A new year is a great time to get organized at work. Busy HR professionals need to manage their time effectively to execute their daily tasks and future project needs. With good time management skills you are in control of your time and your stress. You are also able to make progress at work and maintain a good work/life balance, not to mention have flexibility to respond to “surprises”.
The first step to developing good time management skills is to understand what circumstances are beyond our control and what is in our control. Some example of circumstances beyond our control is interruptions (phone calls, employee problems, and work accidents), computer or equipment problems, unproductive meetings, absent co-workers, and change in priorities.
Circumstances within our control are lack of good planning and organization, failing to set and meet priorities, jumping from one project to the next without completion, spending too much time on emails, phone calls, and the internet, procrastination, failure to delegate, and socializing too much.
The second step is to improve what is in our control. Below are some steps to develop your time management skills.
- Plan & Organize your day, week, and month- knowing what lies ahead of you will help you succeed at prioritizing, meeting deadlines, and identifying busy times when you can expect an increase in interruptions.
- Work your to do list- start your day off right by completing the most important item for the day. Batch routine tasks together and break large tasks into smaller ones. Update your priorities throughout the day, and delegate when you can.
- Set aside uninterrupted blocks of time to work on priority items- close your door, minimize outlook, let your voicemail answer for about 90 minutes to give you time to focus on completing your objective. You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish in a short amount of time when you really focus on the objective.
- Don’t let paper or emails slow you down- set a goal to handle paper or email only once. When you get an item decide the next action- take care of it and move on; follow-up; file, etc.. Develop template responses for common or frequent emails.
- Create written procedures for routine tasks. Writing down steps to a process saves time hunting for items needed to complete a task and ensuring you complete the task fully and accurately. Written procedures are also be a big help when delegating.
- Give yourself a break- get up throughout the day to stretch, close your eyes, or leave for lunch. You will return more alert and refreshed.
- Work/Life balance- Don’t let your personal life become a distraction at work, and vice versa. By accomplishing more at work, you will feel better after work and enjoy your home time more.
7 Time Habits of a High Yield Day by Jim Rooney