We’re not all born time keepers, and even if you are, a busy work and even personal life can really complicate time keeping. Finding a few tools to introduce to your team and your workforce planning methods could really help you and your team to keep on top of responsibilities and stress levels, and keep you on time for the things which matter.
The key here is when to plan. If you arrive at your desk and begin planning your day, that’s 20 valuable minutes gone. If you take that time to plan at the end of your working day or the evening before, then you will arrive at your desk the next day with a plan in place ready to jump into task number 1.
This will become part of daily planning routines, plans are likely to change throughout the day as new assignments arrive on the desk and new emails ping through; this is the time to practice prioritisation. Does that email need an answer now, or even today? No? Mark it as unread and deal with it tomorrow. Small steps to prioritise tasks, like this, are going to free up time and eliminate distractions slowing you down.
Know when to delegate
You may like to get a handle on everything which is asked of you, however if you have a full schedule and another assignment pops up, pause and consider if there is anyone else in the team who might be able to take this task on in their workload; this attitude is also a key part of your workforce planning methods. You can still check in on its progress, but it’s not always possible for you to take on all of the tasks all of the time.
Know when to say ‘no!’
Equally, sometimes you or your team just can not take on another responsibility or another deadline. Know this limit. It’s easier said than done, but knowing when to say no in the workplace is a skill many of us lack. If you can’t realistically get it done by the end of the day then don’t agree to do so – say ‘no’. Saying no in the workplace doesn’t need to mean falling out with your manager, it just means knowing your limits and politely saying, ‘no, that’s not possible today’ or ‘I’m sorry, no I won’t be able to’. (see our blog on saying no at work)
Be realistic with time
If you’re a notoriously bad time keeper, the issue may be your concept of time and the amount that you believe you can do in said time. So, time yourself; time how long it has taken you to write the weekly report or update the database, if you know that actually task x takes you 2 hours then your workforce planning methods are going to be much more effective, you can allocate your time more accurately and that plan that you have created the night before is going to be more effective and easier to keep to!