Good communication skills, detail-oriented, hardworking, problem-solving skills, team player… What’s missing? Oh, yeah, great time management skills! Excellent, now that all the cliche phrases are listed on the resume, we got ourselves a perfect job candidate!
No manager will ever recognize themselves in this thought and selection process, so why are candidates still so persistent in emphasising these empty phrases and employers in listing them as a requirement in job descriptions?
Let’s take time management. You hire a couple of people for your team who all claim they’re successful in managing time. Two months go by, your dream team is in the state of utter disorder and anarchy, you conclude that they lied on their resumes, fire them all and start all over again.
This would be an unfair and selfish mistake. It’s one thing to be good at time management and another to be able to synchronize the whole team on this level. And this is the job for a manager.
So, why can’t you do it? We have a couple of ideas, so read on and see whether anything rings a bell. And luckily for you, all of these obstacles are easily overcome with a little help of a work tracker, such as our very own Insightful.
Everything starts with clear communication. Right from the beginning. If you clearly explain to each team member what you expect from them at the job interview and during the onboarding/training process, your work is already half done. And this practice should extent throughout the entire time they’re in your team.
One of the most common oversights is failing to set clear goals and deadlines. Which project are we working on? What’s the main objective? What specific tasks do we have to do? How do they relate to each other? When is the project due? If your employees can’t answer every single one of these questions, they won’t be able to coordinate and you’ll end up having to explain the whole thing again two days before the deadline.
You can see how time efficiency isn’t possible here.
You can solve this with a one-hour meeting and the proper implementation of work time tracker. After this, you can use this software to break projects into smaller manageable chunks, plan how much time you’ll need for each one, set the final deadline, and track everyone’s progress.
With a work tracker app like Insightful you can see what’s holding you up and solve the problems immediately, whether it’s the fact that Nathan doesn’t know how to use Google Drive or Samantha spending a bit too much time on Instagram. Communicating to them what you need them to do and when will ensure they stay on track.
Who’s Doing This Task Again?
Another problem that can arise with time management is bad delegation. If your employees don’t know who’s supposed to do what, it’s easy to end up doing one task twice or just plain forgetting something. Similarly, you might be tempted to take on too much work yourself thinking that you’ll do it faster than your employees. This is more often than not extremely stressful and ineffective.
Work time tracker app eliminates this threat by letting you see exactly who is working on which task. Analyzing the data from online time management software will let you see who’s doing one type of task well, who’s struggling with certain platforms (anyone remember Nathan?) so that you can give them further support and so on.
Project time tracking software will make the delegation process smooth and well-informed, and you’ll see your team’s time management get better in no time.
How Long? Who Knows.
When the question of project duration comes up, you might be perfectly ready to give an answer to your client. Maybe you tell them the best case scenario, or the worst, or you add a week or two to how much a similar project took you last time just so you can maybe surprise them by finishing early.
This may be a great way to deal with clients but it will put your team through hell if you over- or underestimate the time you’ll need. Overestimate and your employees will go straight into vacation mode when they see they have time; underestimate and you’ll stress them out into hating your guts.
This is where Insightful and similar hour tracking software comes into play. With an hours keeping app, you can measure the time each task takes your team to finish very accurately. Planning your future projects according to this objective data will make your estimates much more realistic and your team will be more focused, less stressed and ultimately more efficient.
Off the Leash and Through the Deadlines
The last two problems we’re going to discuss are two opposite extremes. One the one hand, you can have a very relaxed and flexible leadership style where you basically decide that you trust that everyone knows what they’re doing and how long it takes them. After all, working in a comfy atmosphere with no pressure whatsoever will magically make everyone super productive, right?
Well, not exactly. Having a certain amount of freedom as well as time to breathe and relax is good for efficiency and productivity, but too much can quickly turn into a disaster. In this scenario, deadlines are as good as non-existent.
So set clear expectations and deadlines for each task, and then track progress with your project management time tracking software. Your work tracker will help you see who’s wasting their time on unproductive activities so that you can get them back on track.
All Work and No Play
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have a method of insisting on tight deadlines and non-stop work. This might seem like a fantastic idea for maximizing your team’s time management, but we all know what happens to proverbial Jack.
Like it or not, your employees aren’t work-spewing machines. They all need a breather every now and then, and they definitely need a lunch break of more than 10 minutes. Don’t look at short breaks as a waste of time, but as an investment into better concentration.
So, how can Insightful help? For starters, task and time tracking software collects data on when your employees are most and least productive, which can tell you when it’s a good time to make a short break and when you should schedule the most important tasks.
If your time reporting software tells you that at one point most of your employees start wandering off into Facebook and YouTube, that’s your cue to give them a 15-minute break instead of forcing them to get back to work. If their focus is off, they’ll be slower as well. And the timer app will show you when this moment tends to happen.
Using employee time software in such a way will ensure your employees are always focused and ready to get to work. They will not only be faster, but they’ll also be happier.
The borderline is - it’s up to you to get your team in shape and make it more productive and efficient. But you don’t have to undertake this challenge alone and in the dark. Among the many advantages work time tracking software has to offer, it will most certainly help you improve your team’s time management skills by tracking your progress, giving you informative data and keeping your team on its track to ultimate efficiency.