Have you ever jumped to a task thinking that you’ll finish it in no time, only to realize that it has consumed a large portion of your work hours and you’re nowhere near the end?
Losing track of time can often happen at work, leaving you to wonder where all that work hours have gone. If you want to identify what’s preventing you or your employees from keeping track of time at work and make the most of it, keep reading.
This article will show you why this is happening, offering effective steps you can take to improve employees’ focus so that they keep track of their time at work and be more productive.
Losing track of time can happen for all the right reasons. When your employees get immersed in creative work they may get so focused to forget everything around them, not paying attention to time. This deep focus often leads to the high-quality outcomes, you expect from all of your teams.
However, employees who can get easily lost in their work may miss deadlines set for other projects or may forget to appear at an important meeting.
On the other hand, employees can lose track of time for numerous wrong reasons that prevent them from doing their best work.
Numerous Unnecessary Meetings
If your employees’ schedules are packed with meetings, they can’t find enough time to focus on ongoing tasks. The best way to fix this issue is to consolidate all the burning topics and host one team meeting, instead of having numerous sporadic meetings throughout the workweek. Knowing that their schedules aren’t crammed with endless meetings can help your employees to keep track of their time and workflow.
If you’re running remote teams, you need to rely heavily on digital tools to streamline communication and optimize business processes. This means that your employees can get dozens of notifications daily, feeling pressured to check them out immediately. This constant switching between different tasks may shatter your employees’ focus, making them lose track of time.
Unclear Goals and Expectations
Employees may feel lost and frustrated when they don’t know what to do or why they’re doing something. When they have to tackle tasks with unclear goals and expectations, employees may lose more time than expected trying to figure out what to do or seeking much-needed guidance.
Now that you know what makes your employees lose track of time at work, let’s see what can you do to help them be more time-efficient.
When you assign projects with unclear or vague objectives and scarce resources and guidelines, you can’t expect that your employees will perform flawlessly. Quite the contrary, They will most likely feel lost and confused wondering what they need to do or where to start. This will take up most of the employees’ time leaving them feeling frustrated and incompetent to do their job.
So if you want your employees to tackle their tasks effectively, and complete them within set deadlines, try to break large projects into smaller tasks, outlining clear outcomes, responsibilities, and expectations. Furthermore, try to offer detailed guidelines and resources needed so that your teams can achieve set goals, making the most of their time at work.
Poor time management is an easily fixable issue. There’s an array of different time management practices that you can implement to help your employees keep track of their work hours. For example, timeboxing and time blocking can help you create time frames for a single or a group of similar tasks so that your employees can stay focused on specific tasks during one time block.
The Pomodoro technique is increasingly popular among employees because it successfully combines 25-minute work sessions with 5-minute breaks. Employees tend to be highly productive and focused during these short spurts, knowing that they can use mini-breaks to check their emails, Instagram feed, or to have a snack.
In the remote work era employee wellbeing has become a top priority for most businesses. While working remotely can bring so many benefits to employees, they can often feel overwhelmed by their workflow or isolated from the rest of the team. They also may feel urged to overwork to ensure their managers that they are highly productive, losing track of time along the way. All these feelings may lead your employees to burnout, a dangerous condition that can seriously harm their health and run down their productivity.
This is why you need to direct all your efforts toward improving remote employees’ well-being. You can start by defining work hours when you expect them to be available for work, encouraging them to turn off work-related notifications after set hours.
Furthermore, encourage employees to take a break when they need it. Overworked, exhausted workers won’t get any job done, they can only slack, waiting for the day to end. But if you give them an opportunity to take short breaks several times a day, to refresh, reenergize, and regain focus, you can expect them to deliver quality work, without wasting any more time.
Everybody works differently. We all have a time of the day when we are most productive. According to this, there are 3 predominant chronotypes:
- AM-oriented – These employees work best in the mornings while their energy tends to drop as the day progresses.
- PM-oriented – They like to start their day later, leaving tasks that demand deep focus for afternoons or evenings.
- Bi-phased: These workers are highly motivated in the mornings while their energy tends to drop during the day, only to pick up again in the evening.
You can’t test your employees to determine their chronotype and delegate their tasks accordingly. But you can use remote work software to track their activities and show you how their productivity fluctuates during the day. Your employees can use this information to reorganize their workflow, dedicating most productive hours to demanding tasks, and leaving routine tasks for later.
Time is an elusive concept. This is why it is easy to lose track of it, especially when you’re overwhelmed with the workload, or distracted by constant notifications. If you want your employees to become time-efficient and remain highly productive offer the help and support they need to avoid these time-wasting traps and achieve their goals.