4 Probabilities of Success with Time-Management Training

By Dirk Zeller

Your first step in getting your employees on board with time management is to find out how efficient they are currently and to assess their strengths and weaknesses in terms of time management. As you gather information about an employee’s time-management strengths and weakness, you may find it helpful to consider the four probabilities of success:

  • Knowledge

  • Skill

  • Attitude

  • Activities

When you improve employee performance in any one of these areas, your staff becomes more productive — and the individuals on your team become more successful.

Knowledge of time-management principles

A strong knowledge of proven time-management principles can increase the volume of work your staff can complete in an eight‐hour day. Additionally, employees need to have a solid knowledge of their job and the responsibilities expected of them. When evaluating an individual’s time-management potential based on knowledge, answer the following questions — based on your observations:

  • Does the employee have the knowledge necessary to do his or her job in an efficient manner?

  • How well‐defined are this employee’s life and business goals?

  • Is the individual aware that time management is an important priority?

  • Are the business goals yours or the employee’s?

  • Does the employee know how to work effectively to meet time goals?

  • Do you talk about goals frequently and specifically enough?

  • Does the employee understand the 80/20 rule: that 20 percent of effort brings about 80 percent of results?

Skill in time-management techniques

Skilled time managers usually acquire their expertise through practice, trial‐and‐error, and daily use of techniques (as well as a few failures). Your staff has to develop time-management expertise in the same way.

Employees who have time‐related skills — such as the ability to organize themselves and their work area and use tools such as Evernote, Google Calendar, a CRM (customer relationship management) solution, time-blocking, and organizers — are likely more efficient. Look at your staff and ask the following questions:

  • Is the employee able to use organizational techniques and tools, including technology?

  • Does the individual’s work area seem organized and tidy?

  • Do you notice that the person has difficulty diverting interruptions?

  • Does the employee prioritize each day for the next before leaving for home?

  • Have you noticed whether the employee regularly uses a planning system to track upcoming commitments or even the next day’s work? Does he or she do this every evening or only once in a while?

  • Is the staffer able to use a scheduling system to organize his or her day?

  • Is the employee able to consistently keep commitments — including arriving at work and making it to meetings on time?

Attitude toward improving time management

Attitude is one of the most important factors in success. Maintaining a positive attitude is a choice, however, and it’s one you have a right to expect your employees to make. A poor attitude leads to negative results and — you guessed it — more wasted time.

Even if skills and knowledge are on the weaker side, a good attitude makes for faster and greater improvement in time management skills. As you study your employees, ask these questions to determine their attitude toward time management:

  • Is the employee open to learning new techniques and skills to increase productivity?

  • Has the individual proactively sought out advice or made efforts to improve time-management practices?

  • Has the staffer exhibited a positive attitude in other situations in which improvement was needed?

  • Does the employee convey confidence that he or she is able to develop more time‐efficient habits?

Activities

In the business world, action is king. The biggest increase in productivity comes from selecting the right activities on which to spend your time. As you evaluate your employees’ activities, you may include these questions:

  • In which activities does the person spend his or her time?

  • How does the employee’s eight‐hour day break down? What percentage of his or her time is spent on each of these activities?

  • Does the staffer avoid or postpone activities he or she doesn’t like?

  • What activities is the individual most comfortable doing? Are those activities best for the department and the company?

  • Does the employee accept direction in terms of prioritization of activities?