Micromanagement is a burden on everyone involved. It takes time away from a supervisor's day and only frustrates the person being managed. It goes without saying that the best-case scenario is for an employee to prove his or her ability to manage his or her own time, thus earning a degree of independence and negating the need for micromanagement altogether. In order to help you encourage your colleagues to take this initiative, we've gathered some tips for you to share with them.
Six tips for time management in a business environment
1. Set aside time to plan your day
When you sit at your desk, the first thing you should be doing is making a to-do list for the entire day. Consider your week's worth of deadlines, and delineate what will be accomplished in the next eight hours. In addition to helping you wrap your head around what needs to be done, this helps you understand how much time you have to complete a given task and gives you the feeling of accomplishment when you can cross something off the list.
2. Before you begin a task, ask yourself what you want as a result
In considering the desired result of a project or task, you can see where you may need to seek outside resources or help from your colleagues. You could also be proactive in seeking learning initiatives that can help you achieve those results more quickly. If you manage others, make sure that you're opening communication among team members in this endeavor. For example, if someone finds an innovative or more streamlined way of conducting a project, ensure that this person has a means of sharing it with you, allowing you to determine whether you want to share it across the whole department.
3. Protect your productivity
In today's age of mobile technology and instant access to information, office distractions are to some extent inevitable. Some experts suggest working around this by putting aside a time of day dedicated to responding to messages or checking social media. "Don't instantly give people your attention unless it's absolutely crucial in your business to offer an immediate human response," says an article in Entrepreneur. "Instead, schedule a time to answer email and return phone calls."
4. Conduct a time audit
A Forbes article suggests the following: "Do a time audit for one week and look at exactly where your time is going. Notice where you spend your time on a regular week day." Once you have completed this initial first step, take a look and consider whether there's anything that you feel is taking up too much time—you may be surprised. For these tasks, seek learning opportunities to help you whittle down the time they're taking. For example, if you're using a particular software program, see if there are any additional tools you may not even know were available to streamline your work.
5. Make sure deadlines are clear
This is perhaps the key to time management, and is imperative for both project leaders and their team members. You can avoid a significant amount of last-minute crunch time and late nights if you have some foresight into deadlines. Take learning initiatives, for example. If you know you have to complete training on a certain task by the end of the week, it's much more manageable to put aside 15 minutes per day for four days than to find a full hour on a Friday. Besides being easier to fit into your schedule, this effort will aid in your retaining the information and developing good habits by focusing on one subtopic at a time.
6. Group related tasks
If your to-do list is populated with tasks that fall within similar categories—be they for the same client or conducted using the same software application, for example—group them together so you can get them done at once. The Creativity Post writes: "Different tasks demand different types of thinking, so it makes sense to allow your mind to continue to flow with its current zone rather than switching unnecessarily to something that’s going to require you to re-orient."
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