Employee time management guide
Last updated on: June 9, 2022
Time management is a set of principles and tools that help you use your time more effectively. Thus, employee time management consists of all the necessary skills that would help your employees do their job more productively.
In this article, you will learn:
- The benefits of time management at work,
- the importance of time management training,
- how you can improve your time management at work.
What are the benefits of time management at work?
If you’ve ever wondered what your typical day at work looks like, you have probably concluded that unexpected situations can happen often. Let’s say that you had a clear schedule for the day, but your plans were interrupted by three meetings in a row. Although meetings can be beneficial for you, sometimes they are just unimportant, and they waste your valuable time.
In fact, a lot of studies show that meetings are one of the most common reasons why workers don’t get their work done. For example, there was the 2017-2018 State of Enterprise Work Report research that surveyed 2,001 enterprise workers across the United States.
According to the results of this study, employees claim that their biggest challenges to getting work done are:
- Wasteful meetings – 57%
- Excessive emails – 53%.
These are just some arguments on why employees feel that there are not enough hours in the day. Maybe you don’t have a lot of meetings or you don’t have a great deal of emails during the day, but there might be something else that’s standing in your way of finishing your daily tasks. Either way, the point here is that you need to identify your key issues and then change your daily working routine accordingly.
The benefits of time management for managers
If you’re a team leader or a manager, it’s your responsibility to learn more about proper time management, so that you can help your coworkers organize their workdays better. Speaking of the importance of time management in the workplace, we’ll now explore all the benefits of time management at work.
So, these are the main reasons why gaining time management skills in the workplace is essential for managers or team leaders:
1. Receiving completed assignments on time
When it comes to your employees and their assignments, be sure to always set deadlines for all their tasks. If we have a due date for a certain duty, our brain will memorize this time-boxed structure and will follow it. That way, your employees will deliver their work promptly.
2. A better quality of work
It’s vital that you help your team members with organizing their time and setting priorities. Here’s why: when your employees have clear priorities, they can aim their attention to completing these tasks first. In addition, focusing on one task at a time means providing a better quality of work, too.
3. Fewer delays and less stress
We all have those days when we want to delay and procrastinate our tasks. But, with the right time management skills, your coworkers will be eager to face their workload and start doing assignments. Therefore, they’ll be less likely to procrastinate.
Moreover, less procrastination means less stress, too. That’s because you and your team won’t end up dealing with a huge amount of work that needs to be done as soon as possible, which can be stressful.
The benefits of time management for employees
Obtaining time management abilities is significant for employees as well. Let’s take a look at the major benefits of time management for employees.
1. Improved productivity
When workers know what their priorities are, they won’t waste any valuable time on other assignments. Instead, they will tackle the most important tasks as soon as they arrive at work. Thus, their productivity levels will be higher, too.
2. Career growth
Completing the assignments on time makes an employee trustworthy. In addition, if that person has been working for a company for a few years, that means that he/she already has a reputation as a reliable experienced worker. Thanks to these qualities, this employee has a great chance of being promoted or receiving a similar reward from the supervisors.
3. Better work-life balance
You’ll probably agree that there’s no better feeling than finishing your work for the day and then enjoying your free time. With proper time management techniques, achieving a work-life balance is quite possible.
We’ve learned the major benefits of time management at work. Now, if you’re a manager, let’s see how you can enhance the time management skills of your employees.
The importance of time management training for employees
Time management is valuable not only for employers, but employees, too. In this section, we’ll emphasize the importance of time management for employees. In order to increase productivity and strengthen the time management abilities of your employees, you should organize time management training.
The main advantages of organizing time management training for employees
These are the main advantages of arranging time management training for your employees. Bear in mind that this training can be quite beneficial for managers as well.
1. Finding out what’s causing the unproductive times at work
As a team lead or a manager, you should talk to each employee to learn what they are struggling with at work. It could be that they are overwhelmed, or they’re waiting for particular data in order to continue with some tasks.
In addition, there is a detailed way to find out why your employees don’t have enough time – using a time audit. Here’s how to do that:
- Your workers need to write down their beliefs about how they spend their time at work, for a one-week period.
- Then, motivate your employees to track their working hours during that week. This is vital because time tracking will show the accurate time your workers have spent on each task.
Let your employees know that the time audit won’t affect their position in the company.
Once you have the total working hours of your employees for that week, you’ll be able to compare how your colleagues think they spend their time at work with the real data of tracked working hours. This comparison will make you realize that the predictions we make are not always exact and realistic. Moreover, you’ll know the answers to these questions:
- What’s stopping your employees from finishing their priority tasks?
- What assignments took your employees more time to complete (or more time than expected)?
Besides, time audit is a great way to find out if we’re being distracted by someone or something.
Once you’ve identified the crucial issues that your employees have, you’ll know exactly what you and your workers need to focus your efforts on, to be better at managing workload.
2. Making better plans
When thinking about how much time we’ll need for a particular task, we sometimes tend to believe that we’ll need less time than necessary. In other words, we’re not so rational about this prediction.
In psychology, there is a term for such behavior – planning fallacy. The American Psychological Association defines it as “the tendency to underestimate the amount of time needed to complete a future task.”
To avoid planning fallacy, you should change your planning process. Your planning process involves making schedules for your colleagues, too, because you’re their supervisor. Therefore, you will help your coworkers make better use of their time.
Here are a few ways to modify your planning process:
- Break larger projects into smaller assignments. This way, your employees will be able to manage their time better.
- Ask your colleagues if they need additional help from other departments, to do more quality work.
- If your workers have too many meetings, try to reduce this number. Instead, let your employees focus on their priority tasks.
When the working schedule is suitable for all your employees, they will be capable of doing more in less time.
3. Keeping manager-employee communication open
Communication plays a key role in a manager-employee relationship. The vital part of the employee time management training is checking in with your employees. That way, you’ll be able to tell which segments of their performance should be enhanced. Additionally, ask your colleagues if they are swamped with work. Remember that you shouldn’t be checking in too often, once a week would do just fine.
4. Delegating work properly
Everyone is different. Some people are good with research and numbers, while others thrive when surrounded by people. The same goes for your employees. Try to get to know them and learn more about their personalities.
Therefore, when delegating work, be sure to have these facts in mind and assign the tasks accordingly. Thus, you can expect excellent results.
Time management training strategies
Now, there are several time management training strategies that companies can use:
1. Time management training group activities
Managers can organize time management training for their employees through various group activities, such as:
- Workshops or
- team events.
These activities will enhance communication between colleagues, which leads to more productive teamwork, too.
2. On-the-job training
This is the type of time management training that happens during work hours. A team lead or a manager is responsible for leading the training. The most essential topics that should be covered during the training are:
- Setting goals,
- learning how to prioritize, and
- organizing a workday according to employee daily responsibilities.
3. Online time management courses
This is a perfect option for employees who are already too busy during their working hours. When it comes to online courses, each employee can choose when he/she will deal with the time management courses throughout the week.
So, as a team lead or a manager, these were the strategies that you can try in order to strengthen the time management skills of your employees. In the next section, we’ll show you what each of us can do to be better at time planning.
💡We have created a Time Management Guide that can get you started.
How can you improve your time management at work?
Regardless of your position at the company, be sure that there are simple ways you can improve time management skills in the workplace.
Track your time
As we stated earlier, by monitoring your working hours, you’ll know what tasks require more time during the workday. So, let these tasks be your priority and once you’ve finished with these assignments, focus on the tasks that demand less time.
You can try using Clockify – an employee time tracking tool. Here are the benefits of this app:
- You can monitor your tasks and assign them to particular projects.
- You can mark your hours as billable or non-billable, for each project you have added. Then, you can use a Dashboard to review the total hours worked during a certain period and total billable hours.
- This app is available for web, desktop, and mobile. Plus, all the data is synced between these devices.
As you can see from this Dashboard, there are several projects added here, for different clients, such as Jack Patel, James Evans, etc. Out of the total time worked – around 50 hours, 75% were marked as billable hours.
To sum up, when you have a detailed review of your workday, you’ll be able to make more accurate future schedules according to each task difficulty.
Find your productive hours
We can’t expect to be productive all day long. In fact, our energy levels aren’t the same during the day. There is an internal clock that changes our energy levels throughout the day – our circadian rhythm.
So, how does the circadian rhythm work? Here’s how: after waking up, you will need a few hours until you reach your peak levels of energy. This usually happens in the afternoon. But, those levels start to decrease afterward and they’re at the lowest point around 3 pm. That is why you sometimes feel tired after lunch. The good thing is that your alertness will enhance again in the afternoon, which means that your second peak would be around 6 pm. Your energy levels will continue to decline during the evening, and they will hit the lowest point at around 3.30 am. However, your alertness will start increasing again in the morning, until it reaches the first peak around noon the next day.
Now, the pattern we described is quite common among the overall population. Still, we have two additional categories of people, due to their circadian rhythm:
- Larks – morning people. They have their peaks of energy levels earlier than an average person (than typical patterns).
- Owls – night people. On the other hand, the night owls tend to have their peaks much later than an average person.
Finding your own circadian rhythm is vital for your performance, productivity at work, and overall time management. So, when making plans for your workdays, remember to consider circadian rhythms as well. For example, if you think that your rhythm fits an average pattern, you should do the most important tasks during your peak hours – around noon or around 6 pm. Moreover, leave less important tasks for your lower alertness periods of the day – early in the morning or around 3 pm.
Use time management apps
To make the most of your time at work, consider using some of the best time management apps. No matter what your needs are, there are many employee time management software solutions you can try.
These are some of our suggestions:
- Remember the Milk – task manager tool. This app helps you make to-do lists and define a due date for each task. You can add both personal and business assignments.
- Forest – focus app. With this tool, you’ll learn how to avoid procrastinating and aim your attention on work.
- Join.me – meeting scheduler. This app makes scheduling meetings and conference calls quite easy.
- TimeTree – shared calendar tool. With this app, you’ll be able to plan both your private events and business meetings, by sharing your calendar with family and coworkers.
- SaneBox – an email management app. By using this tool, you can organize your inbox and separate important messages from others.
Don’t skip your breaks
Even on busy days, try to take several quick breaks throughout the day. If you skip your breaks, you’ll feel more tired and thus, unable to complete your tasks. But, taking regular breaks will make you more productive and ready to handle the workload.
Another handy time management tip that reminds you to take breaks is the Pomodoro technique. This is how the Pomodoro method works:
- Split your workload into 25-minute work sessions. Each of these sessions is called Pomodoro.
- After 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break.
- Once you’ve finished four cycles, you can take a longer break of 20 minutes.
By following this simple rule, you’ll be more focused on work during your working sessions, and you’ll be able to unwind during your breaks.
Learning how to manage your time at work is essential for your overall performance and productivity. Furthermore, as a team lead, consider organizing the employee time management training for your workers. In this blog post, we explained several ways to do that. By arranging this training, your colleagues will be able to manage their time effectively. Finally, in this article, we’ve covered a few practical yet simple tips that each of us can use to enhance time management skills.