One of the biggest challenges many of us face is the difficulty of managing individual priorities when working with other team members. In past articles, the Quantum Learning team has shared effective strategies for both leaders and team members on time management and avoiding a constant state of Crisis. Since we’ve shared tips on how to manage time properly, we thought we would also share a list of indicators or habits that may raise some red flags. Here are our 5 Habits of Highly Unproductive People:
- Ineffective Communication: Not communicating realistic priorities and clear directives can be a huge time waster for team members and leadership. Just as if a ship receiving vague or inaccurate directions wastes time adrift, relaying unclear information will have the same result on your team. Being upfront, clear and realistic about the urgency of the task and when it really is needed is a great way to reverse this flaw. Don't make everything a top priority. If it is a really important request, explain why it is so critical so your team member understands the urgency.
- Not Having an Effective Meeting Structure: Attending a meeting with no defined purpose or reason is again like a rudderless ship. Time slips away as team members and leaders drift in circles, accomplishing little and wasting precious time. Managing meetings effectively includes making sure the meeting not only has a purpose, but it consistently starts on time. Team members unconsciously note the importance of the meeting by how casual the start time is. Allowing meetings to always start 5-10 minutes late will send a message to team members that they really aren't expected to be on time. Just as important as start times are ending times. We’ve all been in the meeting that seemingly drones on forever and since there is no defined end time, no one feels the urgency to get their information across in a succinct way. Allocate follow-up tasks and communicate responsibilities to everyone. Good meeting management is essential for managing time spent in teams.
- Being Joe Interuptus Allotus: Interrupting unnecessarily is a surefire way to confuse the topic and de-rail productive conversations. It may be easier to call on team members for answers and also designate someone as a timekeeper to keep the meeting moving forward. When constant interruptions occur, it makes it harder for team members to accomplish their own priorities.
- Abusing Text Messaging: Few of us can resist the “ping” of a new text message and though often times it is necessary to address both in the moment, it can also be a time-waster as well. If you find yourself (or a team member) sending text messages to ask simple and non-pressing questions, it can be very similar to the constant interrupter in company meetings. Be respectful of your fellow leader's or staff’s time by only using real-time options like text messaging when it is absolutely critical and you need an immediate reply.
- Clogging Up The Email Feed: We all want to keep our fellow team members “in the loop,” but continually sending emails with a "cc" to everyone on your team is not essential. All business professionals can attest to feeling swamped with way too many emails and reading one that isn't really important is a real time waster. Make sure you only "cc" people on emails when it is essential everyone on the list is involved.
Key Take Away
It's never been more important to respect the time of your team members. Everyone is working off of a long list of goals and priorities they need to accomplish each day. Eliminate these 5 Habits of Highly Unproductive People and you and your team will notice a remarkable improvement in focus and productivity.
Need some more tips and guidance on taking control of your time management efforts? Quantum Learning Solutions is proud to announce a special radio show podcast on the topic of Time and Priority Management.
Susan Cullen, President of Quantum Learning Solutions, was a guest on the "Let's Talk Sales" radio show, to discuss her sought-after methods for enhancing Time Management. She shared ideas that can help you learn to prioritize better, set effective goals and learn the difference between what's REALLY important and what's just urgent. As a result, you will feel more in control of your time, less stressed, and able to accomplish more each day. For more details and to access this free Time and Priority Management pre-recorded radio show: