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3 Ways to Help Employees Manage Their Time Better

August 1st, 2016 Comments off
businesswoman is very multitasking

In a small business, every minute counts. A limited-size staff often must perform the same duties as a larger team, so finding ways to save time can contribute greatly to company success. Some of your employees likely have become quite proficient at time management techniques during their careers. Others, however, might require assistance. Fortunately, time management is a competency one can develop just like any other business skill. Here are some tips to help your employees better manage their time:

Set priorities together

Workers who tend to a variety of tasks – meaning probably everyone at your small business — must be able to rank the importance of each. Encourage employees to develop a daily to-do list, starting with the most critical items at the top and ending with less pressing matters. Since determining the order can be difficult when so much needs to be done, review the list together to confirm agreement.

Insist on a planner

Virtually every great manager of time constructs a schedule. Let employees choose a modern app or a good old-fashioned appointment book, whichever works for them. Then, teach them how to assign a time frame to every individual task and enter it in their calendar. Break big projects into manageable pieces. Be sure to include breaks, lunch, meetings, and other regular commitments. Even schedule a time to schedule!

As for those pesky interruptions that throw off the best laid-plans of mice and men, attempt to schedule those too with this novel approach: office hours. A preplanned block of time in which a worker expects people to drop by can cut down greatly on disturbances during other parts of the day. Fellow employees also benefit because they can adjust their own schedules accordingly instead of trying to “catch” someone.

Sharpen estimation skills

Figuring out how long to allow for each task can be the hardest part of time management. In many small businesses, employees eager to help the company grow can greatly overestimate how much they can accomplish in a day. Similarly, they often budget time based on ideal conditions (no traffic, all supplies already on hand, etc.) or fail to take into account mundane (but time-consuming) tasks such as set up and clean up.

To get a clear picture of how long tasks really take, encourage employees to track their time for at least a week and then review the data with you. Stress the need for accurate measurements, not fudging to look impressive. A log of each activity and the length of time spent provides valuable insight that can be used in future planning. Someone may think he or she is only spending a half hour whipping up a PowerPoint when the clock actually registers closer to an hour. Likewise, no sense kidding oneself that the 10-minute daily check-in with a client doesn’t always run 20 minutes.

Perfect budgeting doesn’t happen often. But armed with this realistic information, odds increase that employees will be able to create a more efficient schedule – and that’s definitely time well spent!


Want more advice and resources for building your small business? Learn about the essential elements of a standout recruitment strategy. You can also sign up to get the Small Business Recruitment-in-a-Box toolkit, compliments of CareerBuilder.

4 Ways to Be Less Busy at Work

September 29th, 2015 Comments off
How to be less busy at work and find better time management

Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future…”

                                                                       — from the epic “Fly Like an Eagle”

Iconic rock legend Steve Miller, in this lyric, captured how talent advisors feel every single day. When you work with people, it never seems like you have time to yourself.

There is truth in that. When you work in HR, you are meant to be present for others. I can understand how incredibly frustrating that can be. The fallout of this is toxic for organizations, however. If we become frustrated with employees because they carve into our time, we project our frustration on them. It is not a healthy way to practice as a talent advisor.

I’ve never been a fan of formal “time management” programs because they often backfire and result in endless to-do lists that continue to bleed over from day to day. I’m also not a fan of set models where someone promises that if you follow “x” amount of steps, your life will turn around. Our jobs as talent advisors aren’t like an infomercial. We are dealing with real-world people situations that take time. This isn’t something that should be viewed negatively. Remember, without people your HR jobs don’t exist.

I do, however, believe in advice. The thing about advice is that you can take it and decide what you’d like to do with it.

Here are four things I have used to give me more time than I need each day.

“I’m not busy.”

Whenever you meet talent advisors and ask them how they are, the response is, “I’m busy.” That’s a cop out. I’m sure your days are full, but when your attitude is that you’re busy, you imply that you can’t be bothered with items because you have so much going on. If your day is full of busywork, then strip it out and get rid of the tasks that waste your time. You need to sit back and look at what your day entails and see how much doesn’t need to be done. If things aren’t adding value to your role or your organization, get rid of them. Trust me, no one will notice.

Everybody’s time is important.

This is something that everyone forgets. We often think only our time is important, and that is one of the main reasons we get internally upset when people impose on it. If you remember that everyone’s time is valuable, you won’t get frustrated. Help others understand that your time is important so that the time you spend with others is valuable and not frivolous.

Be a college professor.

I fondly remember professors who had office hours and told us when they would be available. It wasn’t a schedule for more appointments or meetings; it was a time set aside for students. If someone popped in, great. It was fine if no one stopped by, too. The reason “office hours” works so well is that people know when you’re available. Doing this takes discipline, and it isn’t rude. People like structure. The key is that if you do this, be consistent. Train your “students” to know when to stop by.

Do what you love.

You already do this, but you don’t see it because you’re focusing on the minutia of your job. Trust me. You take the time to go out to eat, watch TV, and spend time with friends. You always have time for that. Look at your work as a talent advisor and use the same approach. Looking at the positive side of what you do will allow you to allocate your time throughout the day. When you do this, interruptions won’t throw you. You’ll embrace them because you’ll have more time than you have ever had before.

I hope my advice resonates with you. I firmly believe that “having more time” is about making better choices. Try my four pieces of advice and see what works for you!

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Controlling Your Success No Matter What the Circumstance

November 30th, 2013 1 comment

I’ve had a hell of a year-professionally and personally but if there is one thing I’m learning it’s to keep my eye on the prize.  Life will always throw us a fast ball when we least expect it but if we manage our time and emotions properly there isn’t anything we can’t overcome.  As I reassess and get back on track…I realize that we can all benefit from the “Back to the Basics” facts in a sales driven organization.

1.       Prioritize and focus on the things that give you the biggest bang for your buck. As a producing manager that’s setting my team up for success by making sure they are working closest to the money-and doing the same for myself.  For a sales person it may be calling your warm leads you’ve been sitting on.  All things being equal-do the thing you hate the most first-it’s likely to be the one thing that makes you money.  Make those cold calls etc.,

2.       Stop trying to plan for the day. I don’t know about you but when I plan for my day-everything goes the exact opposite of what I planned.  As recruiters/sales people in a client services business, we have little control in human capital management-everything goes and things change in a heartbeat.  I’ve learned that a general “action item list” is much better than a plan that I can’t control. It feels good to cross things off the list-no matter what time of the day those things are accomplished.

3.       Learn to say NO. Don’t take on more than you can handle. Control your day and your work load. Learn the difference between what is urgent and what is important. Schedule your day with more proactive money making activities and less reactive busy work. Busy doesn’t always mean you’re making money.

We are fortunate to be in an industry where we literally control our ability to make money.

4.       Check your personal baggage at the door-There will always be personal situations to deal with. Allowing life’s rollercoaster to tap into our ability to make money can only lead to more personal problems. Be diligent and protect your financial goals because no one else will do it for you.

5.       Finally-Have a vision! We become what we focus the most on. So focus on positivity, create your roadmap to success and see it unfold-one productive day at a time.

 

Brenda Williamson

Director-Technology Staffing

Parallel HR Solutions, Inc.

 

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