The main objective of time management training is to find ways to create more value for yourself and your team, be it in your professional or personal lives. As it’s been said many times, time management is about working smarter rather than harder.
By managing your time well, you and your employees won’t put yourselves under unnecessary pressure. Instead, you’ll improve work efficiency, meet deadlines, deliver quality work, and be more productive.
What Is Time Management Training and Why Is it Important?
Time management training is an initiative to train employees and help them design strategies that significantly improve productivity and time management skills.
Effective time management is critical for leaders just as much as it is for team members. It’s focused on exercising mindful control of one’s time spent on various tasks. Once time management skills are learned and applied, it leads to an increase in output, competence, and overall effectiveness in one’s roles.
Training time management can help your business leaders and team focus on critical tasks instead of time wasters. They will understand the importance of single-tasking and task prioritization, and ensure that the outcome is of the highest benefit in the least amount of available time.
In addition, by instilling time management skills in your team, you will help them eliminate time-wasting habits and constant time thieves hindering them from doing their best work.
Time Management Training for Employees: 9 Successful Practices
Training time management to supervisors and team members helps them exercise more discipline in how they manage their time and boost productivity in an ever-changing workplace.
Below are the 9 best practices for successful time management training for employees:
1. Help employees learn key planning and prioritization
Time is the scarcest resource for any organization. The key to managing it effectively is to plan how to use that time appropriately by prioritizing tasks. One of the best ways a leader can nail time management training is by helping employees learn how to prioritize and schedule.
Ask each team member to create a daily or weekly task list. They can then accomplish things by prioritizing the tasks based on importance or deadlines, whatever is most critical. Encourage them to make it a rule to work on the hardest tasks first, making sure the most important is completed before procrastination kicks in.
It’s what Brian Tracy calls the “Eat the Frog” approach to task completion, which works great for employees struggling with procrastination.
Alternatively, you can suggest Brain Tracy’s ABCDE method, a simple and effective priority-setting technique.
Here’s how it works:
Employees list everything they have to do the coming day. The items are categorized as follows:
A – the most important items – something you must do. These are items that have serious consequences if you fail to do them.
B – items you should do – they have minor consequences.
C – items that would be nice to do – they have no consequences whether you do them or not.
D – an activity you can delegate.
E – an activity you should eliminate from your task list.
Once employees internalize the concept of task prioritization and planning their work days, they will spend time on valuable activities. Encourage them to make it a goal to never stray from the list or do something that isn’t on the list.
If a new task or project comes in, they should write it down and set a priority before they start working on it.
2. Teach employees goal setting
That way, they can work more intentionally instead of with no direction or purpose. For example, if a new project comes in, they should create a goal before anything else. What’s the deliverable? Will the work be completed within the specified deadline, or will they need more time?
Once they fit the project into their schedule, they can set a main goal (like completing it in one week) to guide them.
They can then create mini goals, such as dividing the main project into smaller manageable tasks and assigning them to team members, based on their strengths and expertise. Each team member can then be assigned a due date.
Goal setting plays a crucial role in helping leaders and team members attain their targets. It’s equally important when it comes to managing and organizing time. You can teach your employees how to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals and how to manage their tasks.
3. Teach employees how to manage distractions
In today’s digital world, technology can be both a blessing and a curse. The lure of the internet has become the number one source of distraction. The never-ending stream of emails and other notifications on one’s devices can be overwhelming and usually leads to losing focus on important tasks.
Subsequently, employees end up wasting time on non-important things during working hours, leading to a drop in productivity.
But it isn’t just technology. According to an infographic by Atlassian, the average employee encounters 56 interruptions in a day! These can be from co-workers, noisy environments, and so on. The workers spend two hours recovering from distractions per day. You can imagine the time lost monthly and annually.
So, how can you help your employees minimize distractions?
By offering them time management training. Findings by a 2018 Udemy Workplace Distractions Report indicate that 70 percent of employees cite training can help them “get better at blocking out distractions and achieving focus.”
Advise team leaders and members to schedule a time for checking their emails, social media, and other trivial things. That way, they won’t have to waste their focus time on these distractions.
4. Encourage employees to create to-do lists, and stick to them
Despite what’s been said about to-do lists, they can be effective tools in helping one stay organized. Encouraging your workers to create to-do lists has several benefits:
- They ensure no task is left out
- To-do lists provide a clear timeline of pending tasks
- Checking off an item from a to-do list gives a person a certain level of satisfaction that can motivate one to keep working
- To-do lists prepare workers mentally by showing what’s next, hence boosting productivity
Ask them to prepare their to-do lists the evening before or in the morning to set the path for the day.
5. Share the importance of time tracking for successful time management
Time tracking enables an employee to know how much time they spend on specific tasks. They can use the data from the time tracking software to gauge their performance, identify their shortcomings, and work on improving themselves.
Time trackers like Traqq support automatic hours recording, even when offline, to help you and your employees learn your time-spending habits and implement helpful strategies. For businesses, Traqq simplifies the management of human resources, enabling leaders to keep an eye on the team’s or individual’s performance and productivity levels.
For team members, Traqq ensures accurate hours logging and monitoring performance levels throughout the day. As a result, the employee can identify their peak productivity times and work on improving their time management skills.
In addition, Traqq records the sites and apps an employee spends time on, so they can identify time wasters and eliminate them. What’s more, the data can help them identify tasks that take longer to complete and adjust their schedule accordingly.
6. Teach employees organizational and communication skills
Time management training teaches employees how to stay organized. That is, they will know what needs to get done and when it needs to be done. Organization skills enable employees to organize their time as well as their workspace. As a result, they will waste less time looking for a document on a disorganized desktop or an item on an untidy desk.
In the same spirit, communication skills are pertinent to effective time management. Regular communication and feedback between leaders and team members ensure a streamlined workflow. It also promotes the timely completion of tasks.
On top of that, communication skills improve how and when employees give updates on their progress, allowing supervisors and team leaders to adjust deadlines. In addition, leaders will know which team members need extra attention with time management.
7. Teach employees effective and timely delegation
Another successful practice for time management training for employees is teaching them task delegation. Advise them to delegate tasks that don’t require them to complete and would otherwise waste valuable time.
Task delegation is particularly important to employees in leadership who manage multiple projects. However, delegation isn’t just passing off work to other team members. It must be timely and considerate of the other person’s workload.
Likewise, encourage leaders to offer support to people being assigned tasks if questions arise. The goal of the training should be to teach smart delegation where employees use easy and effective ways to delegate non-important tasks and redirect their efforts to the most critical tasks.
8. Encourage short breaks throughout the workday
According to a survey by Tork, “North American workers who take lunch breaks every day score higher on a wide range of engagement metrics, including job satisfaction.” They are also more likely to continue working for the same company.
Effective time management involves taking breaks. Therefore, encourage employees to incorporate regular breaks throughout their workdays in between tasks.
As Psychology Today reveals, taking breaks can lead to greater productivity at work.
- Breaks prevent decision fatigue, a condition that can lead to procrastination and simplistic decision-making.
- Taking brief “movement breaks”, such as yoga or a short walk, can improve one’s mental and emotional well-being.
- Breaks can restore and strengthen motivation.
More importantly, share with them some of the most effective ways to take a break, such as:
- Being active during the break, like taking a short walk
- Engaging in an activity that uses a different part of the brain than was being used for work
- Going for a coffee
- Eating healthy snacks, such as apples, yogurt, peanut butter, or almonds.
- Taking a power nap
9. Encourage task automation
When thinking about training time management for your team, think about how they can increase efficiency with automation. Using time tracking, project management, and invoicing apps can help them save time significantly, and use that time to do more work.
Help your teams identify tasks that can be automated and discuss the best tools to use. If you already have tools that you use in your organization, consider introducing them to team members and giving them access.
Benefits of Teaching Time Management to Employees
Training for time management can be highly beneficial to your company as well as the employees. Some of these benefits include:
- Enabling employees to concentrate on results, rather than on being busy
- Helping employees maintain high reliability
- Improved workflow
- Less stress and better work-life balance
- Minimizing procrastination by giving employees more control over their workload and how they accomplish tasks
- Improved teamwork
- Increased individual commitment and accountability
Does Time Management Training Really Work?
Time management training for employees can be an effective way to boost work efficiency and productivity. It helps employees know how to prioritize tasks, manage distractions, set SMART goals, and develop better organizational and communication skills.
However, training time management isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Employees have unique challenges, especially those working from home. This new work setup won’t work with traditional time management training.
As a leader, you need to devise better time management training strategies tailored to the current work environment, as well as individual needs.
Fortunately, technology has gifted us with tools that boost productivity and promote time management.
For instance, project management tools promote better workflow management and streamline team collaboration. They make it easier for team leaders to track project progress, brainstorm in real time, and assign tasks more efficiently.
Time management tools, on the other hand, help employees regain control of their time, track how much time they spend on projects, and better estimate project completion times.
Leaders should also ensure employees have clear work guidelines and expectations. These objectives will help them gain a sense of direction and stay focused on their specific roles and therefore avoid time wastage.
Time management is one of the most essential skills an employee can have in today’s workplace.
Effective time management skills not only teach your employees to handle priorities but also facilitate the smooth running of your organization. Keep in mind that time management training for employees only works if you invest in the right training programs for your organization.
How to Implement Time Management Training
With most workers working remotely, online training is the most effective way to implement training for time management. Keep in mind that it won’t be easy, and will take time, effort, and money to succeed.
Think of time management training like diets. It only works if the timing is right and the person being taught fully commits to the strategies for the long term. The workers will need to create time for time management courses, which might mean interfering with their weekends or free time after work.
Therefore, you must sell the idea to your employees first and get team buy-in. An excellent approach would be to encourage team members to take the classes when they are feeling less productive instead of spending that time on social media.
Time management training for employees can benefit both leaders and employees. When done correctly, it can boost productivity, help employees take control of their workday, and inspire them to prioritize their workload.