Help with time management
What is time management?
Causes of poor time management
Lack of priorities
A lack of priorities can lead to employees getting lost in unimportant tasks and wasting valuable time. If the goal is unclear, work will be undirected and inefficient due to a lack of focus. In addition, poor documentation can lead to important documents being lost and valuable time wasted searching for information. Planning too tightly or too optimistically can leave people feeling overwhelmed and stressed, which affects the efficiency of their work. Constant procrastination exacerbates this problem, as important tasks are left undone and eventually a large backlog of work builds up.
Inadequate preparation for meetings regularly leads to time-consuming discussions without a clear focus. In addition, taking on too many tasks limits the ability to allocate resources efficiently, which can lead to bottlenecks and inefficient work. Managers' tendency to leave tasks until the last minute or to communicate unclear project objectives creates uncertainty and reduces the efficiency of implementation. The lack of clear objectives and inefficient working practices at management level hampers the overall performance of the team and contributes to wasted time. The issues of documentation and over-optimistic scheduling mentioned above also apply here.
High levels of stress can lead to a feeling that tasks need to be completed quickly, which can lead to inefficient use of time. It can also affect the ability to set clear priorities, resulting in time being wasted on unimportant tasks. Difficult, quick and informed decisions are less likely to be made, which can lead to delays.
This can lead to people working without adequate breaks, which can have a negative impact on productivity in the long term.
Once the priorities have been set, it may be useful to introduce a daily or weekly progress report. This will allow you to keep track of the employee's activities and quickly identify any bottlenecks. At the same time, the employee can present their achievements and it will quickly become clear where the problem areas are. For example, the employee may be caught up in time-consuming research, interrupted by too many phone calls or emails, or still have unclear priorities and undefined work steps. In such cases, it may make sense to delegate some tasks to colleagues, especially if they are activities that the person is not good at or that take up too much time.
You should work together to set achievable milestones and structure the tasks in such a way that all the steps build on each other in a clear and logical way. If necessary, you can also set up hourly work schedules with breaks and times for emails or phone calls to ensure there is enough time to concentrate. Interruptions can mean that the employee needs time to get back into the flow of work. It is therefore important to minimise interruptions and time wasting. Regular breaks are also important in order to be able to concentrate again after a short time.
Time management methods
This analysis originally comes from business administration, but is used in project management to determine the importance of individual factors for the project. The aim is to find out which tasks require the most attention in order to work in a goal-oriented manner. For this purpose, the tasks are divided into three classes and treated accordingly.
A: Very important
B: Rather important
C: Less important
This matrix, named after former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, arranges the individual tasks on a to-do list according to urgency and importance. It is particularly helpful in that it makes time-wasters visible, which is especially helpful for people who like to get bogged down in them.
This assumes that 80 % of tasks can be completed in 20 % of the time and the remaining 20 % of tasks take 80 % of the time. So, depending on how much time is available at the moment, you can focus on the tasks that can be done quickly or those that take more time. Either way, 100 % must be achieved.