As a leader, responsibility falls on you to ensure your team is completing the work that’s required of them and that they’re equipped with the tools they need to finish their tasks properly. It doesn’t just take skills and knowledge to complete a job, though; time management also plays an important role.
Someone can possess expert skills but if they don’t properly plan and execute their time, they won’t operate at their full potential and may even struggle with workloads they could otherwise breeze through. If an employee of yours—or the entire team—is struggling with effectively managing their time, here are some methods for imparting effective prioritization and organization skills.
Teach them to make a to-do list
Effectively prioritizing your daily tasks and your long-term projects heavily relies on a clear and accurate list of what needs to be completed by when. Otherwise, you can’t properly administer your time. That’s why Jason Silberman of Training Station stresses the importance of showing your staff how to make a detailed to-do list and categorizing each item based on its importance or deadline. By having a system to track and categorize the urgency of new projects as they arise, be it in a spreadsheet or on physical paper, employees can focus their attention on the right tasks instead of constantly playing catch-up or spending too long on jobs that aren’t worthwhile.
Teach them to set goals
Once each team member is following their own to-do list, it also saves you the time of constantly checking in on them to see what they’re working on. Rather, you can help them set clear monthly and/or yearly employee goals that empower people to know what is expected of them and plan ways of fulfilling it, as Patricia Lotich of The Thriving Small Business suggests. Encourage your employees to ask for clearer directions or job descriptions if they’re unsure what is expected of them.
Teach them how to be organized
Your staff needs to be equipped with the tools and answers they need to complete their jobs. If they aren’t, they will either waste time searching for these resources or will perform tasks improperly, which will result in more time being spent later to fix the job. Either way, it’s valuable time unnecessarily squandered.
Lotich encourages supervisors and managers to teach their teams organizational skills, as clutter is the enemy of organization. Since organization skills don’t come naturally to everyone, take the time to see where your employees are wasting the most time and see what you can do to improve the situation, be that physical organization in the form of systemized filing cabinets or informational organization in the form of supplementary training or resource documents.
Teach them how to self-evaluate
As employees develop a system that works for them, it’s crucial that they remain aware of how effective their habits and methods are. Maia Heyck-Merlin, author of “The Together Leader,” recommends asking employees to consider what takes them more or less time than anticipated, what obstacles or distractions get in the way of completing tasks and how they use small pockets of time. Using this information, you can help your employee establish a routine of self-evaluation to continue revising and improving their time management habits.
It takes practice and guidance to hone time stewardship skills, but if you demonstrate that you’re invested in your staff’s growth and development, they will be willing to do what it takes to improve their techniques.