Why is time management important?
Our team recently had the pleasure of meeting with Lisa Harrington, a strategy coach to CEOs and businesses, to learn more about intentionally managing our time. What a treat! She gave us simple tips to help us be more productive and less stressed about our time. Work smarter not harder, right?
The way we manage our time during the work day is so important. There are huge benefits to having great time management skills:
- We’re more productive leaders and employees
- We’re more efficient, leaving us more flexibility to spend our time the way we want
- Thoughtful time management prevents burn-out and stress
- It can allow us to more quickly advance our careers
Most importantly, though, is that time management at work can contribute to our overall happiness and wellbeing outside of work. That’s why we think it’s so important to equip ourselves, our teams, and our employees to spend time productively.
Time management and employee burnout
We talk a lot about avoiding burnout because it’s so important for employee retention. This leads us to an important point: about 75% of employees report experiencing burnout in 2022. That’s a huge number.
Work and time-related factors like working overtime, feeling secluded, and not taking time off play a huge role in burnout. In order to better support and retail our employees, it’s important to encourage them to take time off for their mental health. Create a safe space where they can feel comfortable discussing their wellbeing, and empower them to take a break to rest and recharge.
Strategies for smarter time management
After our session with Lisa, our team shared our favorite time management strategies. It’s important to note that different tips work better for different people. Here were our favorite tips from the day.
Our favorite tips for better time management:
Do the hardest task of the day first. Schedule time at the beginning of your day for your hardest task. Most of us are more productive at the front of our work day. It’s also gratifying to check a big item off our to-do list early on.
Schedule a quiet time in your day. We have to be intentional with our time. Making sure we put quiet time, mental health time, rest, and exercise in our calendar can be a way to make sure we’re prioritizing mental and physical in health. It may seem like a break from work, but rest and exercise ultimately make us more productive workers, not less.
Turn off notifications to stay focused. Quieting the red bubbles on our phones and computers can do so much to keep us focused. Use “do not disturb” during the work day to keep your brain on the task at hand.
Avoid over-scheduling. We’re all familiar with “the meeting that could have been an email.” Be thoughtful in how much time and how often you schedule meetings. And, make sure to come prepared to meetings with a clear objective that leads to some action items.
Differentiate between urgent and important. A lot of workday stress comes from the idea that every task is urgent. How do we prioritize when everything comes with a pressing deadline? Consider the difference between urgent and important items. Urgent items often have an arbitrary deadline, while important items are the ones that truly move along the mission of the company. Prioritize accordingly.
Know that you are in control of your time. It may not always feel this way, but we are the ones who get to choose how we spend our time. Communicate needs and priorities. Set boundaries. Avoid distractions. You can set yourself up for success with some intentional planning.
Leaders can create a culture and set an example
Leaders can expect better productivity, culture, and retention if they equip their employees with better time management skills. But it’s not as easy sharing these tips and hoping employees are able to apply them. Instead, lead by example in the way you navigate your own work day. And, make sure to encourage a culture of mindful time management that shows teams you truly care about their mental wellbeing, their success, and their life outside of work.
Tips for leaders:
- Avoid over-scheduling meetings with your team. Think about what truly needs to be on the calendar and what can be handled independently.
- Be flexible. In our new, remote world, your employees want to be in control of their hours. That takes trust and flexibility from you to understand that they can manage their work and their lives outside of work.
- Communicate clear expectations. Give clear instruction on which projects should be prioritized and why. Not everything can be the top priority.
- Lead by example. Use your vacation time, set time aside for mental and physical health, and be transparent about how you spend your workday. That leads to a culture of trust. It allows your team to feel empowered to do the same.
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