The internet is full of time management strategies and products. Everywhere you look, you will find promises of magical improvements in managing both your time and your team’s if you just use this product or that strategy.
It’s hard to choose!
Time management is a key productivity tool for effective team management.
The first, and one of the most important, steps for effective time management is realizing that no single time management system or product works for everyone.
The key is to find the right tools and systems that work for YOU, your team, and your business.
You need to consider your business needs, your brain type, and what different tasks and team events you need to manage.
Today I’m going to talk about different time management tools that can make you and your team more productive.
Paper Planners & Calendars
Paper planners and calendars come in all shapes and sizes.
Some are short and concise, others extremely detailed.
Consider how much detail you need to plan your days, weeks or months. You may need each day broken down into hours or half hours if you have a lot of meetings or appointments to track.
If your job is more project oriented, a weekly planner broken down by days may be better.
Don’t try to buy whatever the latest trend is; find something that works for you and your team.
You don’t have to do this, but if it makes you feel better, every year in mid-December I spend at least an hour at Office Depot or Target. It’s a sight to see, I’m sure, because I pull one copy of every single planner that I like the cover of (and some that I don’t) and take a seat in the middle of the aisle and go through them one at a time until I find the one that feels the best for my needs at the time.
Sometimes I do this again in June when the school-year planners come out because my needs have changed by that time!
Time Management Apps
Some people prefer electronic planners that are always available on the computer or their phone.
The advantages are many:
Your calendar can be accessed by your team—and you are able to access theirs—for scheduling meetings and work events.
Phone apps allow you to access your schedule from just about anywhere.
Certain apps allow you to connect your email and some team management apps to your calendar for ease of scheduling.
Team Management Apps
Team management apps help you keep your team organized on many different fronts.
Project tracking apps create a central location in which each team member can update and manage any project tasks that are assigned to them. Other team members are able to view the project details or project overview in real time, upload project files, and more.
Team Communication apps allow team members to send messages back and forth. In addition to one-to-one messaging, you are able to create message groups where work teams can communicate. A project group would be made up of all people working on a certain project, whereas a department communication group would allow all members of a department to message each other.
Document storage apps do just what the name implies. Each worker has their own private document storage area, but they can choose to share documents with other workers since everyone is creating documents on the same platform.
Systems & Templates
It is important to establish consistent systems and templates for team functions that happen on a regular basis.
Developing systems and templates not only saves time and streamlines many processes, but also presents a consistent and high quality message to your clients.
Systems and templates will make you, your team, and your business more efficient. The following are examples of business processes that benefit from systems and templates.
As you look through them, imagine how much more productive that function could be in your company if you had set templates to use or documented systems to follow each time that function occurred:
Sales calls and follow up
New client onboarding (registration, agreements, forms)
Client activity tracking
Team communication & management
Team meetings (before, during, follow up)
Parting ways process
In addition to using a common document storage app (discussed above), systems are also important for hard copies.
Whether storing in a central location or converting to electronic documents to be stored on the shared drive, it’s important that everyone use a consistent format so they can find what they need to find when they need to find it.
Creating Rhythms and Routines
So how do you put all of this together?
When I work with a client we assess all of the needs above and then create rhythms, routines, and templates based on the assessment results.
Once these systems are put into place, the results speak for themselves:
Team management becomes easier and more effective.
Individual performance increases.
Work-life balance becomes easier to achieve.
The is more consistency in the services provided to your clients - they get the same amazing experience whether they see Suzie at 9:30 am, you at noon, or Joe at 4:30 pm
Increased revenue and referrals
Allow Variation Within Each System
It’s important to remember that within each system there needs to be room for each team member to breathe, explore, and find their own balance.
Each individual works differently, and may have to adjust the system to fit their work style and their needs.
These adjustments are a form of self care—the employee is validating their work style within the systems you have created. This, in turn, helps to create a beneficial work-life balance for you AND your team!
Creating an effective time management system is crucial to improving team and individual productivity.
Business owners need to look beyond general time management tools and establish rhythms and routines at micro levels that enable departments and individuals to streamline functions at all levels of the business.
Are You Looking For Help Establishing Systems in Your Company?
Developing a comprehensive plan for systems and templates in your organization can be an overwhelming task if you are already running a business.
As a productivity coach for service-based businesses with 5 or more employees, I work with busy business owners to map out their needs and develop systems that help to increase productivity for you and your team.
If you are interested in learning more, click below to schedule a complimentary consultation.
We will discuss your needs, your goals, and how I can help you get there—one step at a time!
Until next time,