Business leaders know that there’s no resource more precious than time. However, staying on top of a loaded schedule can be tough, even for the most seasoned executive or project manager. Adopting smart strategies for scheduling and managing time can be an even bigger challenge.
With some effort and the right tools, though, you can win the battle for your employees’ focus and ensure their time management calendars are structured in the most efficient manner possible. Read on to discover some of the best ways to maximize employee time management, minimize distractions, and boost productivity and the bottom line.
How to improve employee time management
- Make sure employees are clear on goals, expectations, and priorities: A foundational principle of effective time management is prioritizing the most important tasks. Your employees can’t operate at maximum efficiency unless they know what work should come first, what larger goal or purpose that work is serving, and what’s expected of them in terms of scope and timeline.
- Audit employee time and team processes: Despite what you or they may think, the truth is that the majority of employees’ time gets eaten up by administrative tasks, answering emails, or attending often non-critical meetings. By conducting a time audit, you and your colleagues can see exactly where their time is going every day and make a plan for improving time use, such as scheduling larger chunks of time for focused work and smaller blocks for other tasks.
It’s also important to keep a critical eye on your team or company’s processes and how they impact workers’ schedules. Are the software and tools you’re using making things easier or more difficult and time-consuming for employees? What about meetings? Team members can’t be expected to get deep work done when they’re constantly being interrupted or forced to shift focus, which leads us to number three…
- Protect your team’s creative time: At the management and executive levels, days are typically broken out by the hour. But your creative muscle — your writers, designers, coders, and engineers — need longer blocks of uninterrupted time to do deep, ultra-focused work. That’s why it’s critical that you, as a manager, put safeguards in place to protect those employees’ time and ensure they have the chance to put their heads down and concentrate.
Optimizing meetings to improve productivity
Of course, meetings are a huge workplace time killer. Although they do have their time and place, the truth is that many meetings could be shortened considerably or scrapped altogether. (Hint: if you find yourself “in character” at a meeting, you may want to reconsider that meeting’s validity.)
For meetings that are actually justified, here are some tips to make them as time-efficient as possible:
- Have an agenda: Writing out an agenda will help you keep the meeting focused and purposeful. One especially useful practice is to formulate a brief statement of purpose for every meeting. What’s the specific goal or outcome you want to achieve with the meeting? Your statement should answer that question.
- Have clear start and end times, and stick to them: There’s nothing worse than a meeting that begins 15 minutes late and goes on with no foreseeable end in sight. Keep meetings reigned in by establishing clear start and end times — and actually sticking to them.
Bonus: Don’t postpone the meeting waiting for a latecomer. It’s not fair to everyone else who showed up on time. It also sends a message that their time is not as valued.
- Prioritize the agenda: Just as you prioritize your own workload and your employees’ calendars, it’s important to prioritize all meeting agendas by placing the most critical items upfront. That way, if you run out of time or critical team members need to leave early, you’ll have covered the most important issues.
- Give clear summaries and assign specific roles and responsibilities: Another major meeting mistake is leaving employees with vague or nonexistent takeaways. How many times have you left a meeting feeling like nothing was resolved or having no idea how to follow through? Don’t leave your workers in that same rut. Clearly communicate summaries of each agenda item and any assignments that come as a result of the meeting.
- Designate someone to take notes at each meeting: To prevent repeating topics or forgetting what was resolved at the last meeting, always designate someone to take and distribute meeting notes. These can also come in handy for resolving any misunderstandings that arise.
Prioritizing tasks with a time management calendar
When used properly, a time management calendar is one of the most effective tools for boosting employee efficiency. By leveraging software tools designed to help teams and organizations get more done, employees can access time management calendar templates that make assigning responsibilities more intelligent in several ways:
- A printable time management calendar that is exportable to Excel or PDF gives everyone a chance to benefit from time management techniques, such as time audits. Employees can easily track their time then submit these reports to their supervisors for insight and feedback.
- Leadership can hold employees accountable for fulfilling their duties while avoiding any direct conflicts.
- For workers, time management applications assist them in thoughtfully setting priorities for their various roles and projects.
With Wrike, your employees get access to classic time management tools like calendars, plus much more. Our Timeline feature automatically pulls project tasks and due dates to create a dynamic timeline that you can change and adjust with a few simple clicks.
Ready to see just how easy Wrike makes time management for you and your team? Sign up below for a free two-week trial and get started today!