Time management is everything. A workforce who can successfully allocate time will be more organized, and productive on their pursuit to meeting business goals.
As a leader, you’re responsible for ensuring your team unlocks their true potential. Getting the most out of your team is no easy task, but by sharing time management wisdom, staff will be more capable of prioritizing their workloads.
It’s common for staff to lack guidance on which tasks are urgent and which aren’t, so it’s your responsibility to share useful insight to ensure they spend their time wisely. Striking a balance is important, where you don’t want to overload staff with information that can disrupt their work.
Neglect the importance of time management at your peril. When successfully orchestrated as a short-term goal, the long-term repercussions will be felt, through the creation of a productive culture with rapidly responsive staff.
But how exactly do you go about educating your team on time management? Absorb these valuable tips below and you’ll be onto a winner.
Where is My Time Going?
If this is a question that’s constantly posed by employees, you’d be wise to instigate a ‘time audit’. It’s common for staff to view time as something which quickly passes, which isn’t an ideal perspective.
Time is an important asset, and when time is perceivably long, rather than short, staff will be capable of achieving more. This stems from the psychology of having more time on your hands, even when in reality we all know time is constant.
Devise a system where you track what employees are working on, and what they’re currently completing during certain periods. By discovering how staff are allocating their time, you can effectively evaluate how it could be better spent.
Stress this is a simple exercise to help them thrive in their work environment, to remove the pressure associated with tracking.
Once you’ve collected pertinent data, you can address a few critical questions:
- What prevents you focusing on priorities?
- What tasks took longer than expected?
- Does your time align with your core competencies?
- Do you work better over long periods, or with small pockets of time?
A conversation of this nature will identify pain points, uncovering issues so you can effectively brainstorm solutions.
For example, if you uncover staff prefer engaging in meaningful work without disruptions, coordinate ‘heads down’ work where employees can focus on a specific task.
Not all time management issues are self-inflicted. In fact, when staff aren’t clear about what’s expected from them, they can end up floating through the day when they’d rather be productive.
Poor leadership is a common contributor to poor time management, which can stem from:
- Failing to know what to prioritize
- An inability to say no
- A lack of clear timelines leading to procrastination
- Unclear strategy putting staff in reactive mode
Communication is everything. It’s essential for high-ranking staff to communicate what they expect from staff, which can be achieved with clear dialogue.
Otherwise, staff can be left confused, which is counterproductive when they could be focusing their energy more appropriately.
Staff must lead by example, as an inspired workforce that can work towards clear objectives. On top of this, business environments encourage a ‘yes’ culture, where people often agree to complete work that isn’t realistic.
A transparent organization will encourage employees to prioritize correctly, and to work to planned timelines.
You can break down barriers to productivity by simply asking whether your team need clarification, and their response will indicate how you can implement measures to help them manage time more effectively.
Employees can lack the skills necessary to estimate how long a task will take. They’ll quickly get an abrupt wake up call when work continues to pile up, as all the while deadlines aren’t being met.
This can leave staff overwhelmed and frustrated, when in fact this could have been prevented with the correct time management decisions.
Have you ever planned to achieve something quicker than you know you’ll be able to? Don’t worry, this is relatively common, but avoidable. It’s an easy trap to fall into, and is exacerbated by the added pressure of not wanting to disappoint.
As a leader, you should be more active throughout the time planning process. Break large projects into more manageable chunks, so your team can work towards realistic, manageable targets.
A lengthy project can seem like a huge mountain to climb, compared to when it’s broken down. Incorporate staff feedback along the way, so they can modify the plan of action based on the capabilities.
They’ll need to consider various factors, like how long it will take to research and acquire the resources they need to be successful. By addressing bottlenecks during the planning stage, staff will be better equipped to deal with problems when they arise.
Preference realistic milestones, estimating how much time each block of work will take. This will be a big time commitment, but helping someone else allocate their time will generate transferable benefits, which can positively influence the whole organization.