When your company relies on delivering goods or services, you simply can’t afford to miss deadlines – no matter how big or small.
In addition to risking having to pay penalties, taking too long to finish a project often opens up the possibility of endangering pending jobs. So it’s very clear that you and your team need to have excellent time management skills. But not everyone has the intuition and experience to be their most efficient self.
Employees who struggle with time management issues will need to be offered the tools and support required to overcome these problems. This means that your leadership will not only have to equip themselves with patience and listening skills, but they’ll also have to be ready to engage in open communication to find solutions that work.
The following are the most common time-related issues, and easy fixes you can try implementing right away.
1. Too Much Work Assigned
Sometimes, the demands of a job are simply too much for a single person to handle. If there’s an employee who is struggling in particular, it may be a good idea to look at the projects that are giving them trouble.
Do they have too much on their plate? Did management underestimate the amount of research or work that should be put into an assignment? How many different projects are they currently involved with?
A relatively simple fix for keeping track of what your workers are spending time on (and how many tasks they’re being assigned) is to invest in task management software such as Trello or Asana. Both of these solutions were developed for teams, and allow you to create a great number of tasks and sub-tasks, assign them to colleagues, keep up to date on progress, and share relevant files, all within the mobile or desktop apps.
If you find that a single person is in charge of simply too much work, it may be a good idea to delegate assignments to someone else, bring in backup, or even outsource lower-priority tasks.
The downside of having absolutely every piece of information imaginable at the reach of our fingertips is that we’ll inevitably find ourselves reaching for that info more often than we should. This is why people mindlessly open up social media apps on their phones or find themselves wandering off course after a simple web search.
The simplest solution to tackling distractions in the workplace is to remove them. Start by taking a closer look at the working environment. Is the space too cluttered? Is the music too loud? Or maybe there are simply too many people sharing an office.
You can also look at digital distractions and eliminate them by using site-blocking software that will limit access to social media and similar websites. A great solution is StayFocusd, a Chrome extension that has a number of features you can customize to ensure they work best for you and your team.
3. Automate Time-Consuming Tasks
Sometimes, the culprit of all time management issues seem to be simple, repetitive tasks that are necessary, but simply take up too much energy. Filing reports is an excellent example of these.
If you (or one of your employees) are struggling with invoicing or creating time-tracking reports for clients, you can easily use the data from your Google or Outlook calendar and export it to an Excel spreadsheet. This way, you can focus your energy on higher priority assignments.
4. Communication Barrier
If you manage a remote team or outsource some of your work, you may be a victim to the constant inflow of emails that sit unanswered for hours, or even days. In addition to being a contributor to your carbon footprint, email communication is often tedious and takes up too much of your workday.
Team communication apps, such as Slack, are an excellent solution. They give you the chance to create channels through which your employees can communicate with management and each other. This type of communication is instant, so not a single moment is wasted waiting for a reply. Additionally, the program allows users to upload attachments and even integrate services such as Google Docs or Dropbox.
5. Lack of Skill
Not everyone is born with a perfect grasp of time. While some people tend to have a pretty good idea of how long it will take them to finish a task, others (usually inexperienced employees) can risk underestimating a job.
Here is where your role as a leader becomes extremely important. If you want to make your employees more efficient, you need to do everything in your power to enable this growth. This can mean sharing your personal task management strategies, mentoring your team members, or finding sources everyone can learn from.
Whether you decide to invest in a time-management course for the entire company or organize a meeting in which you’ll present issues and possible solutions, is completely up to you. The key thing is that you’re ready to listen and roll up your sleeves to get the needed results.
Staying relevant in any business today means keeping up with the fast pace most industries set. While this can be a source of a great deal of stress, it’s important to remember that most issues can be overcome with the right approach. Yes, you might find that some commonly accepted practices and tools don’t work for the specific demands of your team, but you also may come to the conclusion that a simple change in habits leads to better results for your company.
Lastly, don’t forget to keep an open mind. Sometimes the best solutions are the ones we never even thought of.
As an employer or employee, have you ever had to deal with time management issues? What were some of the solutions that worked for you? Let us know in the comments below.
Featured image credit: Unsplash.com
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