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The gist: When you’re a newbie biz owner and manager, leading a team can feel intimidating af. If you don’t know where you’re going, are you leading them nowhere? Guest blogger Laura Pennington has tips for getting started leading a remote team efficiently.


3 Unintimidating Productivity Tips for Managing Your Remote Team

Running an online biz can feel like your business is always bleeding over into your personal stuff, because it’s always on your mind and so accessible.

Keeping track of tons of juggling balls in the air and all the awesome goals you want to achieve can actually mess you up. Eventually, trying to plan too much can make your plans fail.

To learn more about how to actually get things done with your whole remote work team, make sure to plan strategically.

Keep these 3 things in mind:

Don’t Think Too Big

We all have 30 different things we want to do at any given time. Having that many ideas is great, and you should definitely have a system somewhere outlining all of your future plans.

But keep them off your to-do list!

You’ll do more harm than good trying to do them all now. You’ll feel totally overwhelmed every time you look at that list, and get none of it done.

It might seem like you have to work overtime to accomplish a whole bunch of things, like creating, recording, and launching an online all in course the same month.

But you’ll drive yourself insane doing things that way!

My big goal for October, for example, is to launch my podcast. I already have all the tech for it, but there are a few more steps I need to accomplish before hitting launch. I’ll tackle just a few per week.

I broke that down into multiple smaller steps I can attack, such as:

  • Reaching out to guests for the show
  • Having graphics made + determining who will host the sound files
  • Hiring a podcast manager
  • Selecting topics for the first few shows

It’s so much easier to do one or two things per week over the course of a few weeks, then record the first episode.

Working towards too many big goals at once will overwhelm me. Then I end up accomplishing nothing.

Here’s what you can do instead:

Set up a monthly call with your whole remote team where you can cover upcoming goals. Take questions at this time so you can reduce back-and-forth emails. Then everyone has a better idea of what is coming down the pipeline.

Stop pretending that you’re going to accomplish all 400 things on your to-do list.

Allow yourself some small wins and actually get one thing fully done this week. A bunch of half-completed crap is useless and just makes you feel like a failure.

im frustrated because im a failure

Focus on Medium-Sized Goals

Say you have a project coming up that requires you to write, for example, a 5-day automatic funnel sequence. Then you have to mail each email out. It’s doable to create a 5-day set of emails within one week, but not if you have other stuff to do.

I love to use Trello. My team has a list called “Goals for Week of [Month]/[Day].”

The goal is to move everything out of that list to “Completed” by Friday at 5:00. That way we’re all publicly accountable for these medium-sized goals.

Focus on crystal clear outcomes for your to-do list, too, like “Review copy for Facebook ad” or “Pitch for 3 guest posts.”

Once you have these medium-sized tasks, block out time on your calendar to do that task and nothing else. Trello makes it extremely easy to see things in your actual workflow, too.

Another trick that helps accomplish tasks like these is to force yourself to sit in your office until the work is done. Now some days, you might have a migraine or you might simply not feel like working.

Working brighter is about flexibility and self-care, so don’t force yourself then.

But if you have a goal every morning when you enter your office, and can’t leave your chair until you have accomplished it, you are much more likely to get it done.

Use checklists on Trello to break down bigger tasks into smaller chunks. This also makes it easy when you have various team members contributing to a final project.

Examples of bad goals:

  • “Write a novel.” – Instead, try “Write 500 words per day for novel.”
  • “Outsource all social media.” – Instead, try breaking down different tasks: “Post job on Upwork,” “Post call for proposals in FB groups,” “Identify top 3 candidates,” “Schedule calls with top 3,” “Hire and have call with best candidate and determine month going forward”

trello checklist

Make Workflows Easy for Your Team to Understand

In order to get the most out of the virtual team members you hire, they need to have access to login information, your guidelines, and any other instructional details.

I love posting these as one main list on Trello and then giving them a spreadsheet with password access, or using a tool like LastPass.

The last thing you need to be doing is answering emails from customers who can’t get access to something or who have questions about the process for formatting your blog posts for publication.

One excellent tip that I love to use is to record yourself doing the process you would like your team members to do, save this in a public drive, and then direct your team members to reference that.

This means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you hire someone new, and the team member can learn it at his or her speed and implement it without asking you multiple follow-up questions.

These three tips can help you stay on top of things and actually get your work done!

So, what big goal will you use these tips to accomplish?

This is a guest post by Laura Pennington, a freelance writer and project manager who now teaches others how to work from home in an enjoyable and flexible atmosphere.

She can be found at and

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