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At Propel, we know there is never enough time in the day to respond to the myriad of priorities, tasks, challenges and issues that surface unexpectedly for people managers.  Ultimately, it can all feel a little overwhelming.  However, what’s important is for leadership to remind your team of what’s important.  When done correctly, this can lead to cultivating excited and productive employees. Below are four tools for you to get more time in your day and out of your team:

  1. Develop a Weekly Schedule
    Managers need to provide guidelines to help their employee’s breakdown their weekly tasks into subtasks. This can be done in many different ways from employees scheduling their week in Outlook or using a simple weekly printout. The ability to look at the whole week and accordingly block off time for specific tasks in intervals. This will change your employees’ perspective from concentrating on the day-to-day tasks to developing a longer view of weekly goals and striving to achieve them.
  2. Encourage Each Employee to Develop a List of Deliverables
    Each employee should have a list of key deliverables for the week and an estimate of the time required. This will allow the employee to compare the planned time versus the actual time it took to complete the task. This will help managers and employees identify issues that prevent them from achieving their deliverables.
  3. Track Employee Problems Using an Issue Log
    Employees can keep an Issue Log that briefly outlines the issue, the corrective action taken, and individuals involved. The Issue Log can be written or tracked within excel. The primary purpose of tracking this information is to identify reoccurring issues that may be impacting more than one of your employees. Managers can prioritize issues and strategically resolve challenges that are of highest priority for their team.
  4. Conduct Weekly Check-Ins
    Installing scheduled weekly check-ins will serve as primary forum for management to address individual employee’s priorities, key issues and tasks. This will reduce the need for employees to do drive by check-ins throughout the week interrupting your work. The goal of weekly check-ins is to get beyond the point of, “it’s fine,” and dive into deeper problems that require a resolution or management intervention. Weekly check-ins should be scheduled in advance to ensure they are consistent. This will reduce the stress of having them for both parties. Just like any other meeting, weekly check-ins require preparation from both parties to ensure the best use of time.  We use the same agenda for the check ins’ to ensure the key topics are covered.  The agenda is simply:

    1. Results – the employee should reflect on past project accomplishments, learnings
    2. Schedule – upcoming goals for the week.
    3. Issues – any impediments they foresee to successfully complete their tasks.

In the beginning, it may feel like implementing these four tools to get more time in your day creates more work as issues are brought to your attention.   However, when used on a consistent basis you will miraculously find more time in your day.  Try it out and let us know what you find in the comments below.

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