I am not an expert in executive-functioning but, in my long career as a manager, CEO, chief financial officer and business owner in The Kaplan Group, I’ve worked with many talented individuals who deal with poor time management skills. Lateness can make life difficult for their boss, co-workers and themselves.
It could be learned behavior or a learning difference. An employee may share this information with you, but it is not your place to ask (and can cause legal issues to do so).
That’s all right. You don’t have to know exactly why an employee is struggling with time management to help them.
These techniques may help you help your employees stay on task and on time.
Keep Notes and Have a Review
Hopefully, you already have an employee review system in place. People with poor time management skills are often unaware of how their being late affects other people. They may believe that as long as they turned the report in before it was due to the client, everything is fine. They may not realize that turning the report in late meant you had to spend your weekend working on it.
Use time in your employee review to not only detail your employee’s positive attributes and achievements, but also the places where they dropped the ball, and why it was a problem. After you have made the employee aware of the problem, you can ask if they need help working on it moving forward.
Break Tasks into Small Chunks with Deliverables
If an employee has trouble getting reports or other large projects in on time, they may be feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes, asking someone to turn in a large project causes anxiety and stress, which may lead to procrastination and missed deadlines.
By asking for smaller, more frequent tasks, you make the task more manageable. Setting up regular check-ins will help reassure you that the work is getting done. The frequent deliverables may also help the employee manage their anxiety and stress about the job.
Encourage a Planner
Your office may use a project management system already. All employees must be properly trained on the system, but especially important for those with time management challenges. The project management system may not be enough for a struggling employee. They may wish
to purchase an old school paper planner where they can note personal deadlines. Writing deliverables down and keeping notes is essential to good time management.
So many offices today rely on email, Slack and IMs for communication. This can be a great way to get things in writing. Unfortunately, it can also be a horrible time suck.
To make the most of everyone’s talents, you may need to spend time helping employees develop some of the skills they lack. Luckily, there are many resources out there for people who want to improve their time management skills.
Written by Dean Kaplan