Managers, leaders, and executives all want the same thing: GET STUFF DONE. But how do you get your employees complete their deliverable efficiently and on time?
There are many skills that they need to learn to get more productive at work. Among the most important are time management skills. This article talks about essential time management tips for employees that every leader should know.
What are Effective Time Management Skills?
Time management skills are the key to productive, high-performing employees. There are several skills they need to learn and master in order to achieve these goals.
- Goal-setting. The most basic and important skill that every employee needs to learn is how they can use their time in a manner that serves their goal. It is difficult to organize workload, create a schedule, and allocate time for each task when they don’t even know what they need to accomplish in the first place. Effective time management starts with realistic goal-setting.
- Self-awareness. As a leader, you need to understand that each of your staff is different. They have their own preference when it comes to working. Some are more productive when given a little more independence while others need to be guided all the time. Some employees are more productive at certain times in the day than the others. In order to maximize their time and skills, they need to know their strengths and weaknesses. Identifying conditions that encourage poor performance at work is an important skill that every leader should have.
- Prioritization․ When it comes to prioritization, many people get it wrong. Instead of focusing on eliminating tasks that prevent them from accomplishing their goals on time, they get carried away by the thought of ‘getting things done’. Prioritizing daily tasks is central to effective time management in an organization. So how do you know which tasks need to be prioritized? Experts recommend assessing the consequences of tasks when not done today. For example, if you have a scheduled presentation today, it is definitely is a task that should be accomplished.
How to Improve Employees’ Time management Skills
In teaching and reinforcing these effective time management skills, there are strategies that leaders can implement for the best results:
- Categorize tasks based on consequences. Start by focusing on tasks that create an urgency factor (tasks that when not done today could have a serious impact). Then, identify those that a mildly negative consequence if not completed today, activities that have no consequences when not done today, tasks that can be delegated or assigned to someone else, and lastly – the tasks that can be eliminated so employees can focus on accomplishing their goals.
- Track time. Time-tracking is considered the lifeblood of any business. Not only is it indispensable when it comes to payroll or accounting, but it also allows leaders and executives to get an X-ray vision of their projects and understand whether they are hitting their budgets and deadlines. Fortunately, technology has allowed companies to track time of their employees efficiently. Software programs like the AMGtime offer free time tracking software for startups and/or small businesses with up to 5 members.
Time Management Techniques
There are many time management techniques that can greatly drive the productivity and performance of employees. Some of them include:
- Recognize employees. Motivated employees are productive employees. Rewarding your staff for a job well done is a great way to inspire them to continue their best practices. A simple call-out to recognize their efforts can already motivate an employee to focus on quality work and improve their delivery time.
- Delegate tasks. Effective task delegation is the key to getting things done in the most time-efficient way. Select the best person for a specific task. This can be done by assessing their skills and capabilities and making sure they have the training and resources to perform the task. When delegating, it is also necessary to set clear goals and expectations, provide support, guidance, and instructions, and lastly – evaluate and recognize performance.
- Pay attention to planning and goal-setting. Before any project begins, employees involved should have a clear understanding of what the project goals are, as well as their individual roles to accomplish such goals. Planning allows team leaders and managers to foresee tasks that are required to complete a project and determine the easiest route to accomplish it. A well-made plan saves a great deal of time and effort.
Time Management Skills in the Workplace
In addition to the time management techniques mentioned above, there are a few more strategies on how to improve employees’ time management skills at workplaces.
- Create a schedule. Practice effective time management skills by organizing days and weeks in advance. This gives employees a great insight into the tasks needed to accomplish, which ones should be prioritized, and their individual roles. It’s likely that there are surprises along the way. Having a regular check-in or task update is the key.
- Allow them to focus. It is important to remember that no matter how many tasks have to be done, employees can only work on them one at a time. In order to achieve excellent output in the shortest possible time, they should learn how to focus. It’s one of the most powerful effective time management skills. As much as possible, minimize distractions like noise, clutter, and technology interruptions.
- Promote healthy work habits. Stressed and anxious employees have poor output because they tend to procrastinate and are unable to focus at work. Promoting work-life balance has been scientifically proven to promote productivity at work.
Time management is one of the most important tools that every business or organization can capitalize on in order to achieve their goals. Practicing time management skills allow employees to be efficient with their tasks, meet deadlines, and produce better quality work.
They say “time is money”. It’s true. Thus, the time wasted is money wasted. And it’s not good for business. Managers play an important role in promoting effective time management skills in the workplace. They need to assess the productivity of their staff, identify areas of improvement, and create a plan that best addresses their time management needs.