Time management tips and skills for managing of business team

The most popular time quote

“Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.”  TOMAS EDISON

„Lost time is never found again“. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

“We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it”. ROALD DAHL

“Time will explain it all. He is a talker, and needs no questioning before he speaks”. EURIPIDES

“One who daily puts the finishing touches on his life is never in want of time”. SENECA

“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late”.  WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend”. THEOPHRASTUS

“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it”.  STEPHEN R.COVEY

“We must use time as a tool, not as a crutch”. JOHN KENNEDY

“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?” HENRY DAVID THOREAU

“Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.”  WINSTON CHURCHILL

“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.”  JIM ROHN

“Time management tip is Triple 8 Principe: 8 hours sleep, 8 hours work and 8 hours is free time”. UNKNOWN AUTHOR

What is time management?

Time management is the process of planning, organization, and control of time consumption to different activities performed in the purpose of increase working productivity, profitability, and efficiency.

Managing of time of your team or yourself defines success and results of tasks performed in the short term as well as overall objectives achievement in the long term.

With excellent planning and organizing each working day, managers and team members will be more productive, deadline focused, and strongly efficient.

In the days of the COVID19 period and after that, time management skills are more required considering the increase of remote work.  When people work remotely, the management intends to increase control of their activities and how they spent their working time.

The working world is changing. In nowadays business conditions there are a significant number of new or changed working activities caused by new technologies and digitalization of business process:

  • Use of lot of software and different tools
  • A lot of different digital activities
  • Data processing activities are more required
  • Data protection activities are more required

Such activities, altogether with other regular activities at workspace additionally increased of time management skills relevance.

In this text, with our time management tips, we tried to explain how to improve time management of your team, and establish better control over time consumption by your employees.

The consequence of bad time management

1. Deadline missing

Bad time management may cause confusion and unorganized work. If there is no time planning or allocation per task, it is usually that people will be overloaded or working overtime which increases the risk of deadline missing.

2. Unorganized work impact other team members

A person with low time management skills may disrupt other people and impact on their work. It happens that a person usually asks for assistance, sends to many calls, schedules unproductive meetings, gives useless phone calls. That could reflect to the whole project and the whole team. Also, if the employee wastes a time inappropriate way in one phase of the project, the employee engaged for next phases will be waiting for initial phases end that multiple impacts of overall time consumption.

3. Low productivity

If tasks are not organized properly, on the basis of time management principles, that leads to low productivity. The input of total time is less than the result that is expected (output)

4. Low results on employee evaluation

Time management skills are one of the basic conditions for an excellent evaluation of employees. People with good time management skills are usually more efficient and effective (they have enough time for creative thinking). Otherwise, people with low time management skills spent their time on the low performing activities, which implies lower assessment at the evaluation process.

5. Management issues

Each project result depends on the team selected for project execution and managing of a project by its leader. If the project leader faces with team members who do not possess good time management skills, that could impact on project results.

Therefore, the team leader has to develop its team not only in technical skills but in time management skills as well. In the case of the absence of timesheet tools or employee time tracking, there will not be proper control over the project execution stage.

6. High stress

It is obvious that unproductive behavior and inefficient performing of working activities produce more personal stress to the employee.

7. Not enough time for private life

In a case overtime is a consequence of unproductive behavior caused by low time management skills, the employees will not have a good balance between work and private life. That impacts on overall life satisfaction.

8. Personal confusion

People with low time management skills are always in a rush. Lack of time for newly coming activities may lead to total confusion and chaos.

9. Low energy

People with lower time management skills need more effort to do the same task comparing the people with good skills. As a result, more effort means more energy consumed.

Do you know that salespeople spend only up to 30% of their working on selling?

Benefits of time management in a workplace

1. Better working productivity

Developing of time management skills means an increase in your and employee productivity. Educate yourself in time management and lead your team efficiently.

2. Better working conditions, salary, bonuses

People with better time management skills usually get better salaries, advancements, and overall working conditions.

3. More free time for private life

If you are organized more efficiently, the fact is that you will have more time. More time for family and private life mean more productivity on work. So time management skills are crucial to achieving such balance.

4. Less stress

Time management skills enable more time to enjoy! As said, no rush – no stress!

5. More energy and motivation

Think about the input and output ratio. You invest time, motivation, energy, and what you get! Take care that output always overcomes the input.  Save your energy with good planning, organization, and leadership.

6. More personal satisfaction

The crucial benefit of good time management is more satisfaction in general. More free time, more productivity, better working conditions, less stress mean higher satisfaction.

Let’s consider essential time management tips:

Essential time management tips

Be master of your time – suggested time management tips

1. Always set overall goals

Overall goals should be realistic, measurable, controllable, timely, and sometimes conflicting.

The example of time management related goals could be:

  • Hours of free time per day
  • Share billable hours in total hours (utilization rate)
  • Total time spent on project or task
  • Monthly hours per employees
  • Overtime per employees
  • Defined time structure per different activities (30% to sales activities)

Let’s see the example of the objective dashboard:

Hour structure and Utilization

2. First things first,  let’s have something to eat

Define the main challenge in a project or task and put initial resources to this task.

Let’s deal with matters of the highest complexity first. In case you leave the most complex task at the end of the project, if something goes wrong you could have time issues to complete the whole project.

Think in advance, predict your challenges.

3. Set priorities

List all activities that could be completed in a related project or task and make a plan. For each planned activity set priority grade e.g. high, low, and medium. Also, you need to set a timeline for all tasks and perform periodically control of execution.

4. To-do list is your friend

Prepare a very simple and efficient to-do list, on paper, smartphone, or desktop.

Use reminder alert but carefully. Reminders should be settled only for important and urgent issues. Otherwise, a high number of reminders could impact your focus.

5. Ask for help!! Get task-related advice

If you have difficulties in doing some tasks you may require a lot of time to discover how to handle that. Someone who is close to you perhaps knows that. When you have a time-consuming challenges, ask someone with more experience in the task you do.

6. Delegate task to your team

If you are a manager, always try to delegate the routine or simple tasks to your team!

BUT IN ORDER TO DELEGATE TASK YOU NEED OT HAVE INSIGHT IN YOUR TEAM MEMBER AVAILABILITY! Therefore, it is important to use timesheet tools for tracking the time of all team members.

7. Make a list: what is important and urgent

Manage time and energy-consuming drivers

Manage time and energy consuming activities

8. Make time budget of each task or task group

Do you know how much time you or your team spent on certain tasks, projects, and clients?

The time structure per different types of activities?

What time utilization rate is?

In order to have excellent control over these questions, make a time budget, for yourself and other team members per each task, project, or client.

9. Control budgeted and achieved time and find reasons for deviation

Compare your time budget per each employee, task and projects with real-time consumption. Such a benchmark is an essential technique for performing corrective actions.

10. Avoid multitasking

Multi-tasking consumes energy and focuses which leads to more time consumption. Therefore, you need to group similar tasks in a certain period.  When you prepare an overall time allocation plan you can group routine activities to be performed in a certain period of time (e.g. preparing proposals will be always done between 15 PM and 16 PM).

Do not check inbox every 10 minutes!

11. Take a break and enjoy five minutes

Refresh yourself in a short break. Do small things that make you happy and satisfied.

12. Think twice if you want to list social media news

Social media time consuming can be very useless. Take care of how that impacts your activity plan and productivity. Schedule a specific time to visit social media.

13. Turn off alerts on non-useful apps

Many alerts from apps, desktop or smartphone may disrupt your focus. Set alerts only for important and urgent tasks.

14. Use timesheet online apps and track your time easily

Today there is a lot of good online tools for time tracking and timesheets automation. Usually they are working on the basis of data entries by staff that require only five minutes of their time.

You record hours or minutes spent per working task, client and project and hourly rate (by selecting items from drop list). Timesheet tool provides excellent time consumption reports for employees, projects and clients.

Such a tool helps you to improve of productivity,  to manage project costs and offer relevant data for invoicing.

The fact of implementation of timesheet or time tracking tools increases firm productivity by 10% by default because the employees are aware that its work is efficiency measured.

15. Define specific period for email, phone call response, meetings, and visitors

Do not answer phone calls and emails all the time. Just make sure a specific time for this. Also, avoid unexpected and unqualified visitors. Ask your assistant to make an assessment of the purpose end urgency of any meeting. Set a specific time for internal meetings.

16. Work smarter not harder

Use some minutes just for thinking! Try technic of visualization of success where you can project all challenges in doing some task and make you ready for that.

17. “Close your office”

In case your office is opened and welcomed for everybody, you cannot manage your focus on business. You want to help people but do it more efficiently. Determine the specific time for welcoming people into your office.

18. Do not be busy, be productive

Always re-consider your productivity and do not rush!

Dangerous time wasters

  • Use of smartphones and other digital devices (use of smartphone for unproductive activities dramatically increase!!)
  • Phone calls (answering phone calls each time can be a significant time waster, just schedule a time for not urgent calls our set reminders)
  • Meetings (Purpose and meet results should be defined in advance)
  • Noisy open space or inappropriate working space
  • Constant inbox checking
  • Useless alerts
  • Routine tasks (due to new technology and digitalization of business, routine task are more automatized. Ina case you waste a lot to time for routine actives, try to find some automatized solutions)
  • Multitasking (according to certain research only 3% of people is able to perform multitasking effectively while others are usually overloaded and unproductive)
  • A lot of apps and software in use

Working time consumption facts

By our research of consulting companies that employ from 15 to 50 people, the overall conclusion is that time is not properly spent considering position and activities:

Structure of time consumption in consultancy companies

The conclusion is that:

Partners spent too much time on work on projects, administration hours and internal compliance activities. According to our research in case of partners spent too much time on projects and administration such firms are faced with limited growth.

Besides, in general, the analysis shows that all positions spent a significant portion of time on administration and internal activities. In such conditions, considering of employment new administration staff would be an option. Also, in the case of administration activities reach a significant portion of total hours, another option would be the outsourcing of some routine functions.

If the company employs 30 senior consultants, if we apply the result of this analysis the conclusion is they spent approximately 750 hours for administration activities per month.

Juniors also spent too much time on administration activities and not so much to crucial educating activities.

All positions spent minimal time on education.

Managers spent too much time on internal activities – compliance, administration, etc., while time spent on sales (including cross-selling and up-sell activities) is minimal.

Also, all positions spent minimal time on business development. Today, this function is the most important having in view new demands, new technologies, and complex and specific transaction that implies new innovative services. In order to increase the time spent in business development there are few options:

  • Reorganization of time per position and determination minimal time for business development
  • Employment of persons what will perform business development only
  • Outsource this function to the management consulting firm.

Appropriate timesheet online tool

Without appropriate timesheet online tool partner and managers cannot be aware of the spent time structure of their teams.

Let’s considered the following question and make a short diagnosis about managing time of your business.

  • Do you feel that you do not have insight into how much time your managers or team members spent on some project, client, or type of activity?
  • Which clients are low profitable due to high time consumption?
  • Why is someone working overtime?
  • Do you know what is share of billable hours in total hours spent?
  • Is overtime consequence of a realistic increase in project demands or caused by unproductive behavior of the employee?
  • Do you know which clients waste more time?

Managing time of your team

If your team includes 10 members, and if they work 8 hours per day, total annual time consumption is approximately 20,000 hours. Such hours are valuable input of company resources. Do not forget that each of these hours costs. Therefore, only taking control over time consumption may assure the outputs and expected results.

Do you think that detailed insight in all-time allocation per each employee, task, project, and client gives you more powerful leverage for doing business?

As said, time management is the process of planning, organization, and control of time consumption to different activities.

Comparing of expected and real-time consumption per different tasks can give the full picture of time-wasting and ideas for improvements.  Only if you have excellent control over time consumption supported by time management app, you can manage your team time efficiently.

In order to make excellent time analytics of your team, it is preferred to list all tasks that your team does. However, such a list should be standardized and not too long while all task items should be addressed to general function.

For example, usual functions in Service Company suitable for tracking of efficiency and productivity are:

  • Administration: (office management and maintenance, drafting internal documents, invoices, scanning, printing, e-banking and payment operation, post office and delivery related activities)
  • Work on the project – engagement in providing services to the client
  • Business and services development
  • Human resources (recruitment, employees admin, evaluation, education, and development)
  • Legal and compliance
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Meetings
  • Purchasing
  • Events
  • Holiday and days off

If you have a will and good plan, managing of time of your team is easy process that can be automated with efficient tools and online platforms.

P.S. Finally the time is quantity limited, it cannot be bought, cannot be saved or warehoused and cannot be increased.

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