Between noisy coworkers, the after-lunch fatigue, and constant phone notifications, it’s easy to get distracted and miss out on completing important tasks. But there always seems to be at least one person in the office who manages to maintain their full calendar and get everything done.
Time management is all about how you allocate your time and prioritize your responsibilities, though it may require some creativity and determination on your part. Check out the seven tips below to learn how to improve your time management skills and enhance the effectiveness of your team.
We’ve all heard of SMART goals, but how many of us actually set our goals using this method?
When we set goals that are too broad or don’t have a deadline, it’s easy to get lost in day-to-day tasks and miss out on big picture ideas and long-term projects. By using the SMART method, you can set goals that directly contribute to your organization’s mission and ensure that you and your team are dedicating your time to tasks that really matter. The best part? You can set SMART goals for yourself or for your entire team!
Specific - set goals that are specific to what you want to accomplish. If you want to increase sales, for instance, give yourself a specific growth percentage, like an increase of 20%.
Measurable - make sure that your goal can be measured. If you can’t measure it, how do you know what you’re achieving?
Attainable - sure, we all want to increase our annual revenue by a million dollars, but is this realistic? Setting attainable goals is a great way to ensure that you and your team won’t experience burnout or frustration.
Relevant - will this goal really help your organization and directly contribute to what your team needs to achieve? Be mindful of the big picture as you decide on your goals.
Time-sensitive - giving you and your team a deadline to achieve something is a great way to keep things moving. Without a deadline, it’s easy to fall off course and push tasks off.
There’s a reason people turn to to-do lists time and time again - they work! Creating a to-do list can help you not only identify those tasks that need to get done, but they can even help you prioritize your responsibilities, decide on what can be delegated to someone else, and recognize any unnecessary to-do’s. There are tons of ways to organize your list, too. Some are turning to bullet journals, apps, running lists, and more, so spend some time finding a to-do list that works for you.
In today’s world, many people avoid writing things down and prefer to use technology, so if this sounds like you, use it to your advantage. There are tons of apps and calendars available to help you manage your time, create lists, and be more productive. The entire Google platform, for instance, integrates Google Keep, Tasks, and Calendar with your Gmail account, making it easy for you to keep track of your meetings, create daily to-do lists, assign deadlines, and more. Wunderlist is another great option, especially for teams that share common to-do lists and need a flexible application. You can even use your phone to set reminders, store notes, host conference calls on-the-go, and more. So get creative, and do some research to find out which apps work best for your organization.
Meetings are usually a source for complaints from employees, but you can easily combat this by hosting working meetings. Giving your team the opportunity to complete work during a meeting is a great way to see how they’re doing, offer a collaborative environment, and help everyone stay on track. This can also foster teamwork and a happy workplace, since your team will have the chance to connect with one another while using their time as efficiently as possible. Can’t offer a working meeting? No problem! Consider creating an agenda for your meetings, and be sure to stick to them. This will help you stick to your timeline and make meetings more productive.
Get ready for the day by checking out your calendar and to-do lists the night before. This will help you identify any tasks you may not have gotten to yet and ensure that there are no surprises when you get to work the next day. Mental preparation is a key component to success, so give yourself some time to develop a plan of action and get ready to conquer your work day.
We all have those great, big picture ideas that never seem to come to fruition. Getting wrapped up in the day-to-day can easily pull you away from all those projects you would like to complete but never seem to have the time to do. One way to avoid this common pitfall is to dedicate time each week to focus on those big picture ideas. The important part of doing this, though, is to treat your big picture time like a meeting - don’t reschedule or get lost in your daily responsibilities. Create a one-hour standing appointment each week, or better yet, schedule a big picture working meeting for your entire team to hold each other accountable.
Creating a happy and engaging workplace is a great way to ensure that your team doesn’t experience burnout or lose interest in their work. Offering in-office games (personally, we’re fans of giant Jenga), team lunches, and collaborative work spaces are all great ways to help your team feel connected to both the organization and to each other. When your team enjoys the work they do, they’re more likely to work harder and contribute ideas.
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