When you’re constantly hearing complaints from your team about their lack of bandwidth it’s easy to place blame on monstrous workloads. But if you take a closer look, oftentimes you’ll find that the workload itself is reasonable. What’s lacking is your team’s ability to effectively manage their time. And once you can pinpoint where the real problem lies, there’s a perfect opportunity to offer them time management tips for work that will keep their productivity (and your company) running like a well-oiled machine.
Here’s a simple 5-step process to use with your team so you can start improving time management across the office:
Step 1 - Investigate
Start by asking your team to take part in an experiment. Make it clear that this a no-pressure task and not intended to add more to their current schedules. Instead, the goal is to help them feel more confident about their current workload and learn about the current state of their time management at work. They won’t have to share the results with anyone else, so encourage total honesty. Remind the team that improving time management isn’t just important for the company’s bottom line, but for their well-being, too.
Here’s the experiment: ·As they go through their week have everyone write down each task or activity they do (include taking breaks, meetings, etc.) ·Add in the amount of time spent on each activity
That’s it for now. Easy enough!
Step 2 - Dissect
Now that your team has recorded a week’s worth of activities, ask them to dissect their week by answering the following questions:
·How much time did I spend focused on activities that move the needle? ·How much time did I spend on tasks that don’t move the needle (i.e. email)? ·How much time did I spend socializing with coworkers? ·How much time did I spend in meetings?
Once they see the breakdown of their activities there may be a lightbulb moment as they figure out the workload isn’t the problem. Having your team come to this realization on their own is critical to improving their time management capabilities.
Step 3 - Educate
By now team members have likely recognized they need help when it comes to their time management at work. This is when you can step in and gently offer suggestions. Remember that not all time management methods work for everyone so i’s important to suggest a few different techniques and let your team members choose which one is right for them.
Here are some of the best time management tips for work that you can share with your team:
·Use the Urgent-Important Matrix to decide which tasks need to get finished first ·Schedule your day in advance and block time on your calendar for each task ·Try the Pomodoro technique to remain focused for short periods of time ·Limit multi-tasking whenever possible ·Close all tabs and apps that could be distracting and turn notifications off (such as email, social media, etc.)
Step 4 - Act
Once each team member decides on a time management method it’s time to test the waters and see how it works. Ask them to spend one week focused on that technique—recording their activities as they did in Step 1—and see what happens. Have them answer the same questions from Step 2. Was their time spent differently?
Step 5 - Revise
After your team has tried their new time management techniques, work with them to make any necessary tweaks. If you’re confident they’re now working at peak productivity, it’s time to reestablish their workload. You may even be able to increase it. However, if there’s a team member who is still struggling to get their work done, consider adjusting by taking responsibility off their plate.
If you commit to going through this simple 5-step process, your team’s time management at work will improve—and so will their morale. Getting this right will not only help your team feel good about what they’re accomplishing, but you’ll also reap the benefits when revenue increases. Try this experiment quarterly and watch as productivity continuously improves.