Get Better Organizational Productivity by Encouraging Personal Time Management Skills
Dmitry Davydov 27 April 2015
You can put unproductive people into great systems, but you can't make them work the systems.
Organizational productivity and personal time management really can't be separated. Efficient, well-designed systems still fail due to user error. Lack of user motivation is a common error.
To get better organizational productivity, think smaller. Think one at a time. Think about the individual. Encourage better time management skills on a personal level. Then you can spend money on improving systems and it will actually be money well-spent.
Provide One-on-One Encouragement As the team lead, you probably already know who's got this time management thing down and who struggles to stay focused. Everyone struggles with distraction and focus. Give verbal encouragement to your team members for the small wins and the big wins. Help your team members feel motivated to put forth their best effort. Do your best to notice, and praise, their attempts and successes at better time use and greater productivity. Talk About Time Management It can be a huge relief for people to know that other people feel overwhelmed, distracted, unproductive, incapable… and not sure what to do about it.
For your people to know that they're not alone, you have to start the conversations. It's a challenge to navigate a digital information load. How do you do it? It's difficult to balance constant accessibility with increasing work loads. Who has some tips?
Share Time Management Resources Did you finish a great book that really helped you see your priorities better, or pare down your to-do list? Send a link, recommend it, or better yet, give a copy to a team member. Or to the entire team.
Share what you're learning and what you need to learn. Your story of how you've benefitted from an app, book, or blog motivates others to check it out. Social proof wins again. Follow up in a few days or a couple of weeks. Keep the conversation going.
Get Expert Help If your conversations reveal a common time management issue plaguing your team, it's time to call in the experts. Host a workshop, get an expert in to lead it, and dedicate some time to solving time management problems.
There's a dual purpose: first, you help your team solve a problem. Second, you show them that time management is important. It matters enough that you'll dedicate time and money to helping them improve their time management skills. That message not only helps motivate them to dedicate their own efforts, it also lets your people know that they can come to you and get help when it's needed.
Assign Research and Reports Who are your time management experts? Ask them to share their tools and tips on particular time management techniques.
Get team members to take on a research project - maybe investigating the best practices for team meetings, or how to set daily priorities - and share their findings. The whole team benefits by learning from what different team members share.
Implement Policies for Better Time Use Note that policy implementation is the last step, not the first. Most companies prefer to reverse the order. "Put the rules into place," an executive thunders, "and they will learn to follow them and be productive!"
But becoming better at time use isn't a matter of following company-wide rules; it's a matter of knowing your personal strengths - and weaknesses - and building habits that make the best of it all.
Once you and the team leaders in your business are pretty good at the prior steps (encouragement, sharing, and so on), it might be a good time to look into company-wide rules to help. Realize that the rules are there to help, however, not to enforce.
Cull the best ideas from reports, or from your own research, and implement one new policy at a time. Choose positive policies, which enable, encourage, and reward good behavior, rather than negative policies which focus on finding and punishing bad behavior.
The individuals make up the team, and the business can only function as well as the teams function. Helping the individuals in your business improve their time management skills is how you build stronger, more productive teams and a healthier business.