Today’s workplaces are highly team-centric. What this means is, most employers (an estimated 75 percent) want to see their employees regularly engaging in collaboration and teamwork to achieve work group goals.
However, employers also want highly productive employees with excellent time management skills. Unfortunately, in the meeting place between teamwork and time management, even the most talented and disciplined employees often find they are struggling.
This boils down to what one Forbes entrepreneur calls “the power of 1440.” Specifically, there are just 1440 minutes in each day, and it is up to each worker how those minutes get used. In this article, learn how to be good at time management to lower workplace stress and improve results.
Sign 1: Refusing to delegate.
A refusal to delegate highlights two major issues: insufficient time to train and mentor others and a basic refusal to trust others with valuable work. Here, gaining a better understanding of why is time management important can provide motivation to overcome trust issues and begin delegating.
How to fix it: If you are struggling to delegate work, consider the difference between giving a hungry co-worker, a fish and teaching him to fish. If give your lunch away today, your co-worker will likely expect you to do the same tomorrow. But if you teach your co-worker to fish, you can move on to other more exciting menu items and your co-worker will now be able to pick up his own slack – a time management win-win!
Sign 2: Maintaining an “open door policy.”
An open door policy definitely reinforces a team-centric, collaborative corporate culture. But it can also burn up all 1440 minutes of each day with other people’s work.
How to fix it: A better strategy here is to either set “office hours” – perhaps open up your lunch hour for mentorship sessions or set one afternoon per week as a time for a work team roundtable where all can present questions and learn together. This safeguards the rest of your own precious work time to excel at your own tasks.
Sign 3: Impatience, irritation, defensiveness.
A workplace where each member of the work group has sufficient time to address individual job requirements and goals will be a fairly genial one. However, if workers feel stressed out, harassed, bullied, overworked or exposed to unsafe workplace conditions, impatience, irritation, defensiveness and worse traits are more likely to arise. In other words, work-related stress can be caused by poor time management.
How to fix it: If you are a manager, it is your duty to sleuth out what is causing poor attitude in a worker and work to get the situation resolved, if possible. If you are an employee, you must take such action as is available to you to resolve your stress at work by learning better time management or reporting conditions of overwork or unsafe conditions that stand in the way of practicing good time management.
Sign 4: Multitasking.
According to the latest neuroscience research, the brain is literally incapable of focusing on more than one thing at once. In other words, no one is good at multitasking even if they think they are.
In fact, attempts to multitask actually contribute to poor time management because they extend the time each task would have taken to complete on its own.
How to fix it: When you catch yourself multitasking, whether it is talking on the phone while looking up research online or filling out paperwork while attending a sales meeting, stop yourself. Figure out which one of those tasks can wait and table it.
Sign 5: Refusal to write down to-do items, deadlines or goals.
A recent university research study highlighted the importance of writing down goals. Study participants who wrote down their goals and sought out accountability from others were 33 percent more likely to achieve those goals than study participants who did not do either.
There may be many reasons why you don’t want to write down your goals. But one thing is clear: if you don’t write down your goals you will be much less likely to achieve them.
How to fix it: If you still feel a bit gun-shy about writing down your goals, then just start with one or two big goals you feel fairly certain will remain the same. Then track your progress to see whether writing down a goal makes an impact on your ability to achieve that goal.
These five tips may not solve poor time management issues completely, but they can go a long way towards clearing up some of the major obstacles to better time management and help you spend your precious workday minutes in ways that best serve your goals.
About The Author
Riya is a writer with years of experience in business administration. She enjoys meeting new people and reading more books to get inspired for her own book. She currently writes for Carter Capner Law, a progressive, innovative and strongly motivated law firm based in Queensland, Australia. Follow her on Twitter.