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As a manager, you are often responsible for giving out time management tips to your employees to boost productivity. You might feel like the majority of your time is spent monitoring how they spend their time and telling them how they should make better use of it.
But sometimes, as hard as it may be to admit, you are the one who needs a little advice on how best to manage your time. When you are making better use of your time, not only are you doing more to help the company meet its goals, but you are also able to be a better manager and to provide a better example.
If you think you might not be making the best use of your time, here are a few tips for how to manage it all a bit better:
Create a Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Plan for Your Goals
You know how financial consultants advise their clients to create several savings funds – those for short-term goals and for long-term goals? You have to do the same with your work goals and how you “save” or budget your time.
Having a plan is one of the most important time management tips for anyone. After all, how can you know that you are effectively making the most of your time if you don’t know what all has to be done or what goals you are trying to meet?
But you can’t stop at a general plan of action. You need to break down your plan by time segments, including daily plans, weekly plans, and monthly plans. Different actions will contribute to short- and long-term goals on each of those plans.
Breaking down your plans by segments also helps you to break large tasks into manageable steps. For example, if you have a big project that is going to take you months to complete, you can put benchmarks for it on your monthly planning list, and you can put specific tasks toward meeting that goal on your daily time management plan.
Prioritize Throughout the Day to Address Setbacks and Create New Goals
When you start your day, you may be focused on getting as many employees signed up for the new training as possible. But then the software crashes and you get word from corporate that a major alteration has been made to the change model. Your priorities have shifted without notice – whether you want them to or not.
The need to change your priorities may not always be as dramatic or seem so obvious. If you aren’t vigilant, you could end up wasting too much time on tasks that aren’t bringing you toward your immediate goals. Then you will start the next day stressed out and already behind.
One of the time management tips you should keep at the top of your list is to constantly reassess where you are throughout the day and to revise your priorities as needed. You’ll reach the goals that are most important, which will help you focus your energies and make the best use of your time.
Manage Emails So They Don’t Take Up More Time Than They Should
We are constantly available thanks to email, cell phones, social media, and other devices and applications. That may make it easier to accomplish things in some regards, but it also means that we are constantly distracted by annoying and oftentimes unnecessary requests, notes, or questions.
The best time management tips always address getting your email under control so that it doesn’t control you, and that is especially important for managers, who will get ten times what the average employee does.
The first thing you need to do is schedule specific times to check and respond to email. DO NOT make yourself continually available throughout the day. Set aside half-hour blocks two or three times per day, and let employees and clients know when those blocks are. You can even put it in your email signature.
When you do check email during those blocks, adopt a “one touch” rule. That means that when you open an email, you have to read it and deal with it right away. Do not close out of the email with a promise to respond later – you won’t; it will just sit in your inbox creating clutter.
Even if you have to look up the answer to a question or dig for more information, at least respond that that’s what you’re doing. Taking this active approach to email will improve communication with clients and employees, and it will make managing email a much simpler process.
Delegate Tasks So That You Aren’t Making Yourself Responsible for Everything
You’re a manager – so manage! Don’t feel like you have to take the weight of the whole company on your shoulders. You are not responsible for everything, and no one expects you to be. Learn to delegate.
Delegating tasks not only gets them off your “to do” list, but it also gives employees the chance to impress you and show off what they can do. The best employees will jump at the chance to take on tasks you have, which will also show you who is committed to the company and to expanding his or her career.
However, don’t let this time management tip end up costing you more time. If you delegate, be sure to actually let the task go. Don’t micromanage the employee and make every step toward the completion of the task your responsibility to know about or oversee.
Take Breaks So that You Can Be Refreshed and Improve Your Focus and Productivity
We all need breaks from time to time – none of us are machines. Yet you might think it the opposite of a time management tip to take breaks. The reality is that you need to take a rest from time to time so that you can come back to your work with a clearer focus and more energy.
Really, you only need 10 or 15 minutes every few hours to feel refreshed. You can take a quick walk around your building, go talk to a co-worker about non-work-related stuff, or go get a coffee or a snack. The goal should be to relax your mind and body as much as you can in that short time.
Do not take too many breaks or breaks that are too long. If you do, you risk creating the opposite problem. You may lose your focus and waste a lot of time because you put your mind into “relaxation” or “break” mode and can’t snap back into “work mode.”
Use Software Tools that Will Keep You and Your Employees on Track
Many software solutions and tools are available that can help you manage your own time, as well as that of your employees. Find the tools that work best for you, and use them every day.
If you are implementing a change model in your organization, WalkMe can help you facilitate that process, including making the most efficient use of your time so that you meet your change goals. WalkMe helps you streamline digital change, which can help you manage your time and improve overall productivity.