Curious about time management for managers?
Some managers seem to have enough time for everything they want to do.
However, most of them find it challenging to tackle multiple projects simultaneously.
Managers who complete their daily to-do lists easily use their time more effectively and exercise good time management skills.
Time management can help you guide your team members better, complete projects on time, and have a healthy relationship with work.
So how can you get better at time management?
Don’t worry. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you should know about optimizing time as a manager. We’ll also discuss the benefits of time management.
This article contains:
(click on specific links to jump to a particular section of the page)
- How Can Managers Manage Their Time Better?
- What Are The Benefits Of Time Management?
Let’s get started.
How can managers manage their time better?
Time management helps you figure out how much time you spend on specific tasks and projects.
Let’s look at some time management tips that can help you do just that:
1. Plan ahead
Planning ahead is critical to take control of your time.
When you know exactly what you need to do, you can quickly complete those tasks.
How can you do this?
Use the first 30 minutes of your day to create a to-do list that aligns with your weekly plans.
Be flexible with your plans and account for unexpected tasks.
Revisit your task list at the end of the day, and see which tasks took longer to complete. This way, you can identify any issues you might be facing at work.
2. Batch similar tasks
You may require a different thought process for every task.
That’s why an excellent time management strategy is to group similar tasks together on your to-do list.
When you work on related tasks, you can focus better and complete them quickly.
For example, you can designate a specific time to answer important emails and phone calls rather than doing them throughout the day.
You can employ this management skill to block time for different tasks. It’ll help you save the time that goes into recurring tasks.
3. Prioritize tasks
When team members approach you for ad-hoc help or advice, you should consider whether it would be more efficient for their request to be addressed now or later.
You might be tempted to react and deal with all issues immediately. But these disturbances are often not worth it.
So what can you do?
Consider a time-sensitive open and shut door policy for your team members so that they can ask you questions only during certain times of the day.
This way, you won’t get interrupted when you’re in deep work mode. You’ll also be able to focus on the activity at hand.
Additionally, ensure that you politely close conversations that could drag on.
You could say something like ‘I’m glad that got sorted. Let me know if that happens again,’ to signal the end of the conversation.
You can also use the Eisenhower Matrix for prioritizing essential and urgent tasks from your to-do list.
What’s the Eisenhower Matrix?
It’s a priority matrix that helps you organize multiple tasks depending on their urgency and importance.
You can categorize your tasks into four different sections that include:
- Important and urgent: Tasks that should be done first.
- Important but not urgent: Tasks you can schedule to do later.
- Not important but urgent: Tasks that you could delegate or automate.
- Not important and not urgent: Tasks that you can skip for now.
4. Organize your day
Once you have mastered prioritization, focus on setting goals and organizing your day around those set goals and objectives.
As a manager, you’ll need to have project discussions with other team members every day.
However, you should not use these discussions as an excuse to procrastinate.
How can you avoid this?
Plan and organize your day in a way that you can manage difficult project tasks when your energy levels are high.
You can reserve all project discussions, meetings, and advice for the end of the day when your energy levels are low.
If your time is very limited and there’s a lot of work to be completed, prioritize the most important tasks over those that won’t make much difference.
5. Communicate well
Whether you’re dealing with your company’s co-founders or team members, effective communication is necessary.
If you don’t take the time to communicate (that means to listen, understand, and explain to other people), there can be many misunderstandings and delays.
Here’s how you can ensure effective communication:
- Have frequent meetings to communicate the company goals to your team members.
- Define the communication channels each employee must use.
- Clearly state the roles of every team member in the project.
- Encourage employees to give feedback to their senior managers, etc.
- Create a clear communication policy and include it in the employee handbook.
6. Take frequent breaks
Working for long hours can lead to mental exhaustion, slow you down, and cause resentment towards work.
What’s the solution?
You should take frequent breaks to re-energize yourself and avoid the possibility of burnout.
The Pomodoro time management technique can help you develop great work habits.
What is the Pomodoro technique?
Pomodoro is a time management technique in which you work for 25 minutes and take a 5 minute short break after this session.
After four working sessions, you can take an extended break of 10-25 minutes.
7. Avoid perfectionism
Perfectionists can perform at a higher level than most people.
However, they take a lot of time and energy to get things done.
Here’s what can happen when you apply ultra-high standards to everything you do:
- You might waste precious resources.
- You may experience high stress levels (especially when you miss deadlines.)
- You may earn a negative reputation at work.
Perfectionism is not a sustainable way to do business. So, stick to the standards needed and avoid the tendency to become a perfectionist.
8. Delegate tasks
Delegating tasks gives you enough time to focus on essential activities and manage your workload.
You should assign tasks to other employees and ensure that they have the necessary management training and resources.
9. Keep a check on distractions
Emails, phone calls, and social media sites, like Facebook or LinkedIn, are some of the workplace’s biggest distractions.
They slow down your pace of work and negatively impact performance, efficiency, and productivity.
When you’re interrupted by these disturbances, you shift your attention from a specific task and lose focus.
Even momentary interruptions can seem jarring when you’re working on a process that requires considerable thought.
The right thing to do is design a work environment that helps you with attention management and protects you against these interruptions.
Here are some of the steps that you can take:
- Put up a ‘do not disturb’ board outside your office.
- Encourage asynchronous communication at the workplace.
- Practice mindfulness to focus better.
- Mute all phone, email, and social media notifications during work hours.
- Play white noise in the background as you work.
10. Use the right tools
While all these tips can help you with time management, you need the right tools and applications to help you follow these practices.
There are tons of software out there to help managers manage their workload and be productive.
Let’s take a look at the three types of tools that are indispensable for superior workflow management:
A. Time tracking and productivity management
Good time management is a challenge that every company faces.
Employees, managers, and even leaders are always looking for ways to improve workplace efficiency.
The key to effective time management is knowing where your time is spent.
One of the best software that can do this is Time Doctor.
Time Doctor tracks all workday activities, giving you real-time, actionable insights to improve time management at your company.
With workday data that you get from Time Doctor, you can:
- See the start and end times of each task.
- Calculate the total amount of time spent on projects and tasks.
- Get direct reports on productivity broken down by day, week, or month.
- Determine employees with the highest and lowest productivity levels.
- Determine top projects and tasks based on hours worked.
- Keep a tab on your employee’s most-used websites and applications.
- Know how you spend your working hours with the daily timeline overview and more.
B. Online calendars
Another great tool for time management is an online calendar.
Using an online calendar, you can:
- Manage your project schedule.
- Mark important dates and events
- Set up reminders.
- Create time blocks, etc.
ProofHub is a collaboration tool with great calendar management features.
It simplifies how you manage your schedule, plans your events, and keeps track of your important dates to help you stay ahead of your due dates.
Some of the features of the ProofHub calendar include:
- Add recurring events and tasks for tasks you do regularly.
- Get calendar views: daily, biweekly, monthly, etc.
- Create private milestones and events, and hide their visibility.
- Download your calendar in PDF, CSV, or iCal formats.
C. Project management tools
Whether you’re a project manager or a product manager, project management tools are a must to track work progress.
They give you a centralized platform to host all your projects and tasks.
You can then organize tasks in an easy way to:
- Keep your workflow organized.
- Ensure tasks are completed on time.
- Distribute your workload for optimal time management.
- Get a holistic picture of all your projects at a glance.
- Track project progress in real-time.
Trello is one software that can help you achieve this.
It uses a Kanban-approach to help you visualize the entire workflow.
Some of its key features include:
- Dashboard for managing projects and assignments.
- Pre-designed templates to organize your tasks.
- ‘Cards’ to save client contact information, build larger project tasks, etc.
- Task lists where you can arrange tasks by their due date or priority.
- Comments to collaborate with team members.
What are the benefits of time management?
Let’s look at how time management can benefit you as a manager:
1. Be more productive
Time management improves your ability to focus.
You can complete your task list in less time and have more hours to relax, unwind, and come back rejuvenated.
You’ll also have a healthy relationship with work and an excellent work-life balance.
2. Improves decision-making ability
When you don’t have control over your time, you might feel overwhelmed and make hasty decisions.
Effective time management eliminates the pressure that comes from feeling like you don’t have enough time.
You can take your time to carefully consider each option and diminish your chances of making a bad decision.
3. Helps you lead by example
A company’s decision-makers’ values and work ethic directly influence company culture and the business’ profitability.
When a business owner or manager learns to manage time, they can quickly achieve their daily goals.
This way, you can complete your own work, meet project deadlines, and ultimately set an example for others to follow.
As a manager, it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day business activities and not have enough time.
That’s why time management is critical for your success. It helps you improve productivity, stay on top of your tasks, and ultimately become a respectable manager.
While it may seem difficult to gain control over your time initially, you’ll be able to master this skill in the long run.
Try out the tips suggested in the article and manage your time better today!
Liam Martin is a co-founder of Time Doctor which is software to improve productivity and help keep track and know what your team is working on, even when working from home.