Companies have training regimens in place that help onboard new hires as quickly as possible. More often than not, company mandated training focuses on hard skills required to perform daily tasks. While it’s important to know what you’re doing when filling a role, soft skills shouldn’t be overlooked.
One of the most important and impactful soft skills is that of time management. There are workers out there who might not have hard skills developed in their trade just yet, but excel at managing how they use their time. These employees typically have a much higher capacity than their peers.
Time management can be taught. As a business leader, you should make an effort to help your employees, both new and old, to improve how they use their time. These five methods can be introduced to them with that goal in mind:
1. Weekly Planning
An old adage reads as follows: failing to plan is planning to fail. There is a lot of truth in that statement. While a plan might not be carried out exactly as listed, it’s the preparation that’s important. Entering each new week with ample preparation makes it much easier to ultimately use your time wisely.
If you know when all of your upcoming meetings and deadlines are, you can better plan around them. You’ll know just when you can check your emails, return some phone calls, and finish up a marketing pitch. Without weekly planning, you’ll be in more of a scramble. This leads to a lot of stress and burnout among employees.
2. Task Prioritization
Another soft skill that tends to get overlooked is learning how to prioritize a task list. Each daily task has its own size and importance. Much like a puzzle, the fastest way to finish is by deciding where to start and figuring out which pieces go where.
A common way to approach task prioritization is the Eisenhower Matrix. Named after the former U.S. President, this method can help even the least experienced learn how to prioritize effectively. The matrix consists of four quadrants based on their importance and urgency. Tasks of high importance and great urgency are moved to the top of the to-do list.
This is a simple way to quickly determine which tasks should be first on the schedule. With a prioritized list, employees can manage their time more effectively while completing the most important tasks.
3. Calendar Upkeep
Few things help with time management like a good old fashioned calendar. Digital calendars in particular are very helpful for tracking and planning your time. You can create and edit a variety of events whether they’re work-related or personal.
Company calendars are helpful but can only get you so far. A personal calendar can be customized to fit the needs of the user. For example, if one of your employees needs numerous reminders to stay on top of their schedule, a personal calendar can be equipped to do so.
A personal calendar can also help employees learn time management skills outside of work. If workers can implement time management strategies with parenting, hobbies, and daily routines, they can come to the office better prepared for a busy day.
4. Task Management
There is such a thing as trying to do too much. Companies that overload their employees can’t expect them to be very effective or efficient. This is something you can work on as a manager. However, even if you provide the best working conditions possible, employees should still learn how to manage their capacity.
Let your employees know that they won’t be penalized for using their time off or focusing on work-life balance. This is something you should both enable and encourage. Happy, well-rested employees will work much harder and much more effectively than they would otherwise.
One method you can consider is enabling remote work or hybrid work. Employees who work from home often have an easier time balancing their work with the rest of their lives. Instead of continuing to overload their schedule, time with family can easily take place.
5. Goal Setting
Time management is often easier to tackle when you have a goal set in mind. Goals with designated deadlines give you a greater sense of resolve. Instead of running on autopilot, you’ll be more motivated to manage your time in pursuit of the goals you’ve set.
In some roles or particular times of year there aren’t many goals that get assigned by others. In these cases, employees need to learn how to set their own goals. If they can create that sense of urgency and direction, they will have more motivation to manage their time in order to reach said goals.
Let’s use a sales team as an example. If they’re compensated by commission, they’ll only be paid as often as they close. Setting personal goals for sales numbers will force them to manage their time to make things happen.
Time management can be taught. Set the example, and provide your team with the tools they need. Improved time management can allow them to get their jobs done in less time with greater satisfaction.
Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels; Thanks!