As a leader, your actions set an example for your employees. You can shape your company’s culture by modeling and promoting good habits that encourage your staff to make the most of their time with a few simple time management tips to enhance your team’s productivity.
While you already have a lot on your plate, teaching your team to use their time wisely is a worthwhile investment. Many employees report that their time management challenges result from a lack of leadership. Without appropriate guidance, your staff may struggle with prioritization, managing their workload and being proactive.
You can help your employees make the most of their time by implementing these three strategies.
1. Understand How They Are Spending Their Time
Before you can make adjustments, it is important to find out what an average day looks like for each team member. Many of us would be surprised to learn how much of our time is lost to unproductive tasks. Ask your employees to track all of their activities for a week. Doing so will enable them to gain a better understanding of the opportunities for improvement.
To promote participation, you should make it clear that the results of this exercise will not be shared or used for performance reviews. Encourage them to be candid and include breaks, distractions and multitasking. There are many apps that record can time spent on different online activities if your employees need help keeping track of their personal time management.
This log will allow your team members to identify and examine their patterns. At the end of the week, each employee should evaluate whether their record reflects their priorities. Their most important work should have a prominent place in their schedule. If they didn’t spend much time pursuing their key objectives, you should work together to understand why.
2. Find Ways To Reduce “Busy Work”
Look for opportunities to address their time management challenges. Does their log show a lot of multi-tasking? Encourage them to delegate or use technology to manage routine activities more efficiently. Did they feel rushed when working on important projects? If so, their schedule may need to be re-prioritized.
There are probably some tasks on their calendar that they don’t need to do at all. To eliminate time-wasters, ask your employees to review their schedule for the next two weeks and delete non-essential meetings and other optional activities that don’t fit their goals. Then encourage them to identify what they can do to better utilize that time.
Ask your team to be respectful of each other’s time by rethinking your company’s approach to meetings. While meetings are necessary to share information and make decisions, many are inefficient and lack a clear purpose. Each meeting should have a list of objectives to keep everyone on task to avoid poor time management as a team.
Designate someone to take notes and send out a short summary afterward. This will help ensure everyone is on the same page and eliminate the need to repeat the same information next time.
3. Avoid The Pitfalls Of Overscheduling
Many employers believe that their employees can schedule eight or more productive hours each workday, but that’s an unrealistic target. When researchers interviewed information workers at 45 different companies, they discovered that only 30 percent of their time was spent working on their core responsibilities.
Communication, administrative tasks and unexpected challenges take up a large portion of our days. While we can reduce some of these tasks, it is not possible to eliminate them altogether. Instruct your employees to build some flexibility into their schedules and avoid the urge to over-schedule them.
When one of your team members excels in their role, it may be tempting to give them more projects, but keeping your expectations realistic sets your team up for success. Giving any one person too much responsibility makes it difficult for them to do their best work. We all need creative time and breaks to maintain our focus.
While most employers offer paid time off, many employees worry that they would be viewed unfavorably if they use all their PTO. However, taking time off has been shown to reduce stress and increase the employee’s engagement at work. Encourage your team to take regular breaks, personal time and vacations.
Employees who feel more in control of their schedules are happier and more productive in their roles. By taking the lead and modeling effective time management, you can help your employees develop the skills they need to do their best work every day.
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