Poor time management skills can result in missed deadlines, dissatisfied clients, and increased overtime costs. These concerns may be compounded in light of the new overtime rules (effective December 1, 2016), especially for employees who are reclassified as non-exempt. To help avoid unnecessary overtime costs and improve performance, here are 10 time management techniques to share with your employees:
#1: Plan and set goals.
Supervisors should work with their employees to set daily, weekly, and monthly goals. For each goal, set a timeline for completion and break the goal down into small, manageable assignments. Consider providing employees with task management tools, such as online calendars, project management programs, or a simple to-do list.
Help employees evaluate their responsibilities based on importance and urgency and encourage them to complete tasks with the highest priority first. This process requires effective communication between the employee and his or her supervisor to ensure that priorities are properly aligned with department and company goals.
Every minute lost because of a misplaced file, tool, or document is a minute that could have been spent completing a task. Emphasize the importance of an organized workspace to help maximize efficiency.
Evaluate processes and procedures regularly to ensure efficiency. Managers should have regular discussions with their employees to get their insight on more efficient methods for completing their job responsibilities.
Proper delegation can ensure the right tasks are assigned to the right people. But, there is more to delegating than simply assigning a task. Managers must explain job duties thoroughly, work with their employees to develop a plan for completing the task, monitor progress, and provide the resources and support necessary to reach assigned goals.
#6: Dedicate time for less pleasant work.
It's human nature to sometimes procrastinate, especially when a difficult or undesirable assignment presents itself. To help employees stay focused, break large projects into smaller parts and schedule specific time (such as the beginning of the workday) for the larger or more unpleasant projects.
#7: Manage communications.
For employees on a tight deadline, answering phone calls and emails can be distracting. Consider establishing guidelines for responding to these types of communications. For example, when employees are on a tight deadline, ask them to check voicemail and email at set intervals and respond to urgent communications first. All other communications can be put on hold until after important projects have been completed.
#8: Avoid interruptions.
Whenever possible, schedule important job duties for a part of the day when there are fewer disruptions. For example, if an employee is the first one in the office in the morning, this may be a good time to work on assignments that require more concentration. Also, remind employees that interruptions are inevitable, and for planning purposes, they should allow a little extra time for unexpected interruptions.
#9: Schedule tasks for peak performance.
If possible, physically or mentally demanding work should be scheduled for when workers are at peak performance. This may vary depending on the employee. Encourage employees to consider when they have the most energy and ask them to focus on bigger or more important projects during that time.
#10: Ensure proper balance.
No matter how well employees manage their time at work, they are unlikely to perform at their best if they return to work each day stressed or lacking energy. Encourage employees to take regular rest breaks throughout the day and consider a wellness program that encourages healthy habits.
Effective time management is important for any business. Provide your employees with the training and tools they need to optimize their performance.