So, time management training sounds like something that’d be a bit of a nightmare, right? Surely if it’s something this specialized, it calls for all manner of alterations to the training models and teaching philosophies you have to employ overall. This means, of course, that all your learned experience in training for pretty much everything else has to be thrown out for some new quasi-scientific approach to a field nobody wants to have to sit through training for to begin with, right?
Wrong. Your particular models, approaches to students and training management philosophies, if proven to work well in other scenarios, are just fine in all likelihood. But, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to be open to a couple new ideas with time management training – they’re just more about things to teach than how you teach them.
Don’t fear, it’s not so bad, and actually, what I’m about to show you will teach you, as a trainer, to be better at managing time yourself. You’ll find yourself thinking “I should teach this mindset to my trainees … hey wait, I should apply that to my own line of thinking, too! Thanks, mysterious internet guy!”
#1 – Quality and Quantity are not Synonymous
Students will come into effective time management techniques figuring that it’s going to be all about drilling them on getting the most possible done in the least amount of time, and as such, quantity of time (aiming for smaller numbers) is the name of the game. Well, to a small extent, getting more done in less time is a good thing to strive for, but we all know the human body and mind have limits.
So, one of the most important things, especially starting out, to instill in students is that sometimes, you’re just going to have bad days. In those bad days, you’re going to spend hours not accomplishing nearly as much as you might in five minutes of a good day, often due to things beyond your own control. So, it’s all about how much quality work is accomplished, more than how quickly, above all else. While speed is valuable, work should not suffer for it.
#2 – Having a Good Day? Make the Best of It!
Like I said, there will be good and bad days, and the good days. When you are getting a lot done in a short period of time, and putting excellent quality into it, too, then … make the most of the extra time made available.
Have some not quite as pressing things that ought to be accomplished by someone in your department? Teach your students, on days that things have gone very well, that the down time shouldn’t be down time. It should be time used to look for little dangling goals nobody’s had a chance to meet, and to go after them. This can be taught through gamification, and we might do a piece on games that suit teaching this.
Also, teach them the two minute mantra, to abate procrastination. If a task can be done in two minutes or less, then it should be done right away, barring crises unfolding. Teach then to consciously say this either in their minds or out loud, to give themselves the sense of urgency and momentum. Just generally knowing the principle but not consciously saying it, won’t get the point across when it’s needed.
#3 – Multitasking is for Computers not People
Again, there are some simple social exercises that can probably help drive this point home, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about. Everyone thinks that the key to getting the most out of time is to multitask, and while a tiny bit of this is fine, focusing on the task at hand and worrying about others when their turn comes around ensures that everything gets addressed, and the workflow does not become a tangential mess.
So, if you apply these three core mindsets first and foremost in your time management techniques, then honestly, you’ve gotten the meat of the concept down for them, and now it’s just time to exercise them on this stuff until they own it. And, like I said, doesn’t this give you some ideas on how to best manage the time you have for any given training project?