Time management is a struggle for many working professionals, whether you work in HR or not! It can often feel like there are not enough hours in the day, especially through the ups and downs of recent years. If you struggle with time management, it can be difficult to adjust when unscheduled requests pop up, or if there is a sudden change in plans. This can be particularly challenging if you’re working within a small organization, and have to juggle lots of roles. To help out, our expert in time management and office administrator, Haylee Smith, is sharing her top tips.
Five Tips for Better Time Management and Organization
Map Out Your Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Tasks
Looking at a long to-do list can be intimidating. Instead plan out in advance for your biggest priorities, then break those down into smaller tasks. Working through smaller individual tasks helps you get to the finish line! You probably already know what projects are an absolute must to complete in a given month or year. It can be helpful to write all of them down in one place, then tackle the to-do list for each project individually.
Utilize a Time-Management System That Works for You
There are many ways you can schedule out your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. Some people prefer a paper planner, or a dedicated google calendar with alerts, or just a post-it note in a visible place. If you want to get into the nitty gritty of project management and prioritizing tasks, there are many apps that can help like:
Asana – Great for creating workflows and keeping individual projects separated and manageable.
Trello – An awesome free tool for creating a digital (and more organized) version of your post-it notes.
Monday.com – Similar to Asana, Monday.com is great for creating workflows and teamwork.
Todoist – If all you need is a simple to do list, Todoist is your best bet.
Wrike – With free and paid versions available, Wrike can help you organize projects, and stay in communication with your team.
Make Room for Challenges
We all have those tasks that are effortless, that you could practically do on auto-pilot. But, there are always tasks that inevitably take you additional time to process before you can check it off your list. Rushing through tasks just to get things done is asking for problems down the line. Instead make sure to schedule time into your days and weeks for these challenging tasks. You can block off time on your calendar, or just give your team the heads up that you need 30 minutes to focus. Setting the ongoing expectation (both for yourself and your team) that you need dedicated focus-time is helpful for making sure you actually get that time.
Identify Your Time-Drains
Before you can master time management, you must realize where most of your time is going. We all have tasks that take up big chunks of time, even if we don’t notice them. To figure out which of your tasks are draining your time, you’ll need a bit of patience. Haylee recommends logging everything you do, and the time it took to complete each task, for two entire weeks. While very tedious, this practice helps you to identify where you spend the most time.
While not every task you do can be changed (some tasks simply take time!) others can be optimized. Look through your log and identify the top three to five tasks that have taken the most time. This can help you to see if there are any similarities between the tasks, and can help you to identify problem areas. For example, you may find it useful to set “office hours” for when you answer emails, or you may find that a class or workshop can speed up your process in Excel.
Outsource Your Biggest Pain Points
One of the biggest time-drains in a professional’s life is trying to take on tasks that are outside of your skillset. These could be daily administrative tasks, ongoing marketing, monthly payroll, or even human resources. Not only can these activities be a drain on your time, they can also be a blow to morale since team members aren’t always equipped to take on the task. Once you’ve identified the things that are taking up too much time, consider which of those tasks could be better and more efficiently completed by an outsourced professional.
Haylee’s big takeaway: learn to effectively prioritize tasks. “When you understand what needs to get done each day, week, and month, and schedule additional time to handle time-draining tasks that pop up – you can develop a time management strategy that really works!”
These are the tips we use every day to make sure we’re able to thoroughly complete our 300 point Culture and Compliance Audits, or help our clients find the right talent as quickly as possible. HR doesn’t have to be at the top of your to-do list – contact us today to set up a consultation and find out how HR can boost your business!← Blog