The Ledger No. 54: Time Management

June 15, 2022 Sarah Dameron

Remote worker applying the principles of time management skills he learned in course

Welcome to The Ledger where we sum up the latest finance and accounting news and trends for you. On this week’s entry, we’re diving into the topic of the principles of time management and how these are valuable skills to get down pat. Read on to discover how to help an employee who struggles with time management in their day-to-day, a few time management hacks that can help you grow your business, how to improve your time management as a remote leader and time management strategies to become more efficient at work.

The Weekly Ledger principles of time management skills

Addressing the Elephant in the Room: Time Management Skills

It’s no secret that employees don’t like to be micromanaged. It can be a deterrent for those wishing to join the team or the catalyst that speeds up resignations. But what happens when your employee starts to show signs of a lack of time management? They wait until the last minute to complete projects. They’re constantly late for meetings. Emails are left unread for days at a time. These are all tell-tale signs that need to be squashed before it starts affecting the business. And as a manager, it can be challenging to know how to address the issue. You don’t want to come across as harsh, but you know that letting this behavior continue to fester is the fastest way to cause division within the team. So what do you do? If you’re a leader unsure of how to help, here are a few steps you can take to improve the situation.

  • Acknowledge your own emotions. It’s okay to feel irritated or raw from the situation. Write your feelings down. This process helps you to get your pent-up emotions out before you give feedback.

  • Assess your part. Are you contributing to the problem? Do an inventory of yourself. Are you sending over assignments last minute? Do you give clear directions? Do you give actionable feedback? By identifying these issues in advance, you can admit that you played a part in your employee’s lack of time management.

  • Pinpoint the stress. What’s exactly causing issues for you with your direct report’s lack of time management? Are you missing important items needed for a meeting? Are their actions costing you time and money?

  • Communicate what you need. People respond well to feedback when you address it in a calm and collected manner. Let them know exactly what you need, when you need it and why you need. Don’t revert to a harsh approach as that will cause them to shut down and go on the defense.

  • Help at the start. Sometime giving feedback is not enough. To get your employee started, try these actions:

    • Work with them to prioritize the work

    • Brainstorm the direction to take

    • Talk through smaller parts

    • Set up intermediate milestones

    • Do some of the work with them in a meeting

    • Team them up with colleagues

    • Request daily updates on what they planned to do and what they’ve accomplished

  • Appreciate progress. Laying into an employee that shows a lack of time management is counterproductive. Instead, build them up each step of the way by giving them positive feedback.

  • Get outside support. Sometimes, you can’t provide the objective feedback. Other times, your employee doesn’t want to be honest about what’s going on. That’s when it’s time to connect your employee to outside resources such as training or coaching.

Time management is a tricky skill to implement across the board. And as a manger, your communication and actions can make a huge difference in how your employees increase their productivity. For more on how to address a lack of time management principles & skills, read the full article on hbr.org.

Grow Your Business with These 3 Time Management Hacks

Time is a commodity and something that seems to escape us at the hours pass on. It’s also a desirable skill in the workplace and something that business leaders emphasis when hiring a new employee. But what happens when we work countless hours only do find ourselves completely unproductive and nothing to show at the end of the day? Let’s take a look at a few hacks that can help you improve on the principles of time management skills and ultimately, boost your company’s bottom line.

  • Align your subconscious. Can you have more free time and scale your business? It seems like a far-fetched idea. In fact, most people believe that more growth means more work. Steve Jobs said it best: “Simple scales, complexity fails.” But the easiest way is to align your subconscious with this though process is by being in the present and not in the past or future.

  • Identify the tasks that yield the highest results. How do you perform your tasks daily? Are you bogged down with answering an influx of emails, taking phone calls or producing reports? Think about this: 80 percent of your return is coming from 20 percent of your work (Source: Pareto Principle).

  • Create leverage over yourself. Change is never easy and it’s something that many people try to avoid out right. It’s why you’ve probably fallen back into the same habits and why you haven’t taken action. It’s also why you need leverage to overcome them. Don’t wait until your burned out to take action. Speak to others who have burned out or by consulting with a licensed professional. Make the fear of burning out as real for yourself as possible (so that you can avoid it now before it’s too late).

The idea of having to work more to see growth in your business is a joke. Having free time and scaling your company can go hand in hand. You just have to make it possible: get in the right mindset, find the right leverage and then take action. For more on how to work less and grow more through time management, check out the full article on entrepreneur.com.

How to Improve Your Time Management as a Remote Leader

Before the pandemic hit, time management was easily attainable (and a simple fix for leaders). And now that remote work has become the new normal, leaders are having to find new ways to keep their team productive. But what makes virtual leadership so demanding? Having a virtual team can be challenging. You can’t just drop by someone’s desk to check-in on them. In fact, you have to make a conscious effort to connect with your employees. At the same time, many of your colleagues might not know what you’re working on because you’re no longer visible. This causes many to overcompensate by answering emails or Slack pings after work hours or by overloading their work plate. But you’re not alone. According to the 2021 State of Remote Work by Owl Labs, 55 percent of participants said they worked more hours from home than they did in the office. In the midst of all the hustle, have you stopped to consider the example you’re setting for your employees? What you need are new ways to manage your time that harmonizes more seamlessly with your hybrid or remote working arrangement. Here’s a few strategies to try.

  • Prioritize and time-block. The first step is to decide what is the most valuable way to spend your time. Take Barbie Adler, founder and president of Selective Search, for example. She organizes her time in two-week intervals, starting with what’s most important and scheduling everything else around it.

  • Make use of available technologies. With numerous options available, there’s no excuse for not investing in a project management tool. Technology can not only help you plan your week, but it can also show you how to become a better steward of your time.

  • Get comfortable with ‘no'. It’s okay to turn down opportunities and assignments. Sarah Hawley, CEO at Growmotely, said it best: “Eliminating the excess is the first step to getting a handle on time management and is actually harder than we think, as it requires us to have, hold and communicate our boundaries.”

To explore how you can live, work and manage your team to the fullest (even when you’re working virtual), head over the forbes.com to read the full article.

Become More Efficient at Work with These Time Management Strategies - Principles & Skills

Distractions happen to everyone. And if you’re working remotely, you understand the distractions on a whole other level. There’s no one-size fits all when it comes to improving work efficiency. Productivity varies throughout each day, week and month. However, having a time management strategy can you help you better manage your day-to-day. Here are a few strategies to implement.

  • GTD method. Otherwise known as the Getting Things Done. Here are the necessary steps to this method:

    • Record everything that grabs your attention throughout the day

    • Clarify whether the attention-grabber requires action or not

    • Organize all attention-grabbers into categories, such as actionable, trash or hold

    • Review these categories, attention-grabbers and distractions regularly

    • Engage this system to make better decisions with your time

  • Set monthly and weekly priorities. Complete the most important tasks long before they’re due. This allows you time to sprinkle in the leftover tasks as your schedule frees up.

  • Plan out your day. Figure out your daily schedule. Then, at the end of the day, write out all of the duties you have to complete the following day.

  • Break large tasks into smaller ones. If you have a larger task to work on, try breaking it down into smaller, more manageable tasks.

  • Time-block. Set aside time for related tasks such as emails, meetings, planning, etc. This can help you focus on tasks and ward off distractions.

  • Batch similar tasks together. Consider grouping similar duties together. This will help you avoid context switching.

  • Limit checking email and work messaging apps. You don’t have to respond to an email right away unless it’s urgent. Consider snoozing your email and message notifications.

  • Stay organized. Mental clutter is a real thing. Your brain can only focus on a few things at once. Spend some time writing out all the things you need to do that day and schedule time to complete it.

  • Avoid rapid task-switching and half-working. According to the American Psychological Association, switching between tasks slows us down by creating small mental blocks after each shift. Avoid this by committing to one task at a time, from start to finish.

  • Find productivity tools that work for you. Time management apps can help you manage your to-do lists and schedules more effectively.

To learn more how to become more efficient with time management strategies and learn more about the core principles and skills, check out the complete article on zdnet.com.

Learn how you too can keep up with all your projects by focusing only on what's important.

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