Career Trends: 5 Effective Tips for Managing Overlapping Tasks

5 min read

Edition: February 11th, 2022
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS

Managing overlapping tasks in the workplace can save time, resources, and increase productivity. (Image Credit: Shutterstock)
  • Excerpts from article by Chris Odogwu, published on

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.

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.

Here are the main reasons why tasks overlap:

1. Ineffective Workflow

  • 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. Lack of Team Cooperation

  • 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.

5 Best Tips to Prevent Overlapping of Tasks

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.

Here are 5 effective tips to prevent task overlapping:

1. Transparency: Every employee should know what they are working on, and with whom.

  • 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. Progress Measurement: Workflow tools can help in detecting redundancy in time.

  • 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.

3. Communication: Work instructions should be passed across the team.

  • 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. Supervision: It’s difficult for tasks to be duplicated on the project manager’s watch.

  • 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. Automation: 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.

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 realise that you have lost so much.


Have you checked out yesterday’s blog yet?

Career Trends: Which Software Engineering Pathway is Right for You?

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above mentioned article are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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