Tips on Effective Time Management

It seems we hear it from all our employees. Our foresters, sawmill managers, hardwood lumber traders and sales assistants are all pressed for time.

No matter what your role within an organization people are often pulled in many directions. They are asked to help with an array of issues and challenges, and called upon to address a wide-range of varying problems. For us that includes daily events like loading a new container with red oak, quoting out the latest available inventories of kiln dried sapele, or finding the next load of green white oak to purchase. The trouble is, there’s only 24 hours in a day. Time slips away before we achieve everything we set out to do.

Throughout our organization, we have stressed the need for our leaders and managers to emphasize effective time-management best practices with their teams. In doing so, we have come across a few tips that help employees become more productive (and less stressed). Maybe some of these will be beneficial to you.

Proactively schedule creative thinking sessions.  Unfortunately, people sometimes let their most productive times pass by while responding to emails or taking part in meetings. Once these frequently unproductive duties are completed, “they feel too exhausted to deal with genuinely important tasks.”  We suggest people schedule specific periods of time during their most productive times of the day to think creatively.  Also, urge people to experiment with it! Have them find the time of day that best suits this type of activity and stick with it.

Stress being an expert on your company’s products and services. Obviously, your team has a good working knowledge of your company’s offerings. But there’s always something more to learn.

Chief Executive recommends people to put aside time, “perhaps monthly or quarterly, to roll up your sleeves, get down in the trenches and walk through the customer funnel.” Over the long run, this could save them time for their critical decision-making when they have an enhanced knowledge of what your customers want and need.

Reduce daily distractions. In this age of distraction, one can easily fill their time looking at emails, texts, and social media postings. But these distractions diminish our overall productivity, and rarely enable the business to grow.

Consider having your team block off time to attend to these tasks (maybe later in the day). They might find they have a renewed energy and focus when they keep these distractions to a minimum.

Plan activities in advance. Time-management experts often suggest creating a list of tasks and objectives near the end of the working day for the day to follow.

Making plans this way enables people to “overcome procrastination, get started, and keep going,” notes author and speaker Brian Tracy. Putting the next day’s goals on paper before going to sleep means you will “mentally prepare yourself to do them before you even wake up the next morning.”

Time is our most precious commodity. By emphasizing with your teams that they should be looking to follow a few effective time-management techniques, they’ll make the most of this key element and hopefully be even more productive and help lead you to even more success!

Tony Cimorelli
The Baillie Group
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