dreams. That’s bigger than completing the bare minimum responsibilities, and people will notice. Plus, when you hit your goals, you’ll be more confident.
First things first: there’s no right or wrong way to set and achieve your goals. It all depends on your preferences and what works best for you. Regardless, clearly outlining what you’re striving toward is a great start.
One method worth considering is the SMART goals method. SMART is an acronym, with each letter representing an aspect that helps set your professional goals.
You want to make your goals, individual or group, as specific as possible.
Determine how to assess your goals and keep track of your progress. Will you keep a journal? Check items off of a to-do list? Have team meetings to discuss your accomplishments?
Although pushing yourself to do better isn't bad, your goals should be achievable. Developing plans too far out of reach isn't healthy and can stir up negative feelings and attitudes. Setting goals should keep you inspired and working hard for yourself or your team, not discourage you.
Your ambitions should be purposeful and suitable to your career and professional environment. If what you want to achieve isn’t in line with what you can achieve, maybe you need a career change.
Establishing a time frame to achieve your goals will help you work harder and smarter, and see results quicker. This also gives you a marker on the calendar so you can access whether or not you’ve achieved a goal. This gives you an opportunity to recalibrate as needed.
Looking back at what you’ve already accomplished can serve as a good source of motivation as you consider your SMART goals. Ask yourself why you set goals in the past, and if achieving them led to positive changes in your life. Asking these questions will boost your well-being and give you the necessary push to start.
Carving out some time to reflect about what you desire in life currently and later on will give you the room to explore and decide what path and what types of goals are best for you.
Everyone requires a bit of inspiration now and then! Take a look at some career targets examples to help you find that spark and set your own work goals.
1. Communicate with impact
Improving your communication skills is a critical aspect of success, regardless of your goals. Don’t keep your aspirations and needs a secret. Talking about them helps others understand who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish. Your coworkers can’t support you if they don’t know what you need.
2. Grow your skills through continuing education
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with self-improvement . Refreshing or adding to your knowledge base increases both individual group competency. This can involve going back to school, taking a single class, or attending a seminar online or in person.
3. Improve your public speaking
A large majority of professions require employees to come to meetings and present their ideas. Try these tips to improve your public speaking skills . Mastering the art of telling a story, giving a sales pitch, or simply explaining yourself with confidence and an informed opinion will help you stand out.
4. Work on team collaboration
Whether you’re working from home or going into the office, you’ll always be interacting and talking with team members. Good cooperation between coworkers leads to healthy relationships built on respect — collaboration also improves your own productivity and the bottom-line for your company.
5. Build your network
These days, networking is essential to any career. It can help you find work and extend your professional services to other industries and customers. And it doesn’t have to be complicated — some simple strategies to have more connections and grow your network include:
- Attending conferences
- Going out to lunch with people in other departments or industries
- Scheduling regular check-ins with people you admire
6. Research your competition
Having insight into how your competition operates, including their strengths and weaknesses, can help you learn more about your field and effective decision-making skills.
7. Master time management
You can’t hope to achieve many goals if you aren’t keeping yourself on track. Productivity and efficiency are two skills many employers look for when hiring or promoting workers.
Strong time management skills will reduce your stress. Plus, increased efficiency with work-related tasks means more time for hobbies or self-care after your workday.
8. Sign up for leadership training
Leadership can be a learned skill. Through mentorship programs, apprenticeships, project management, on-the-job experience, and other leadership training , you can improve your ability to encourage others, keep projects organized, and cultivate a productive environment.
9. Practice creativity
Creativity lends itself well to just about any workplace. Having the knowledge to address unexpected and expected issues will help you make positive, meaningful strides towards your goals. Creative problem-solving is a tool that will never go out of style.
10. Work on your conflict resolution
Conflicts will always arise at work, whether it’s with another employee, your boss, or a customer. It's essential to know how to handle them without escalating the situation and hurting feelings.
Some tips for completing work goals
Here are some actionable steps to successfully complete your career goals.
Tip #1: Set aside time to reevaluate your goals
Life is dynamic, and so is the workforce. What is a priority one day might not be a priority tomorrow. Schedule time annually (or even monthly or once a quarter) to reassess your goals.
Tip #2: Ask for help
Everyone needs help. Reach out to others for their insights — you may find that your coworker or boss will suggest a solution or approach you hadn’t considered
Tip #3: Connect with experts, like a career coach
Career coaches and advisers can help you identify what you’re looking to gain out of your career and devise a strategy to accomplish that. They can provide you with various tactics to help you achieve your short and long-term goals. A BetterUp® coach, for instance, will help you develop awareness about the various roles you play and dimensions in your life through the Whole Person™ model .
Tip #4: Put yourself first
Don’t overlook self-care. While work and other responsibilities are important, that doesn’t mean it’s OK to put yourself on the back burner. If you’re not taking care of yourself properly you won’t reach your full potential.
Having work goals in place will help you identify what will make you happy and fulfilled at work — and then achieve it. By setting work goals, you’ll be able to dream bigger, and accomplish more, than checking tasks off a daily to-do list. To get the most out of the goal-setting process, try the SMART technique.
And don’t shy away from seeking help throughout the process. If you’re looking to achieve short- and long-term work goals, a relationship with a BetterUp coach can help you set or assess your goals, and will foster the perspective and accountability necessary to achieve them.
Erin Eatough, PhD
Director, Labs – Go-to-Market
Goal-setting theory: Why it’s important, and how to use it at work
Top 15 professional goals and ways to achieve them, positive psychology lessons from an olympic medalist and navy seal, being the boss: 10 tips to find work-life balance for managers, your guide to individual development plans (with examples), manifestation methods: what is manifesting, how to do it and does it work, 10 examples of principles that can guide your approach to work, member story: a copilot for the road ahead, how to write a 10 year plan (with examples) and reach your goals, similar articles, empower your work with stretch goals (plus examples), how to set realistic goals: 11 tips to reach the clouds with your feet on the ground, 10 tips to set goals and achieve them, dare to daydream: how to overcome lack of ambition, a goal for each part of your life: 13 types of goals that you need to set, carpe diem: set daily goals that make a difference with these 4 tips, feel better with help from personal health goals, how to set short-term professional goals, stay connected with betterup, get our newsletter, event invites, plus product insights and research..
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- Teamwork in the workplace: 11 benefits ...
Teamwork in the workplace: 11 benefits (with examples)
Teamwork is when a group of individuals works together toward a collective goal in an efficient manner. Read on to learn the 11 top benefits of teamwork in the workplace and examples for each.
Teamwork is one of the most important tools when it comes to organizational efficiency. Though we can all agree that teamwork is important, not everyone realizes just how impactful it is in the workplace.
Teamwork in the workplace is when a group of individuals works together toward a collective goal in an efficient manner. When multiple people work together toward a common goal, your business can flourish.
We’ve rounded up 11 of the top benefits of teamwork in the workplace. Plus, we’ve included examples throughout to help you better understand just how important teamwork is. Ready to work on teamwork? Let’s dive in.
1. Teamwork cultivates effective communication
Communication is at the forefront of effective teamwork. In order to work together—whether when ideating or working on a new project—you need to communicate to create cohesion and clear goals.
A successful team that demonstrates clear communication is more efficient and productive. Not to mention it creates an enjoyable work environment.
Communication example: Daniella and Kabir are working on a project task together. Kabir is confused when reviewing the project notes so he messages Daniella to ask for help. They hop on a quick call and work through the problem together. By working as a team, they effectively communicated and were able to complete the task the same day.
Tip: Take communication one step further by keeping tasks and collaboration in a shared digital space. That way everyone can stay on the same page no matter where they are.
2. Teamwork improves brainstorming
Brainstorming is a powerful method that helps teams think outside of the box. It involves individuals working together by communicating ideas for a number of initiatives. These could include projects, processes, products, and services.
Good teamwork means your team communicates and feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas. Without teamwork, your brainstorming sessions could suffer, and, in turn, so could your team’s quality and performance.
To build your team’s brainstorming capabilities, take time to build trust with each individual on your team. You can do this by connecting in a one on one setting regularly and encouraging team members to share their insights.
Brainstorming example: Kat needs to come up with three design ideas for a new landing page. Instead of ideating by herself, she asks the team to join in on a brainstorming session. Since there are many team members sharing ideas, Kat receives more than enough ideas to get started.
Tip: Check out 29 brainstorming techniques to help spark creativity within your team.
3. Teamwork encourages a common goal
Having a common goal in mind is essential when it comes to prioritizing projects and new initiatives. With multiple team members working on individual tasks, a project goal helps keep deliverables aligned and ensures objectives are met.
There are a number of ways you can communicate a goal in a way that both empowers teamwork and encourages collaboration. These include:
Business case : A business case is a document that details the value of a project or initiative. This ensures each team member has the same starting point before diving into a project.
Team meeting: Meetings are a great way to get your team in one place to communicate expectations and work together. Having an initial meeting—as well as a post mortem meeting once the project is over—can help determine deliverables and ensure objectives were met.
Timeline software : Timeline tools can help your team visualize the work you need to complete and how you’ll hit your project goals. Clarifying task due date and dependencies unlocks teamwork and allows team members to thrive.
Goal-oriented example: Kat is leading a meeting on a new process that’s being put into place. Kabir asks what the purpose of the process is. Kat explains that they’ll be adding a new tool to their scheduling process to automate some of the team’s work about work, like tedious and time consuming tasks. Now, the team understands the underlying goal.
Tip: Align tasks to goals using goal-setting software that helps you achieve progress and keeps team members on the right track every step of the way.
4. Teamwork improves problem solving skills
Problems can be difficult to solve on your own. That’s why working together as a team can offer quicker and often more effective solutions.
Not only does this help create an efficient process for problem solving, but using teamwork creates shared goals.
Problem solving example: Project manager Kat finds out there is an issue with image implementation that’s postponing the project launch date. Instead of trying to solve it alone, she enlists her team in a brainstorming session to come up with solutions. Because she asked her team for help, she is able to co-create a solution in just an hour as opposed to what could have taken days by herself.
Tip: Practice problem solving as a group by using team building activities to motivate your team members to feel confident in their solutions.
5. Teamwork helps build trust
Trust in the workplace is something that is built over time. It takes transparent communication, one-on-one sessions, and support to build that trust with team members.
A team that trusts each other feels comfortable communicating ideas, collaborating in the workplace , and growing individual strength. Not just that, but they also feel a sense of belonging within the group.
With teamwork, trust is built by relying on one another for the good of the team. Without teamwork, team members could feel isolated and competitive about work and performance.
Trust example: Ray has a task that’s overdue. His manager, Kabir, offers to sit down with him and offer support. Afterward, Ray feels relieved and has the confidence to complete the task. Next time he has an issue, he knows he can reach out to Kabir for support.
Tip: Connect with your team on more than just work. Figuring out what makes them unique is a great way to build trust over time.
6. Teamwork improves company culture
Most companies strive for good organizational culture , but it’s not as easy as having chats at the water cooler or a monthly pizza party. Company culture involves making your team members feel heard and empowered to do their best work while offering them work-life balance and an overall enjoyable work environment.
To build culture, encourage teamwork and camaraderie. Spending time with one another can help build this bond and, in turn, improve working relationships and culture around the (virtual) office.
Culture example: Kabir’s team has a huddle every Monday where they share what they did over the weekend and any upcoming projects for the week. Since they get to talk about both personal and work-related topics, the team enjoys their Monday meeting. In fact, communication and overall culture have improved since the team began meeting on Mondays.
Tip: Build shared values by giving team members the opportunity to share the values they think are important.
7. Teamwork creates efficiency
From communicating effectively to improving company culture, teamwork drives many benefits. Among the many, creating team efficiency is one of the most important benefits. When it comes to organizational growth, almost nothing is as effective as streamlined efficiency. This is because efficiency helps drive innovative results while keeping quality consistent.
An efficient team works together to quickly manage problems and daily tasks. As a result, efficient teams use resources more effectively and reach their deliverables faster.
Efficiency example: There’s a new project on the horizon for Ray and his team. Ray’s first instinct was to ask Kat, his senior specialist, to tackle it since she’s the best fit to handle the task. After analyzing the difficulty of the project, he decides to have his entire team tackle the project together. To his surprise, they complete the project in just half the initial timeline.
Tip: To encourage efficiency across projects, align your team on one work management tool. That way, everyone can clearly see the goals you’re working towards, the timeline for that work, and who's responsible for what.
8. Teamwork increases employee engagement
Teamwork should be enjoyable. It’s a way to not only complete your work in a more effective way but to also have fun while doing so. With teamwork, your team members will be happier and more engaged in the long run.
To increase employee engagement, encourage teamwork inside and outside of work. Schedule time for your team to connect about more than just work. Your team will feel more open when working in a group which leads to a higher retention rate.
Engagement example: Kat’s team has been working hard on a top priority project. Unfortunately, issues arose and now they have to stay late to finish the project before the weekend. Kat knows that she needs to do something to keep the team’s spirits and energy up. She decides to start the evening with a team building activity. This immediately engages the team and gets everyone excited to put their heads together and finish the project off strong.
Tip: Make your virtual meetings more engaging by starting them off with a quick ice breaker question to lighten up the mood.
9. Teamwork motivates high performing teams
Having accountability motivates you and your team to perform at their best. Teamwork creates this accountability and also motivates individuals to share their ideas with the greater group. This helps push teams to do and be their very best.
The higher performing each team member is, the higher performing your overall team will be. That means high quality work created in an efficient way. Not only is a high performing team good for your company but it also helps job satisfaction as doing well will motivate individuals to continue growing their skillset.
High performing example: It’s team review time and Kat gets a shoutout at the all hands for being a superb team member after implementing a new process to increase productivity. Kabir, a new team member, feels empowered to work hard and receive a superb review next quarter.
Tip: High performing teams are usually made up of individuals who seek motivation from within, otherwise known as intrinsic motivation .
10. Teamwork develops individual strengths
Teamwork isn’t just about team success—it also supports individual development as well. Team members who grow their individual knowledge can then share that with others during future projects.
The result: Individual team members growing their own strengths as well as the strengths of the team. These could include your ability to problem solve, effectively communicate , and combat procrastination—all of which are important skill sets to develop in the workplace.
Individual strengths teamwork example: Kabir is new to the team and working on his first task. He’s a little stuck so he reaches out to a team member for help. Kat shares her tips on how she works on a similar task. She even shares a tool that Kabir didn’t know about. This helps him complete the task more efficiently.
Tip: If a team member can complete a task just as well as you could, delegate it without intervening. This allows your team members to grow their individual strengths and skills.
11. Teamwork improves decision making skills
While problem solving and decision making sound similar, decision making skills are all encompassing. To be good at decision making, you need the confidence to make quick decisions based on the knowledge you’ve gathered in your role.
Teamwork helps improve these skills by encouraging team members to answer questions and make decisions in real time. It’s important to give your team the autonomy to make these decisions on their own in order to help build these skills amongst themselves.
Decision making teamwork example: Kabir is leading his first team meeting for a new project. As he’s explaining the upcoming timeline and deliverables, an executive asks who will be working on the project. Kabir is quick to answer confidently as he’s already brainstormed with his team on who will tackle what.
Tip: Encourage your team to participate in important meetings, for example by sharing their solutions. This gets them used to explaining their thought process in front of other team members.
Drive teamwork through communication
Teamwork is a valuable tool to use in the workplace that comes with a multitude of benefits. From building trust to encouraging problem solving skills, teamwork brings your team together and creates clear communication.
If you want to encourage teamwork in the workplace, try team communication software. Make working on common goals easier and keep communication streamlined.
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work assigned or imposed as a task .
unpleasant or disagreeable work .
work paid for by the job; piecework.
Origin of taskwork
Words nearby taskwork.
- Tasmanian devil
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use taskwork in a sentence
Would that I could agree; but I see her in the cities and everywhere, set down to menial taskwork .
After being engaged in his taskwork at the India House, he returned in the evening to amuse his father by playing cribbage.
Many of the later compositions even lack religious feeling, and seem to have been written as taskwork .
It's clear I can't do two things at a time—make love and carry on my taskwork .
God is not a master exacting taskwork , but a Father, jealous if we refuse our hearts.
British Dictionary definitions for taskwork
/ ( ˈtɑːskˌwɜːk ) /
hard or unpleasant work
a rare word for piecework
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
- Code Llama is a state-of-the-art LLM capable of generating code, and natural language about code, from both code and natural language prompts.
- Code Llama is free for research and commercial use.
- Code Llama, the foundational code model;
- Codel Llama - Python specialized for Python;
- and Code Llama - Instruct, which is fine-tuned for understanding natural language instructions.
- In our own benchmark testing, Code Llama outperformed state-of-the-art publicly available LLMs on code tasks
- Code Llama research paper
- Code Llama GitHub
- Download the Code Llama model
Today, we are releasing Code Llama, a large language model (LLM) that can use text prompts to generate code. Code Llama is state-of-the-art for publicly available LLMs on code tasks, and has the potential to make workflows faster and more efficient for current developers and lower the barrier to entry for people who are learning to code. Code Llama has the potential to be used as a productivity and educational tool to help programmers write more robust, well-documented software.
The generative AI space is evolving rapidly, and we believe an open approach to today’s AI is the best one for developing new AI tools that are innovative, safe, and responsible. We are releasing Code Llama under the same community license as Llama 2 .
How Code Llama works
We are releasing three sizes of Code Llama with 7B, 13B, and 34B parameters respectively. Each of these models is trained with 500B tokens of code and code-related data. The 7B and 13B base and instruct models have also been trained with fill-in-the-middle (FIM) capability, allowing them to insert code into existing code, meaning they can support tasks like code completion right out of the box.
The three models address different serving and latency requirements. The 7B model, for example, can be served on a single GPU. The 34B model returns the best results and allows for better coding assistance, but the smaller 7B and 13B models are faster and more suitable for tasks that require low latency, like real-time code completion.
The Code Llama models provide stable generations with up to 100,000 tokens of context. All models are trained on sequences of 16,000 tokens and show improvements on inputs with up to 100,000 tokens.
Aside from being a prerequisite for generating longer programs, having longer input sequences unlocks exciting new use cases for a code LLM. For example, users can provide the model with more context from their codebase to make the generations more relevant. It also helps in debugging scenarios in larger codebases, where staying on top of all code related to a concrete issue can be challenging for developers. When developers are faced with debugging a large chunk of code they can pass the entire length of the code into the model.
Additionally, we have further fine-tuned two additional variations of Code Llama: Code Llama - Python and Code Llama - Instruct.
Code Llama - Python is a language-specialized variation of Code Llama, further fine-tuned on 100B tokens of Python code. Because Python is the most benchmarked language for code generation – and because Python and PyTorch play an important role in the AI community – we believe a specialized model provides additional utility.
Code Llama - Instruct is an instruction fine-tuned and aligned variation of Code Llama. Instruction tuning continues the training process, but with a different objective. The model is fed a “natural language instruction” input and the expected output. This makes it better at understanding what humans expect out of their prompts. We recommend using Code Llama - Instruct variants whenever using Code Llama for code generation since Code Llama - Instruct has been fine-tuned to generate helpful and safe answers in natural language.
We do not recommend using Code Llama or Code Llama - Python to perform general natural language tasks since neither of these models are designed to follow natural language instructions. Code Llama is specialized for code-specific tasks and isn’t appropriate as a foundation model for other tasks.
When using the Code Llama models, users must abide by our license and acceptable use policy.
Evaluating Code Llama’s performance
To test Code Llama’s performance against existing solutions, we used two popular coding benchmarks: HumanEval and Mostly Basic Python Programming ( MBPP ). HumanEval tests the model’s ability to complete code based on docstrings and MBPP tests the model’s ability to write code based on a description.
Our benchmark testing showed that Code Llama performed better than open-source, code-specific LLMs and outperformed Llama 2. Code Llama 34B, for example, scored 53.7% on HumanEval and 56.2% on MBPP, the highest compared with other state-of-the-art open solutions, and on par with ChatGPT.
As with all cutting edge technology, Code Llama comes with risks. Building AI models responsibly is crucial, and we undertook numerous safety measures before releasing Code Llama. As part of our red teaming efforts, we ran a quantitative evaluation of Code Llama’s risk of generating malicious code. We created prompts that attempted to solicit malicious code with clear intent and scored Code Llama’s responses to those prompts against ChatGPT’s (GPT3.5 Turbo). Our results found that Code Llama answered with safer responses.
Details about our red teaming efforts from domain experts in responsible AI, offensive security engineering, malware development, and software engineering are available in our research paper .
Releasing Code Llama
Programmers are already using LLMs to assist in a variety of tasks, ranging from writing new software to debugging existing code. The goal is to make developer workflows more efficient, so they can focus on the most human centric aspects of their job, rather than repetitive tasks.
At Meta, we believe that AI models, but LLMs for coding in particular, benefit most from an open approach, both in terms of innovation and safety. Publicly available, code-specific models can facilitate the development of new technologies that improve peoples' lives. By releasing code models like Code Llama, the entire community can evaluate their capabilities, identify issues, and fix vulnerabilities.
Code Llama’s training recipes are available on our Github repository .
Model weights are also available.
Our research paper discloses details of Code Llama’s development as well as how we conducted our benchmarking tests. It also provides more information into the model’s limitations, known challenges we encountered, mitigations we’ve taken, and future challenges we intend to investigate.
We’ve also updated our Responsible Use Guide and it includes guidance on developing downstream models responsibly, including:
- Defining content policies and mitigations.
- Preparing data.
- Fine-tuning the model.
- Evaluating and improving performance.
- Addressing input- and output-level risks.
- Building transparency and reporting mechanisms in user interactions.
Developers should evaluate their models using code-specific evaluation benchmarks and perform safety studies on code-specific use cases such as generating malware, computer viruses, or malicious code. We also recommend leveraging safety datasets for automatic and human evaluations, and red teaming on adversarial prompts .
The future of generative AI for coding
Code Llama is designed to support software engineers in all sectors – including research, industry, open source projects, NGOs, and businesses. But there are still many more use cases to support than what our base and instruct models can serve.
We hope that Code Llama will inspire others to leverage Llama 2 to create new innovative tools for research and commercial products.
Try Code Llama today
Read the research paper
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