As a manager, your time is essential—but so is your employees’. Here at The One Thing, we talk a lot about the importance of making your time count. But, what good is your well-executed calendar if your employees don’t have one as well?
When it comes to our businesses, no man is an island. Our success isn’t just in our hands, but that of our employees’ as well. It’s crucial to pass on proper time management skills to them so that they can also become productivity masters.
As you plan your time out for the year ahead, you may want to pencil in time to teach those you manage how to do the same.
Training Your Employees to Focus
The first step to managing any employee is helping them find direction. Have a conversation with your employees about what you expect from them. Define and clarify their business objectives for the year, and how you’d like for them to approach them. Not only will that get you both on the same page, but it will also help them understand what they should focus on when parsing out their time.
Half the problem with time management is knowing what you should be spending your time on. That’s why it’s important to teach your employees the value of priority.
Do all of your employees understand what their ONE Thing is? Run through the process of finding out what their most important goals are, and where they should align their focus the most. Make it a conversation and remember to listen. You may find that what you thought your employee’s ONE Thing should be is actually their second or third thing.
With clarity around their ONE thing, help your employee bring their objectives down-sight by teaching them how to use a GPS. This simple tool helps them outline all of their Goals, Priorities and Strategies succinctly. The exercise will help them stay focused on their objectives for the year by bringing the right activities into focus. When they have a GPS, and you’ve run over it with them, your role in the entire scope of their project is that of an accountability partner. Make sure to sit down with them to go over their 4-1-1 on a weekly basis so you can plot their progress.
Training Your Employees to Manage Their Time Effectively
Now that their objectives are clear, pass on the greatest gift of all: Time.
Timeblocking isn’t just an activity for the movers and shakers—it’s a strategy that every person at every level of every company should practice. If you have a priority and you have a few hours of the day where you are more productive than in others, then you should have a timeblock. Remember, your time is precious and so is theirs. If your employees don’t manage their time effectively, the time they mismanaged gets passed back to you. And that just creates a giant mess.
Talk to your employees about the merits of timeblocking, and support them in making it a fixture of their daily lives.
In modern workplace culture, the idea of isolating yourself for large chunks of time may seem totally ludicrous. And the reality is that many managers make this impossible for their employees to accomplish. With stop-by check-ups, last minute deadlines, and requests that lay off the beaten path, some managers make it impossible for their employees to do their best and most important work. That’s why the previous conversation is so important. If you and your employee are on the same page about what’s important, that gives them permission to tell you to buzz off.
To train your employees to time-block, give them the tools to do it and then allow them to do it. Give them permission to put everything else to the side when it comes to their most important work and their most productive hours. Give them whatever they need to timeblock, and then support them.
The important thing here is giving them the hours in their day when their energy and focus is at its peak. Productivity connoisseur Tom Schwartz preaches “managing energy, not time,” which allows employees to work smarter on a given task. In fact, a study he performed on Wachovia employees determined that those who participated in “employee renewal” had increased their year-to-year revenue production by over 13 percent. So it’s not just enough that they have the time to get something done, it’s just as important that they have the energy to get it done as well.
Nothing drains our energy and ruins a timeblock faster than distraction. Some of us have the luxury of closing our office doors to signal to others that we don’t want to be disturbed. But your employees likely don’t have that same luxury. Let your employees know that they can take measures to prevent distractions while timeblocking. Better yet, help them come up with a few strategies! Let them take after Gary Keller and put up a signs that says “Until my one thing is done, everything else is a distraction”. Give them a red flag to raise. Put some headphones in their stockings. Or gift them a “NO!” button. Do whatever you can to make sure that your employee know that you are serious about protecting their most important hours at work.
When your employees find timeblocks that work for them, put it on your calendar. That way you’ll know when your employees are available and when they’re not.
Giving someone the support they need to manage their time effectively isn’t a one-and-done activity. It’s an ongoing slog. As a manager, always keep in mind that your team’s success is tied up with your own. And make it a mantra that you will give others the same liberty of time that you give yourself. By teaching time management, and continuing to coach along the way, you will not only create happier and more productive employees, but you’ll become a more productive manager—a win-win!
Have your employees undergone time management training? What was your experience? Let us know on our Facebook!