time management

Time management should be a top-down initiative

Figure out someone in his/her first day of work at the company. The person sits down at her desk and receives a pile of e-mails saying what to do in the week, how long it should take for each task, which decisions he/she will get involved with, who will receive tasks from him/her and to whom him/her can delegate… In addition to e-mails, meetings are suddenly scheduled. That’s why time management should be a priority for the board of the company. It is not consistent to ask a professional to ignore distractions if the company culture does not guide him/her. However, managers still have a trump card and can take certain actions. I listed five here:


Understand the root of the problem

“The impact of always-on communications, the growing complexity of global organizations, and the pressures imposed by profound economic uncertainty have all added to a feeling among executives that there are simply not enough hours in the day to get things done”. That is what Frankki Bevins and Aaron De Smet, researchers from McKinsey Institute, conclude in their study with nearly 1,500 executives surveyed around the world. And they found a disturbing number: only 52% said that the way they spent their time largely matched their organizations’ strategic priorities. Nearly half admitted that they were not concentrating sufficiently on guiding the strategic direction of the business.


Here are the solutions

1. Make effort estimates

Companies should consider what level of care, guidance and intervention of leaders would be needed to perform each task type by their teams. The goal is to determine how much time the company has to spend on the execution of tasks, from operational ones up to major innovations.

2. Give back the lost hours of staff

One of the keys to the smart time management is to motivate professionals to assign new responsibilities. More motivation is more productivity, i.e., time well spent. Furthermore, streamline decision-making, by leaving involve certain professional in meetings and emails when they should not necessarily participate.

3. Ensure that people measure their time

But do not rely on timesheets. Managers would be terrified if they knew of the gap between the time recorded on timesheets and the actual time spent. The goal here is not to watch, but to ensure that each employee know how long they take in their tasks, and then better redistribute their hours. A task management software, for example, automates this measurement. An idea is to promote a friendly competition between team members who perform the same task type and reward the more productive one.

4. Review the calendar

To make room for priorities, leaders should first of all be clear about what they and their teams should stop doing. This means, for example, reviewing the history of meetings and to honestly assess which ones contributed to solving strategic problems. Or, how much time in meeting was used to find out the status of projects, once this information should not be a mystery in the company. Among meetings for commenting reports, for team collaboration, and for corrections, identify which will be used to make decisions (priority) and which will only be to exchange information.

5. Guide your team for real

One of the biggest milestones reported in McKinsey’s research involved the quality of guidance given to managers. 85% of those who considered spending their time efficiently said they received a lot of support in the scheduling and allocation of their time. The researchers say that the most effective way to do this is when the CEO teaches his/her techniques and gives his/her personal tips to manage working hours.


There is still one last initiative, which must come from the board, to improve time management within your business: the adoption of a management software. Use Runrun.it to automate timesheets, to reduce e-mails and follow-up meetings and increase staff productivity by up to 25%. Want to see if it was worth? In Runrun.it, with a few clicks, produces all reports of time and money you need. Try it for free: http://runrun.it


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