Five Steps to Help Employees with Time Management
Date Published: Oct 28, 2022
Time management skills come easier to some of us than others; but even those who naturally have good time management will need to develop their skill set. Optimizing your time management abilities has the clear benefits of helping to ensure you meet deadlines and maximizing your productivity. It also reduces stress and makes you feel more engaged and in control of your work.
Leveling up the time management capabilities of your entire team can be transformative for workflows, collaboration and morale. A smart manager will develop a time management improvement initiative to guide their team. Such an undertaking should include these five steps to help employees with time management
1. Track Time for Data-Based Decisions
The first step to help employees with time management is having your team track their time for every task they perform daily. The total should add up to however many hours they worked that day, accounting for breaks and administration duties, too.
After a month of time tracking, review the data to get a better understanding of employees’ work habits. Which tasks are they going through quickly? Which assignments require more time than assumed? With this data, you can forecast project completion dates more accurately, and finetune expected assignment completion times. This is also an opportunity to identify areas where employees need assistance to improve a particular skill set. An employee who takes 50 percent longer than other workers to retrieve data for reporting may need software training, for example.
2. Adjust Workloads to Trim the Fat
This next step in helping employees with time management involves cross referencing time tracking data with employee job descriptions. The goal here is to trim the fat.
Identify unimportant tasks that are outsized time investments. Examples of work that often take more time than provide value includes:
Attending meetings not relevant to an employee’s work
Responding to emails and chat threads
Providing feedback on projects or other employee’s tasks
Training new hires
The second workload adjustment to undertake is being aware of workers who are doing other employees’ work. High-performing teams will collaborate and sometimes pitch in to do each other’s work, but employees should not be regularly taking on assignments outside of their position or beyond what is a fair workload. If such a circumstance arises, it should be addressed immediately to avoid your talented employees from becoming burnt out.
3. Collaborate Regularly with Your Team
In keeping with the previous point, a good manager will help employees with time management by regularly meeting with them to review workloads and improve time management skills. This can be a part of a larger continuous performance management that is designed to give ongoing feedback to employees regarding their performance and provide them the tools to excel. There is also an important wellness component to continuous performance management too.
By regularly collaborating with your team, you will be ensuring that time management behavior is changed, rather than only achieving short-term improvements. Discuss the following with your team regularly:
Which tasks feel the most and least productive?
What tasks are you completing most frequently?
Which tasks are the most tedious and taxing, and which are the most rewarding?
Are there any obstacles or distractions for you and the team?
Are there solutions you propose to improve workflows?
How has your time management changed?
Try making this into a template when meeting with employees and charting their answers and your discussions. This can create a database of employee insights that can inform more accurate decisions about operations and personnel for an enhanced business strategy.
4. Give Them the Right Time Management Tools
There are all kinds of software options for employees to track and analyze their time. Some apps will help you:
Use your time sensibly with features that send out weekly reports, automatic time-tracking features, and distraction-blocking tools.
Stay on top of all of your tasks by syncing all of your devices and to-do lists into a single spot and can send reminders.
Remain focused to complete difficult projects and motivate procrastinators.
Track time spent on specific tasks and provide time-usage analysis.
Also consider visible reminders for the entire team as they progress towards meeting a certain deadline. For remote employees, an infographic showing their progress can be shared on a chat thread. For in-office employees, a milestone tracker drawn on a whiteboard is a great non-digital, if not slightly vintage, way to keep everyone collectively moving in the right direction.
5. Prioritize Prioritization
Time management and prioritization go hand-in-hand. In order to manage your time effectively, you first need to know which tasks are truly important. Help employees with time management by guiding them on the principles of effective prioritization. There are a number of considerations for maximizing productivity, but the short version is that employees should:
Create an all-in-one list
Identify tasks tied to long-term goals
Categorize tasks by whether they are urgent or important
Review and reflect on their list regularly
Additionally, managers should be clear about which tasks are valuable. Do not assume that workers will inherently understand which assignments are important. A supervisor will have a broader perspective on their team’s work, and therefore subordinates may miss the significance of certain assignments.
Finally, assign due dates for all projects. A task without a due date is a task postponed.
Consider Time Management Training
While following these five steps may be enough to help employees with time management, they may need additional guidance. This is when time management training can be a well-worthwhile investment.
Time management training can elevate the skills of an employee who consistently has difficulty juggling multiple responsibilities and hitting deliverables, making them more reliable with their work product. An employee who already has solid time management abilities can also benefit from training by taking their productivity to new heights and inspiring other team members.
A smart company will incorporate time management training into ongoing performance management and employee wellbeing strategies. When skills training is thoughtfully included as part of employee-first initiatives, organizations can see dramatic improvements in productivity, morale and profitability.
Priority Management is a worldwide training company with 55 offices in 15 countries. We have successfully trained more than two million graduates in Priority workshops. Our programs help companies and people be more effective and manage their workflow in and out of the office by providing tools, processes and discipline. Simply put - A Better Way To Work! Clients range from Fortune 500 companies, small-to-medium businesses and government/military employees.
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