It is not a secret that one of the biggest issues in running a business is time management. Whether you and your team “need more time” or “have too much time to spare”. If you don’t feel happy with the results, something needs to be done. In order to nurture business growth, we need to develop efficient time management strategies. By doing so, we not only allow our business to get bigger and strong. But also optimize our team’s free time and achieve goals more productively. So what can we do as an organization to develop the right skills and strategies for managing our time? Today on HR Development we address the topic.
The Importance of Time Management
Before determining tips and strategies to improve your team’s time management we should get to the core of it. Why is it important and why should we always aim to improve it? How does time management help us calibrate our work-life?
Cut Down on Stress
If we are not able to organize our tasks by priority then we will not manage our time properly. This will probably lead to leaving “heavy” tasks for last and making us feel stressed. Stress can set off many alarms on our personal and on our team’s processes and may cause everything to crumble. Having a list of “to-do’s” and an unrealistic approach to going over them will cause anxiety among some of your team members.
Everyone in our team will most likely react differently to different triggers. Different reactions from our team members can also lead to conflicts within our team and finger-pointing. We must help everyone understand that the importance of a problem is not finding who it is to blame. But the best paths and ways to its solution.
Therefore, time management helps you achieve your goals promptly, and that is obvious. However, by improving your time management and reducing the stress in your team, other processes will flow more smoothly. Your team’s dynamics and integration will be greatly benefited if you remove the stress that poor time management may cause.
Gauge how much time each task may take, prioritize each goal and task according to your business goals and evaluate how much time you have available overall. Once you have determined these three you have successfully aced the first step of improving time management, hence reducing stress in your team.
Time Management Enhances Results
When you prioritize and block times of your day for your important tasks, then you can see what you need to do and the time you should invest in completing it. Focusing on the fundamental tasks keeps you away from distraction and procrastination. Which at the same time allows you to put more consideration and energy into what you are doing. When you are hurrying to complete your projects, the quality of your results will most likely be lower.
Having everyone in your team deliver excellent results will improve team collaboration. If we see everyone is rowing then we will most likely do everything possible on our end to keep the boat afloat. People will assist the coworkers with tips and advice to keep rowing at the same pace.
Of course, managing your time effectively and efficiently has a lot more benefits, but we are here today to share tips about how to manage your time properly. Now, let’s get to it.
Effective and Efficient Time Management
Managing your and your team’s time properly is key to having excellent results and business growth. Especially during this time of pandemic where some professions have had to deal with remote work and people had to reinvent the way they performed their jobs. Providing time management strategies and techniques to all of your teams will increase the amount of trust you put in them, hence making them feel more independent. And their work will become more reliable.
Like everything about the human condition, there is no one formula to get it right. However, there are certain things you need to worry about to have and implement an effective and efficient time management strategy. Here are some of those:
Planning, planning, and planning. You can see almost everywhere that one of the keys to business success is planning and this is not the exception. Spend at least 5% of your and your team’s time planning the day, week, or month ahead of you. If you involve your team in the planning, the results will be significantly better. Since your team knows firsthand how much time each task and project can take, their input is essential.
Planning your goals will help you have everyone on the same page as well as keep track of your team’s process. Giving your team a clear scope of where they should be headed will help them implement the best techniques to reach that. Once they know how to get there, it will be simpler to establish the time it will take them to reach those goals.
It is important that you and your team agree on a work schedule and that you allow certain flexibility. Some people work better in the mornings and others in the afternoon. You have to get to know your team. Establishing a strategy for time management requires you to determine what the best working hours are for every single team member. You also need to define how long each of them can work before they need a rest.
Each of them should know what their times are. The suggestion is to always get the most important tasks done before their productivity starts to plunge. Make sure everyone is scheduling the key tasks to achieve global goals on their peak hours and non-essential activities outside of those.
Refrain from Multi-tasking and Procrastination
Some may feel like doing several things at the same time makes them more effective and productive. Nevertheless dividing our focus into multiple things and the task is something our brain is not especially good at. Yes, we can do it, but results for big and important projects will not be as positive as those when we selectively focus our attention on one specific chore. For small tasks, such as returning calls and reading emails we can, however, divide our attention if we feel capable of doing so.
It is a reality that procrastination is the enemy of time management. Sometimes we are not as engaged in a task. Other times we feel like we could be more productive doing something else. I would suggest setting external reinforcement for those tasks. If you feel the need to keep looking at your phone and roam around the office, instead of completing your project, set a smaller goal. “If I reach a 20% completion for this project, then I will eat my favorite chocolate”. “When I complete 60% of this project I will watch my favorite movie”. External reinforcement and token economy are some of the most effective techniques when dealing with attention deficit. As adults, we can certainly implement these “simple” strategies to be more efficient and effective.
And last, but not least. The best way to help your team and yourself to manage time properly is by finding a balance. Today’s modern life requires everyone to have multiple life demands. On a professional as well as on a personal level. Helping your team find harmony and balance between all of them, is fundamental. Finding this balance is not just about dividing hours between our personal and professional duties. Just like with divided attention, the odds that that is not going to work, are high.
Having a balanced work-life is about having the flexibility to be efficient in your professional life, and having energy and time to invest in your personal life. Feeling comfortable with what they are doing will make it easier for them to have this balance. Again is not about working 9-5 and then having a personal life the rest of the time. In reality, sometimes we will work extra hours. The key is not to feel burnt out and take the personal time we need.
As a manager, you must understand that encouraging this balance will give you better results in the long run. An employee that has a work-life balance will less likely show absenteeism. As well as show more organizational identity. If your team needs time off, even if they do not ask you for it, allow them to take a long weekend. Having different devices for their personal and professional aspects will also help them “unplug from work” during their off time. Flexibility is essential as well as trust.