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5 Effective Tips for Managing Overlapping Tasks


You have spent so much time working on a particular task. As you go through your work, you breathe a sigh of relief. The time and effort were worth it. You couldn’t be more satisfied with the outcome.

But your feel-good moment is short-lived as you discover that someone else on your team has just finished working on the same task. It gets even worse as you realize that your teammate did a good job as well. You have two great works in front of you, but you can only use one. The time, effort, and resources spent on one of them are a complete waste.

What Are Overlapping Tasks?

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Overlapping tasks are tasks that are executed either at the same time or sequentially. They usually occur if more than one person works on a single project, producing multiple versions when only one version is needed.

Overlapping isn’t exclusive to tasks; it also occurs in your schedules. You may fix two different appointments at the same time. And unfortunately, you can’t divide yourself into two to be at different places simultaneously. So, you have to forgo one of the appointments.

Why Do Tasks Overlap?

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Tasks don’t overlap by default. There are loopholes in your operations that allow the duplication to go unnoticed. And until they are resolved, tasks will continue to overlap, causing a waste of resources.


Let’s take a look at some reasons why tasks overlap.

1. Ineffective Workflow

How do you assign tasks to team members? If you don’t have a proper structure for delegating tasks, there’s a chance that you’ll assign the same task to multiple persons.

The circle continues if teammates choose the tasks they want to work on without crosschecking if someone else is already working on the same project.

2. A Lack of Team Cooperation

As a team leader, it’s your responsibility to build team spirit in your team, so members can cooperate toward achieving a common goal.

A lack of cooperation creates gray areas. Multiple people can be working on a single task independently without being aware of it. Even when they are collaborating on sequential tasks, they go about doing whatever they want without checking with other teammates.

3. Work Overload

Efficiency and work overload don’t mix well. If you want employees to give you their best, resist assigning too much work to them.

When fatigue sets in from work overload, the workflow tends to change. Rather than follow due process to ensure they aren’t duplicating a task, they proceed with the next available one.

The 5 Best Tips to Manage Overlapping Tasks

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Having a productive team is about effective management. You can have hundreds of employees and still be unproductive if you don’t coordinate them properly. Overlapping tasks can hinder your productivity if left unchecked.

Let’s look at how to go about it.

1. Be Open About Tasks

One of the core values of the strongest teams in the workplace is transparency. If you trust your team members enough to work with them, you should be open about the jobs they are meant to do.

Every employee should be privy to work information. Laying all the cards on the table informs them about the tasks they are working on and who they are working with. When there’s a knowledge imbalance about work, teammates may work on the same tasks without being aware of it.

People are empowered to get tasks done faster when they have prior knowledge of them. There’ll be little or no room for task overlap when there’s a balance in knowledge.

2. Measure Progress

What better way to know how employees are performing on tasks than to measure their progress? If you delegate tasks and walk away, don’t be surprised if they aren’t executed on time or done effectively.

By checking how the work is coming along, you can see when tasks are being duplicated. Detecting redundancy early enough helps you to stop it before time and resources are wasted on it.

Tracking employees’ performance manually is demanding. You have to abandon your own responsibilities and monitor every step they take closely. But thanks to workflow tools, you can automate the process. You get to see how your team members are engaging with their tasks at every point. Tools like Asana help you to boost your productivity and prevent tasks from overlapping.

3. Cultivate Effective Communication

Effective communication ensures that messages are passed across clearly with no noise interference to alter meanings.

Task overlap often occurs due to a lack of information or miscommunication. When employees don’t clearly understand the instructions given to them, they work based on what they think they are supposed to do.

Cultivating effective communication isn’t just about the words spoken or written. It also entails providing the right tools for communication. Work instructions should be passed across the team swiftly without delays. When new developments arise, make sure to inform team members about them immediately.

4. Appoint Project Supervisors

Depending on the size of your team, you may need extra hands to assist with the supervision of tasks.

Keeping an eye on everyone isn’t feasible if your team is large. You’ll need project supervisors to relate with your workers on an individual level. The project manager is fully immersed in the tasks, taking note of what works and what doesn’t work.

If anyone has questions about their tasks, they can easily ask the supervisor. It’s difficult for tasks to be duplicated on the project manager’s watch, as they are aware of all aspects of the project.

5. Automate Workflow

It’s easier for tasks to overlap when they are managed manually. No matter how careful you try to be in assigning and managing tasks to prevent duplication, things may slip through the cracks.

Adopting automation tools for the delegation of tasks ensures that no single task is taken twice. Once a team member is working on it, the job is marked off the list.

Automation is also effective for sequential tasks. The system is configured in such a way that the earlier task is completed before you can move on to the next.

Make Every Effort Count

The consequences of overlapping tasks are long-term. The time and resources spent on duplicate efforts may seem insignificant on the surface. But when compiled over time, you realize that you have lost so much.

Having two people do a great job on two versions of a task when all you need is a single version doesn’t make either version better. The other person could have put all that effort into a different activity to give you two great works that are useful.

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