Time Management Skills for a Human Resource Manager

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Learning to manage time wisely at work is an important skill to develop for your personal and professional success. Time management is the process of planning and balancing responsibilities and tasks throughout the day, which helps people prioritize and ensure that important activities are completed on time. Listed below are ten (10) useful tips and techniques for time management.

Create a plan, a list of tasks or a set of work steps

By setting priorities through a plan, a list of tasks or documented work steps, you can limit distractions and define goals. Determine which activities are priorities, assign realistic amounts of time to each one, and set deadlines. Evidence suggests that those who set deadlines are more likely to accomplish and complete tasks.

Develop a system for prioritizing work

To manage time well, not everything can be considered a top priority. You have to consider the nature of the task, the person who delegated it, the time frame requested, and the need for it.

To this end, the "Emergency Model" is an ideal system of prioritizing work that many professionals find useful in categorizing tasks and determining priorities. Essentially, it classifies tasks into one of four categories:
  • Urgent and important: tasks that must be done, are urgent, of high consequence if they are not done
  • Not urgent, but important: the tasks to be done are important, but not urgent
  • Urgent, but not important: tasks that can be postponed without major consequences
  • It is not urgent and it is not important: tasks that are not necessary, if ignored, will not have significant consequences

Schedule demanding, unpleasant or important tasks first

Work on the most difficult or urgent tasks first. By scheduling the most difficult, unpleasant, or important tasks during the most productive hours (which are usually at the beginning of the day), there is a greater chance of completing tasks and completing them efficiently.

Group similar tasks together

Find and track patterns in your tasks and schedule them in blocks of time. Grouping similar tasks that have something in common or are interdependent is a useful way to manage time. For example:

  • Filing paperwork
  • Listening and responding to voicemails
  • Responding to emails

Also, consider grouping small, quick tasks for less time allocation. Keep an ongoing list of these tasks on your desktop.

Delegate

Delegating responsibility is a smart and effective way to reduce stress and increase productivity.  If you have direct reports, or handle others indirectly, take advantage of the tasks you can delegate. Organize your tasks as follows:

  • Tasks to do
  • Tasks you can do but others can help
  • Tasks that others can do but you can help
  • Tasks others can do

Remember also the general rule of delegation: if someone can perform a task at least 80% as well as you, the ideal is to delegate.

It's okay to say "no."

Many professionals find it difficult to say "no," but it is essential to manage time effectively.

Committing to too many projects can affect the quality of work. It is important to value your own time and realize that sometimes it is okay to say "no" to additional work that is not a priority, or to accept work at a less busy time. Know your key responsibilities, focus on your top priorities, and learn to say "no" when additional responsibilities might reduce your effectiveness or the quality of the work.

Another good rule of thumb is to say "no" to one responsibility (or delegate it if possible) before taking on another. This ensures that you won't become too overburdened and that you'll keep your responsibilities balanced.

Minimize and prepare for distractions and loss of time

Distractions and wasted time are a fact of life. Common distractions and wasted time at work include email, phone calls, meetings, socializing, social media, smart phones and the Internet. To reduce the time spent on these distractions, schedule time and breaks for these activities.

Also, schedule some flexible time during the day and overestimate how long tasks or projects can take. It's better to have too much time than not enough. By providing a buffer, there is less chance of over-scheduling.

Improve concentration

Concentration and focus can be improved by taking steps to improve the work environment and mentality. Keep a clean, clear, organized desk or office and make your workspace as comfortable as possible. Clean out your desk at the end of each day.

In addition, you can improve your mentality by not multi-tasking, focusing on one task at a time, and switching between high- and low-attention tasks. Staying healthy and getting enough rest can also help improve concentration and focus.

Treat the end of the day as your deadline

Don't get into the habit of staying late at work or bringing your work home. Treat the end of the work day as if it were your deadline for your to-do list. This will force you to set reasonable expectations for yourself every day and accomplish everything you want.

Keep track of your time

For at least one week, keep track of how you spend your time. Write down your tasks and activities, and how much time you spent on them. Analyze how your time was used, specifically what work took more time/less time, etc. and where the time was wasted.

This exercise is extremely useful and revealing because it tends to illuminate where you spend your work time unproductively.

By developing these time management skills and using these tips, we hope that you can get more value from your work time, improve your productivity and performance, and have more time to spend on the things that really matter to you outside of work.

Read More... Advantages and disadvantages of time management

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