Helping your team manage time better

Time management is not only a matter of personal discipline.
It also draws upon observation of the environment, the general organization of the team and of the company... even in the attitude that "authority" takes toward the urgent and the important.
Never say "just organize yourself better!"
Even if time management involves anticipation and organization, the command to "get yourself organized!" is always counterproductive. A co-worker who organizes his work poorly or not at all is a co-worker who lacks key information needed to do it: clear objectives, a view of "who does what", support or even authorization to "say no" to certain incoming requests or to be unavailable, knowledge or skills necessary to work autonomously, etc. In addition, the first question to ask is rather, "what has not been done, concretely, and what prevents it from getting done?"       
Be ready to introduce changes
When a team complains of an excessive workload, we sometimes wish they would just "do the best they can" because we don't intend to reconsider the volume of tasks, the division of duties, the process, inter-service relationships... or our own way (oneself, the manager) of managing time.
Whereas if we accept that there may be things to change, things that we have control over, then at that point a real search for solutions can begin.       
Take the time to understand
It takes time to use your time well! Though it goes against the grain, it is impossible for a manager to give useful advice in "sound bites" to an overwhelmed team. It requires rather taking stock of the problem, laying out its different aspects, isolating the factors... in other words working on a subject which is delicate because impalpable, until we start getting into concrete and factual elements.       

Each question has only one correct response, but be careful: among the possible responses there is one that is "almost correct" and might make the choice harder!

1 / 3   A task not done…
Your colleague, Sandrine hasn’t made progress on an important task. What do you say to her?
But I just don’t understand, you said it would be ok for today.
Sandrine knows this! She will reply “Yes but…” and you won’t have got very far.
What prevented you from doing it ?
There’s a risk you’ll get the answer “I didn’t have time”
Is there a reason why this task isn’t a priority for you?
You get straight to the point: Maybe Sandrine considered that there would be no consequences, or perhaps other tasks were more important. Best discuss it with her.
Does this mean that you didn’t realise the importance of the task?
The question is interesting, but the way it is put is a little abrupt and could freeze Sandrine up
2 / 3   How can we someone aware of time wasting?
Merlin, who is very talkative, spends much more time than necessary on the phone with his interlocutors. Because of this his more administrative tasks are neglected and he complains that he’s snowed under. What do you say to him?
It’s normal you’re snowed under; you spend too much time on the telephone. You could shorten your conversations and make time for other things.
No chance he’ll adhere! If he takes as much time as he does on the phone, it’s because he feels it’s necessary.
Which tasks are you not able to do?
You bring him round to thinking about the problem. You can then question him on the consequences.
What takes up most of your time during the day?
The question would be more pertinent after asking question 2, once what has not been done has been explained.
What can you do to spend less time on the telephone?
Premature! Merlin still hasn’t adhered to the observation; he’s not yet ready to propose a solution.
3 / 3   Coping with the workload
Your team’s workload is increasing more and more. You notice that this is effecting both the atmosphere and efficiency, what do you do?
You put your trust in the team, believing it will adapt. You do nothing for now.
If you are noticing signs of exasperation, best intervene.
You decide to lighten the load of 2 collaborators who are finding it most difficult and take on part of their work.
Bad idea! Getting more involved in the work will prevent you from thinking about a solution and won’t resolve the collective problem.
You get the team together: “We have a lot of work at the moment and we need to find ways of being better organized, to help us be more efficient”.
It would be best to share your observations first: The team probably needs to talk about what it’s going through.
You get the team together: »Our workload has increased and you must be finding it more difficult to manage. I’d like us to analyse the situation together.
You take into account the problem and will then identify what is most important in order to be able to try different solutions.
Your score is
You finished!
To review the questions and responses, please choose from the list below.