Management tipsJuly 1, 2022
Workload balancing and time management skills are not only associated with project managers or bosses. In fact, these skills need to be adopted on each level especially working in a team. If not, it can render dire consequences for a project altogether.
10 tips for mastering time management at work
Then life happens. You leave late, you hit traffic, and you arrive at your desk already frustrated with the world. Sitting down to finally knock out that project you’ve been procrastinating for weeks, you realize you’ve got back-to-back meetings until noon—and yes, you’re already late for the first one. You finally walk out of the last meeting, and you start wading through emails when you get pulled into a meeting with the VP. He has a last-minute request for you. “It should only take an hour,” he says. Try three.
The good news is that there are ways to reclaim those seemingly elusive lost hours of the day. It’s all about personal time management—manage your time instead of letting it manage you. We’ve got ten time management tips for work to get you started
Holding your stance is a great quality to embody if you want to achieve milestones and deadlines. However, some instances and situations require revisiting already made decisions. Being flexible is #4 on our list of the top task management tips.
Any of these factors, if not acknowledged on time, can strip a team off potential chances of success and growth. It is important to be on the lookout for likely loopholes of if another opportunity seems to be passing us by. Be flexible with deadlines when you need to be.
It gives people time to process properly, and it gets them out of the office in terms of being bogged down in day-to-day admin. So, there is more thought leadership that comes to the table, and that’s where your creativity and innovation come in.”
With the Scrum methodology, you can be open to and manage change easily through the daily Scrum meetings. The daily scrum gives you an opportunity to not only have an overview on the tasks being done but also the bottlenecks they may face. This way you can alter backlogs to better suit the changing requirements.
Being over-burdened is a real thing and if not addressed well, it can significantly affect productivity. By the end of the day, we are only humans working with other humans. Each of us hold a unique set of qualities when it comes to patience, resilience, working under pressure or getting a task done in the least amount of time.
According to Eli Broad, philanthropist and founder of 2 Fortune 500 companies, “The inability to delegate is one of the biggest problems I see with managers at all levels.” Hence, it is downright crucial, to not only be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses but those of your team, too.
Onboard a New Remote Hire the Right Way
Whenever you’re onboarding a new employee, the goal is to help them feel at home and excited about the work ahead. But when their interactions with you and the rest of the team are only virtual, how do you do that? Here are some tips.
- Get them off to a fast start. This means having their technology set up before their start date, and making sure they know who to go to with questions from day one. Assign them a dedicated onboarding buddy who can be their go-to person with the many spontaneous questions they’re likely to have.
- Facilitate strong relationships across the organization. Since you can’t rely on the organic and spontaneous relationship-building that happens in the office, be proactive and intentional about setting up a mix of formal and informal one-on-one interactions between the new hire and other individuals. Don’t forget to introduce them to colleagues across departments early and often.
- Explain the culture and how work gets done. Make unwritten rules explicit, such as your company’s level of formality, dress code, virtual etiquette on videoconferences, communication norms, and working hours. It will be far less stressful if your new employee doesn’t have to guess at these issues.
Lead with Questions, Not Answers
Chances are, most leaders are too focused on having all the answers — and not focused enough on asking the right questions. It’s time to recalibrate. Despite what you might think, expressing vulnerability and asking for help, clarification, or input can be a sign of strength and confidence, not weakness. The right questions are signals of trust — and they can inspire people to trust you in return. For example, rather than telling your team about a new opportunity you’ve identified, ask them, “Do you see a game-changing opportunity that could create much more value than we’ve delivered in the past?” A big, simple question like this can inspire a burst of collaboration and creativity across the organization. And if you consistently demonstrate a question-first mindset, you’ll help establish an overall culture of curiosity and learning that will keep your team innovating and responding to challenges effectively. So try it out this week: Ask your team a big-picture, open-ended question, and see if it doesn’t lead to some new and exciting ideas.
Uncertainty is unavoidable. As a manager, you need to be prepared to lead your team through murky waters, but doing so requires getting in the right mindset yourself. Here are six tips to help you shift your perspective:
In a world where efficiency is key, professionals need to take advantage of the tools available to them that can help make their jobs easier. Project management software tools can help managers, administrators, and other employees deliver projects as effectively as possible by offering features that allow you to manage tasks, track progress, and streamline communication.
20 time management tips for professionals
1. Keep lists
Create lists of thoughts you have or tasks you need to accomplish throughout the day. By recording as much as you can, it will be easy to remember which tasks you need to revisit later. Mobile devices and laptops often have built-in time-management tools to make this easy. You could also keep a small notepad on hand to add to as things come to mind. At the end of each day, you can review the tasks and create a to-do list for the following day, knowing that everything is handled.
2. Focus on one task at a time
Studies have conclusively determined that multi-tasking slows down your productivity. For maximum productivity, focus on one task at a time. It’s more effective to finish one job before moving on to the next.
3. Put a time limit on tasks
Parkinson’s law states that work will expand to fill the time that’s available for completion. By setting time constraints for certain items, you will naturally focus better and work more efficiently. If you discover that you work beyond the time limits you set for yourself, you may want to examine your workflow and look for things that could be wasting time or drawing your attention away from the task at hand.
4. Plan your week on Sunday
Going into Monday with a plan for your week will help you transition from the weekend to a productive work week. Take some time on Sunday to plan your week, breaking your weekly goals into daily tasks. If you know that you tend to be lower on energy on Mondays or during other specific moments throughout the week, schedule low-priority tasks for those moments. If you know your productivity peaks on Tuesday and Wednesday, schedule your most creative and demanding tasks for those days. If you have weekly team meetings, consider putting them on Thursday, when your team’s energy is likely to begin declining. Then use Fridays for planning and networking.
5. Create a daily plan
Spend a few minutes at the end of each day to create a daily to-do list for the following day. This will make it easier to include items that you may be tempted to put off until another day. It will also help you get right to work when you walk into the office the next day, as you’ll know what tasks you need to start with. Another trick to motivate yourself is to word items on your list as if you have already completed them. For example, instead of putting "submit report" on your list, write "report submitted."
6. Create a "done" list
If unexpected tasks come up throughout your day, create a separate list next to your to-do list as you accomplish these additional tasks. On Sunday, review your to-do list along with the additional bonus tasks to increase your confidence and help you create a list of goals for the next week.
7. Complete your highest-priority tasks first
Complete your most important and most demanding tasks first. Not only will this ensure they get done on time, studies show that the first hour of the day is your most productive. In fact, research shows that your brain can focus more easily when it’s less alert, as there isn’t excess energy for other thoughts.
8. Block out distractions
Put your phone on do not disturb and put it in a drawer so it’s out of sight. You may also want to consider turning off instant messenger or closing your email so you aren’t distracted by new incoming emails. It’s also a good idea to close all windows other than the ones you’re working in. If possible, shut your door so you’re less likely to be disturbed. If you have a coworker or boss who periodically stops by your desk, consider making a quick stop by their offices before beginning your focused time. You may also want to consider using noise-canceling headphones or turning on music to drown out distractions.
9. Monitor how your time is spent
Knowing how you’re managing your time is an important step for great time management. Consider taking one or two days and documenting each task or activity you do. You could also use a productivity app that will monitor your activity on your phone or computer.
10. Reward yourself for difficult tasks
Because it’s natural to want to avoid difficult tasks, reward yourself for tackling those unpleasant or difficult tasks directly. For example, allow yourself to take a break and go on a walk or work on something that you genuinely enjoy as a reward.
11. Take care of yourself
12. Delegate responsibilities
If you are in a leadership role and continually find yourself behind schedule or working through lunch, you may need to consider delegating more of your responsibilities to your team. To begin delegating effectively, know who your go-to team members are and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Make sure they understand the goals and expectations as well as deadlines. It’s also important to make yourself available for questions and to let them know what resources are available for them.
Have a “Reply by XX Day” folder
File the mail that need your reply in a “Reply by XX Day” folder, where XX is the day of the week. I set aside 3 days every week to reply to emails – Tues, Thu and Sat. This way I’m not pressured to reply immediate whenever I get the mail. I read it, mentally acknowledge it, and think over it until it’s time to reply (an average of 3-8 days from receipt of the mail).
I get a high volume of reader mail, and for a period of time I used to reply to every single mail that came in. It didn’t do anything for me. I would be spending the whole day just replying mail, and by the end of the day I would be drained out, unable to do any real work. And interestingly, pretty much all the mail I reply to never get a return response of any sort (not even an acknowledgment or thank you), even when I post follow-up questions to further help them. I suspect half the mail don’t get read, and the other half are mail which people send on impulse and replies don’t really matter. Either way, I have realized it’s a lot more effective to use the time on more high value tasks, such as working on high value and content-rich products, supporting my 1-1 coaching clients, new projects and writing new articles.
Don’t stress too much about replying to every single mail. Reply if it helps, but if the costs of replying don’t outweigh the benefits, then maybe it’s not worth worrying about it. Just let it be and things will sort themselves out through time.
Create template replies if you often send similar replies
If you look through your sent folder, you’ll probably find a trend in things you reply to. The mail I receive on my site can usually be classified in one of the few categories (1) feedback / thank you mail (2) 1-1 coaching (3) requests for book/product reviews (4) speaking inquiries (5) others. For (1) and (2), I use templates which I have written before-hand which I use in my replies. As I reply, I would customize them accordingly to fit the needs of the original mail. This saved me huge amounts of time, compared to in the past when I would type emails from scratch.
I subscribe to several newsletters – such as on fitness, self-help, blogging and business, but I don’t read all the mails they send. I don’t delete them either, because I know they have valuable information. Instead, I set gmail to automatically archive them to different labels (folders). Blog mails get archived into the blogging folder, fitness mails get archived into health & fitness folder, and so on. As of now, I have about 30 folders. I only read them when I want to get more information on the topic.
Decades later, classroom management is still a thorny issue for teachers. Nearly half of new teachers report that they feel “not at all prepared” or “only somewhat prepared” to handle disruptive students, in part because the average teacher training program devotes just eight hours to the topic, according to a 2014 report from the National Council on Teacher Quality. This lack of training comes with a cost, as teachers report losing 144 minutes of instructional time on average to behavioral disruptions every week, which comes out to roughly three weeks over the course of a year.
10 Ways to Manage Your Email Inbox—According to People Who Get 100+ Emails a Day
10’000 Hours/Getty Images
Between sifting through spam, crafting the right responses, and keeping tabs on the messages that require follow-up, staying on top of your inbox can feel like a job in itself. That’s why we picked the brains of professionals who have figured out the secret to efficient, organized inboxes—despite getting hundreds of emails a day. Because having a system in place can help you conquer even the most unruly inbox.
8 Proactive Classroom Management Strategies
Instead of handling disruptions after they’ve happened, it can be more effective to set up conditions in which they are less likely to occur. Here are eight classroom strategies that teachers have shared with Edutopia, all backed by research.
1. Greet students at the door: At Van Ness Elementary School in Washington, DC, Falon Turner starts the day by giving each of her students a high-five, handshake, or hug. “During that time, I’m just trying to connect with them…. It’s kind of like a pulse check to see where they are,” she says.
In a study published last year, greeting students at the door helped teachers set a positive tone for the rest of the day, boosting academic engagement by 20 percentage points while reducing disruptive behavior by 9 percentage points—adding roughly an hour of engagement over the course of the school day.
2. Establish, maintain, and restore relationships: Building relationships with students through strategies like greeting them at the door is a good start. It’s also necessary to maintain them over the course of the school year, and to repair them when conflicts arise. “The stronger the relationship and the better we understand our students, the more knowledge and goodwill we have to draw on when the going gets tough,” writes Marieke van Woerkom, a restorative practices coach at the Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility in New York.
3. Use reminders and cues: “Novelty—such as the sound of a wind chime or rain stick—captures young students’ attention” writes Todd Finley, a former English teacher and current professor of English education, who suggests using these techniques to quiet a noisy class.
For older students, give plenty of warning if you need them to follow instructions. Reminders and cues are helpful ways to encourage students to follow instructions without being overtly controlling or forceful. For example, if you can anticipate a disruption—such as students getting out of their seats if they finish an assignment early—give a short reminder of what they should do instead.
Reminders are commonly verbal, but can also be visual (flicking the lights to signal that it’s time to be quiet), auditory (ringing a small bell to let students know they should pay attention to the teacher), or physical (using a hand signal to let students know to get back in their seats).
4. Optimize classroom seating: When students choose their own seats, they’re three times more likely to be disruptive than when seats are assigned. After all, they’ll probably pick seats next to their friends and spend more time chatting.
But that doesn’t mean choice is always bad. Giving students a sense of ownership in the room, paired with clear expectations for behavior, can have surprisingly positive effects. A welcoming space can reduce anxiety and boost academic performance. Emily Polak, a ninth-grade teacher in Madison, Alabama, gave her room a cozier feel by adding a couch, a loveseat, rugs, a coffee table, and posters. Her students decide where to sit—but if they can’t get their work done, they get moved back to a desk. “Discipline issues have significantly decreased. My students seem to feel more relaxed and more motivated in a setting that honors their choices,” Polak says.
5. Give behavior-specific praise: It may seem counterintuitive, but acknowledging positive behavior and ignoring low-level disruptions can be more effective than punishing or disciplining students. Instead of focusing on specific students, offer praise for the behavior you want to reinforce. For example, tell students, “Excellent work getting to your seats quickly.”
6. Set clear expectations: Instead of just displaying rules for behavior, have a discussion with your students about why those rules matter. Bobby Shaddox, a seventh-grade social studies teacher in Portland, Maine, works with his students to create a list of norms—words such as inclusive, focused, and considerate—to build a sense of community. “It helps us own the behavior in the classroom,” Shaddox says. “Instead of a top-down list of rules that a teacher gives a class, these are words that we generated together. These are words that we believe in.”
7. Actively supervise: “Presence is crucial to maintaining classroom management and to effective delivery of instruction, and it’s a skill we can develop with effort,” explains Sol Henik, a high school teacher in Pleasant Hill, California. Although it’s tempting to sit at your desk and grade papers, that’s also an invitation to your students to get distracted. Be active: Move around the room, check in on student progress, and ask questions. It’s not about policing your students, but about interacting with them.
Use the 1 minute rule when replying
If it takes within 1 minute to reply, reply to it immediately and archive it. Don’t let it sit in your mail box for ages. It’s going to take even more effort letting it hover around your mind and being constantly reminded that you need to reply. Just make sure you keep to the 1-minute time frame when replying so it does not take more time than needed. This helps me to clear big batch of mail in a short amount of time.
Beyond the 1 minute rule, limit the overall time you spend in your inbox. The next time you check your mail, time yourself. See how long you take to process, read, reply, and sort through your mail. Then ask yourself how much of that time is well-spent. Chances are, most of that served absolutely no purpose.
At times, you’ll get emails which are alarmingly long. For these emails, scan through, see if there’s anything relevant to you, then process them accordingly. Reply if needed (and use the 1 minute rule); archive it if you don’t plan to reply. If you’re going to reply, don’t feel the need to revert with a lengthy mail just because the person wrote a long mail. The last thing you want is an email exchange of essays, which will inadvertently result in you falling into an email black hole. Log into your inbox, do what you need to do, and get out right after that.