Time management is extremely important, but often a lacking skill in our fast paced business environment. According to the Wall Street Journal, office workers waste an average of 40% of their workday due to a lack of time management skills. It’s important for HR professionals to incorporate the effective time management techniques below, into their wellness programs in order to improve employee wellbeing and increase productivity.
The three P’s
Plan your day
We often have little control in what’ll happen in our workday. A good rule of thumb, however, is to plan what we do know. Make a list of the items you need to get accomplished for the day, and always leave room for the unexpected. This will give you a good structure to your day and keep you focus. Below are a few key points to address in your planning:
.Find your rhythm – All of us have a time of day when we feel most refreshed and productive. Plan your most important tasks that time of day. It will allow you to get more accomplished in less time, and relieve some of your job stress.
•Take breaks – Both your body and mind needs breaks throughout the day. Incorporate several small breaks in your schedule to avoid eyestrain, stretch your muscles, and refocus.
•Refuel – Avoid skipping lunch or a snack because you have too much to do. Not refueling can affect your thinking and cause you to lose focus on the task at hand.
Prioritise all of your tasks, no matter how small. This will help you achieve better time management and organisation. When prioritising, be aware of the major time wasters:
•Emails and voicemail – If you’re the average office worker, your day is filled with emails and voicemails. Avoid getting stuck checking emails and voicemail all day by setting a specific time of the day (i.e. in the morning, after lunch, and mid-afternoon) to check them. Always scan your email and voicemail and prioritise what needs to be done immediately and what can wait.
•Office interruptions – Many times colleagues will stop by your office with a question or request. Listen clearly and evaluate whether or not it’s something that needs immediate attention. Don’t be afraid to tell your colleague you’ll get to a matter later or say no if you really can’t help.
•Lunch room chats – Avoid getting into deep discussions with colleagues in the lunch room. Many times a 15-minute chat can develop into an hour-long conversation.
Although some people think they thrive on procrastination, it can actually affect both the body and mind negatively. Individuals who habitually procrastinate become less productive over time. Minimise procrastination by minimising your opportunities for distractions.
•Avoid Internet surfing – Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest can become major distractions. Plan to check the sites only on your breaks and not throughout the day.
•Use your time effectively – Always organise your tasks into priorities. This will help you to keep your focus throughout the workday.
Time management activities
Incorporate time management techniques into your wellness program by providing the following activities:
•Role playing exercises on time management
•Guest speakers on time management
•Time management tips posters throughout the office
•Round table discussions among staff members
The bottom line
Time management is an important and effective tool in maintaining employee wellbeing and productivity. HR professionals are encouraged to discuss the three P’s of time management – planning your day, prioritising tasks, and minimising procrastination – in their wellness program and incorporating them into group discussions, seminars, and activities.