Tips for Improving Time Management and Productivity as a Manager Balancing Priorities and Minimising Distractions for Maximum Output

By Julie Goh (13 Jan 2023)

Two skills that are critical to any manager are time management and productivity. They allow you to make the most of your time and resources in order to achieve your goals.

Good time management allows you to focus on the most important tasks, minimise distractions, and stay organised, while productivity is about maximising your output and getting things done efficiently.

The Negative Impact

Managers who are bad at time management and productivity can have a negative impact on their employees. When a manager is disorganised and inefficient, it can create a chaotic and stressful work environment, leading to reduced morale and productivity among team members. Employees may also lose confidence in their manager's ability to lead effectively, which can lead to a lack of trust and commitment to the team. If employees do not have confidence in their manager, they will look for better opportunities (or a better manager) elsewhere.

Additionally, when a manager is consistently behind schedule or misses deadlines, it can create additional work for other team members and lead to resentment and frustration.

Tips to Improve Time Management & Productivity

Here are a few key strategies that managers can use to improve their time management and productivity:

1. Set clear goals and priorities: Before you start working on any task, it's important to have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish. This can help you to focus on the most important tasks and avoid wasting time on less important tasks. To set clear goals, try using the SMART criteria - make sure that your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This will help you to create clear and actionable goals that you can work towards.

2. Create a schedule: A schedule can help you to plan your time more effectively and ensure that you are making progress on your goals. This might involve setting aside specific blocks of time for different tasks or using tools like to-do lists to help you stay organised. When creating your schedule, try to be realistic about how much time you can realistically devote to each task, and be sure to build in time for breaks and unexpected interruptions.

3. Minimise distractions: Distractions can be a major hindrance to productivity, so it's important to find ways to minimise them as much as possible. This might involve turning off your phone or email notifications while you work or finding a quiet place to work where you won't be interrupted. It can also be helpful to create a designated workspace where you can focus on your work without distractions.

4. Delegate tasks: As a manager, it's important to recognise that you can't do everything yourself. By delegating tasks to your team, you can free up your own time and allow others to take on more responsibility and grow their skills. When delegating tasks, it's important to be clear about what you expect and to provide the necessary resources and support for team members to complete the task.

5. Take breaks: While it's important to stay focused and get things done, it's also important to take breaks and give your mind a chance to rest. This can help you to stay energised and avoid burnout. Taking breaks can also help you to refocus and come back to tasks with a fresh perspective.

6. Use technology wisely: Technology can be a double-edged sword when it comes to productivity. While it can help you to get things done more efficiently, it can also be a major distraction. Be mindful of how you use technology, and make sure that you are using it to your advantage, rather than letting it consume your time. Consider using tools like time tracking software or productivity apps to help you stay on track and make the most of your time.

7. Avoid multitasking: While it may seem like multitasking can help you to get more done, research has shown that it can actually decrease productivity. When you try to juggle multiple tasks at once, you may end up taking longer to complete each task and making more mistakes. Instead, try to focus on one task at a time and give it your full attention.

8. Set boundaries: As a manager, it can be easy to get caught up in work and feel like you always need to be available. However, it's important to set boundaries around your time and make sure that you are not working around the clock. This might mean setting limits on after-hours emails or making sure that you take breaks and disconnect from work when you are not on the clock.

9. Seek feedback: Another key aspect of time management and productivity is being open to feedback and learning from your mistakes. Regular performance evaluations can help you to identify areas where you can improve your time management and productivity and seeking feedback from your team can help you to understand how you are perceived as a manager and what areas you might need to work on.

10. Find your productivity sweet spot: It's important to recognise that everyone has their own unique productivity sweet spot - the time of day when they are most alert and able to focus on their work. For some people, this might be first thing in the morning, while for others it might be later in the day. Experiment with different times of day to see when you are most productive and try to schedule your most important tasks for those times.

11. Get enough sleep: Finally, it's important to prioritise sleep and make sure that you are getting enough rest. Lack of sleep can have a major impact on your productivity and your ability to make good decisions. Make sure to get enough sleep each night, and if you have trouble sleeping, consider trying relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing to help you wind down before bed.

By following these strategies, managers can improve their time management and productivity skills. This in turn will help managers to better achieve their goals. It's also important to remember that time management and productivity are skills that can be developed and improved over time, so don't be afraid to try new strategies and see what works best for you.

The author is an award-winning HR Sifu with, who has made significant improvements in how HR operates in multiple retail and high-volume/fast-paced companies. Complimentary consultation sessions with HR Sifu are available for all paying customers.

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