Teaching Employees Better Time Management

As a manager, it is your responsibility to help everyone on your team do their best work.  One way to do this is by coaching them to prioritize their work in a way that makes them more timely and efficient.  Poor time management skills can be a huge problem in the workplace, resulting in missed deadlines, dissatisfied clients,and unnecessary overtime costs.  To help avoid these issues and improve performance, here are a few time management techniques managers can share with their employees. 

Keep a Log of How Time is Spent

A great way to make your employees more aware of how they spend their time is to ask them to keep a log detailing exactly how their time is spent. Encourage employees to do this for about 2 weeks so they can have a good idea of what their average day looks like. This will allow them to compare where their time was spent and it will also help them see how much time is wasted on distractions. 

Set Clear Goals

Managers should work with their employees to set daily, weekly, and monthly goals.  When employees have a clear understanding of what their tasks are, they are able to manage those tasks more easily.  In addition to setting goals, managers should also help employees set a timeline for each goal.  To help them stay on track, managers can provide them with task management tools such as online calendars or project management programs.

Teach Them to Prioritize

If an employee is struggling to meet deadlines, they might need a little help prioritizing their tasks.  Managers can help employees by evaluating their responsibilities based on importance and urgency.  This way employees know they have to complete tasks with the highest priority first. 

Plan Ahead

One of the worst things employees can do is to start the workday with no clear idea of what needs to get done that day.  Planning ahead can help employees avoid wasting valuable time trying to jump from one thing to the next.  At the end of each day, employees should spend at least 15 minutes putting together a list of the next day’s most important tasks.  Not only will it keep them more organized, but it will allow them to jump right in and get straight to work the next day. 

Complete MITs in the Morning

Employees should spend their morning focusing on their biggest and most important tasks, aka MITs.  People generally have more energy in the morning so it’s better to tackle these tasks when they aren’t drained.  Furthermore, there is a sense of accomplishment in completing these bigger tasks and employees can use that momentum to get them through the rest of the day. 

Eliminate Distractions

By removing distractions and focusing solely on the task at hand employees are able to complete more work, and to a higher standard, in less time. The ability to focus is one of the most important time management skills because the greater your ability to focus, the quicker you can complete a task.  This means engaging in less conversation with coworkers, placing your cell phone in your desk drawer, avoiding browsing the web, and limiting phone calls when you are in the middle of an important task. 

Learn to Delegate

Some of your most dedicated employees might suffer from biting off more than they can chew.   While it’s great that they are dedicated and willing to take on responsibility, they must also learn when to say know and when to delegate tasks to someone else.  It is never productive to have such a hefty workload that your most important tasks cannot be completed.