Boost Team Productivity
By Gail Doby, ASID
CVO and Co-Founder of Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting
Effective time management is the key to maximizing productivity. At the end of the day, it’s not the amount of effort you put into your work but what you do with that effort that produces results. With so many demands and disruptions vying for our attention, the challenge for many of us is keeping ourselves and our teams on task. Time blocking can help you stay focused and get more of what really matters done.
Time management guru Stephen Covey long ago pointed out that the secret to effective time management is to schedule your priorities to avoid frittering your time away on less important tasks. Wedding prioritizing with calendaring, time blocking seeks to do exactly that. The idea is to block out in advance the time you spend every day and/or week on various tasks and activities, devoting your most productive time to focus solely on your most urgent and important priorities. Set aside the times when you are less productive to attend to administrative tasks like responding to calls and emails, reviewing reports, doing research, and planning.
To the extent possible, try to schedule meetings for less productive times, and don’t neglect to schedule in time for breaks, meals, fitness activities and personal commitments. Blocking out all the time in your day rather than leaving unscheduled gaps will increase your focus on the task at hand, knowing that you set aside time to address the less important things later. Of course, we all know that stuff happens, so allow some flexibility and don’t worry if you can’t keep to your ideal schedule every day.
Use the same approach with your team. Have each team member set up their own time blocking calendar and coordinate with other team members on priority tasks, meeting times, leave time, etc. This will take some trial and error, negotiation and adjustments in the beginning, but stick with it. The improvement in performance and productivity will be worth it.
To learn more about this method of time management, just do an internet search on “time blocking.” You’ll find lots of articles describing what it is, how to go about it, and the benefits, as well as tips and information on tools to make time blocking easier, such as desktop planners, team software and mobile apps. You’re going to spend hours at your job. Make each one of them count.