Time Management In The Workplace | 4 mins read

The 4 D's of Time Management in the Workplace

the 4 ds of time management in the workplace
Lauren Christiansen

By Lauren Christiansen

Educating employees on the importance of time management will help them advance, optimize their workflows, and increase their productivity. But even the most efficient workers are ineffective if the leadership team is disorganized and frazzled.

Department managers and enterprise leaders in a small business must be good role models for team members to maintain morale and structure in the workplace. Utilizing several time management skills and best practices can assist in meeting critical requirements.

  • The average supervisor spends 3-5 hours per day handling unforseen disruptions and problems
  • Employees are most productive from 9-12 a.m., and less productive every hour after that
  • If a manager spends 10-12 minutes planning a day, he/she saves up to 2 hours that would have been wasted otherwise

The 4 D's of Time Management

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Time management is a critical quality to have in the workplace. A more competitive market requires an organization to do everything possible to maximize productivity and operational effectiveness.

Because an organization is a hierarchical structure, supervisors and team leaders must know how to manage their time to optimize the efficiency of subordinates. When the leadership team is unstructured, employee productivity and morale decreases.

Here are the top leadership time management tips for the workplace -

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1. Do What Needs to Be Done

Managers need to show leadership by acting and doing whenever possible. An effective time management strategy is to use the two-minute rule as the basis for all decisions. Leaders should recognize that in just two minutes, they can write an important email, make a phone call, or print out a KPI report for one of their team members.

If a project takes longer than two minutes to complete, supervisors should work on it alone for 30-45 minutes, or until it is finished. Completing one task at a time in as little time as possible is the best way to improve the quality of outcomes.

It's also easier in the long term to complete more projects by completing one activity at a time, rather than focusing on four different projects at once.

Recognizing that it takes longer to think about what needs to be done than it takes to do what needs to be done is the mindset required. Using this approach every day will help supervisors maximize their time, gain the trust of their subordinates, and allow everyone to meet deadlines.

2. Delete or Drop Unnecessary Items

One of the easiest strategies to effectively manage time is to drop or delete non-essential tasks or documents. This is particularly essential for supervisors that receive hundreds of emails per day, many of which are unrelated to critical tasks.

Though it's important not to carelessly delete emails that may be relevant, seasoned executives know which items are unimportant. Forwarded email chains and regular reports that are unrelated to requirements can be deleted simply by looking at the subject line.

Supervisors should also drop or minimize activities that don't help in achieving key outcomes. These items should be removed from a task list so the team can get started on more important requirements.

3. Defer Until Later

Supervisors should sometimes defer a decision until more information is available, or until they have the time to do it. This is particularly true if colleagues are asking for something due in a week when the supervisor has to complete a task by the end of the day. Though it can be difficult to defer until another time, it's essential to prioritize tasks.

It's important to reassess any deferred tasks by the end of the day or week to see if they are still necessary. Procrastination is not a helpful time management tool, but deferring non-essential activities until a later time is the only way to complete everything required.

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4. Delegate Tasks

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Supervisors who can't delegate will be ineffective in their roles. Many individuals prefer to maintain control over the entirety of a process, but it is to their detriment. Relinquishing control for non-critical or meticulous requirements is the only way for the leadership team to meet its objectives.

Supervisors should write down the details of a project and include the steps required to carry it out. They can then determine to delegate various steps of that process, rather than delegating an entire project to another person.

This way, the supervisor maintains some control over the situation, but still removes a part of the workload. He/she should make certain to give the entire checklist to the subordinate so everyone knows exactly how the entire process should work.

The outcome will be less dependent on who is helping and more on the quality of the manager's checklist.

  • Pick the correct person for the job
  • Match the requirements of the task to the talents of the individual
  • Delegate small or easy tasks to new hires to help build their confidence
  • Be cognizant of the person's time and own requirements

Key Takeaways

In conclusion, here are the key takeaways to remember about the top time management techniques -

  • Acting rather than being apprehensive is an essential feature of proper time management. The two-minute rule can assist in optimizing both the quality and quantity of critical tasks completed per day.
  • Supervisors must delete or eliminate non-essential emails, phone calls, or projects that can wait for another day.
  • Managers should defer non-critical tasks and learn to say no when it is a serious infringement on their time. They can readdress these issues later once they have met their daily and weekly goals.
  • Leaders must delegate repetitive or time-consuming tasks to subordinates to remove some of the workloads. Utilizing a checklist to help maintain control of the process can assist the subordinate who is helping out.

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