Top 10 Time Management Tips for Teams: How to Ensure that Your Team Stays Focused While Remaining Happy and Healthy

One of the best ways to improve time management is as a team.Teams and their environments can have a huge impact on how focused and productive team members are. In this post we give you 10 time management tips that can help your team increase its performance while creating a more vibrant and stronger team culture in the process.

Teams and how they are structured have a lot to do with effective time management. Rather than being a problem for each person to deal with on their own, time management issues are better dealt with in combination with others. 

Not only does physically being in the company of, and spending time with the rest of the team help keep team members more mentally focused and able to keep on track, but teams can play an active part in creating and shaping environments and processes that are more conducive to concentrating on important tasks and time management.

Why teams are critical when it comes to time management 

How can they accomplish this? Well, that’s what we’re here to show you. In the following list we’ll go through some of the most effective time management tips that we have to offer. You may find that many of these tips aren’t so common-place, and may touch on other aspects of teams. 

That’s because, as we mentioned in our last blog post, what’s most important with time management is figuring out what your priorities are and acting on them. So when it comes to time management on teams, it’s crucial to consider your overall team structure, and the processes by which your team determines and achieves its goals. This can encompass areas outside of the ones traditionally associated with “time management”, like communication, and creating more collaborative relationships. 

In other words, when your team environment as a whole is functioning healthily, there shouldn’t be so many issues with time management. It’s when cracks appear in your team environment that time management starts to get messy, whether it’s because team members aren’t motivated, don’t feel inspired, have workflow issues, or what have you. 

So without going on for too long, here is our list of 10 tips for time management that will also help you build a stronger team in the process. Remember, teams are powerful when they bring everyone together. The same is true with time management, which can often be solved by coming together.  

Top 10 time management tips for teams

1. Prioritize goals as a team

First on our list of top time management tips is to set priorities as a team. Setting priorities is the best way to manage time in general. By doing the work to figure out what is truly important, and which tasks are necessary to accomplish long-term goals, you naturally create a framework for focusing on those tasks and allowing other tasks to take up less space on your to-do list. Remember, focus is all about making decisions, and when you know which direction you’re headed in, it’s much much easier to make those choices. You’ll finish a task more easily, and be more motivated to accomplish it, when you know that it means something.  

On teams there is the added necessity of bringing everyone together and on the same page. When you decide on priorities as a team, you’re able to get everyone involved and active in the process. This allows team members to “buy-into” the goals that you’re setting, as well as the team as a whole, and makes forward-thinking skills more widespread. 

2. Get in sync and collaborate

Next on our list of time management tips is making sure to schedule more time together. As we explained last time, we  feel more motivated to do things when our schedules are synced to other people’s. In other words, having other people around is crucial for how we manage our time.

As a team, you are blessed with having other people around you working towards a common goal. Lean into this natural advantage by encouraging more group collaboration and scheduling time where you are working and brainstorming together. This is especially important for remote and hybrid teams, where team members can often feel cut off from the rest of the team and on their own.

With more time spent working together, you can effect a greater synchronicity among team members. In turn, this allows for better workflows, communication channels, and even the formation of new ideas. All this means that your team will be able to focus better and become more productive, and it’s all as a result of spending more time together.   

3. Takes breaks and get distracted (together)

This might look weird on a list of time management tips, but hear us out. Taking breaks and getting distracted are actually necessary to becoming more focused and managing your time better. The reason is simply that we’re not machines, and our minds need a refresh now and then. Taking a break that gives us some “mindful mindlessness” can actually make us concentrate and get more done when we come back to work, and may help us work through complicated tasks and problems. 

Of course, not all distractions are equal. As we’ve emphasized before, there is an important distinction between  creative distractions (exercise, creative pursuits, light mental stimulation, cleaning, light socializing etc.) that leave you feeling energized and refreshed, and disruptive distractions (social media, news, TV, etc.) that leave you drained and more unfocused, or even unable to pull yourself out of the distraction.  

Teams have the opportunity to add a little team building to creative distractions by taking breaks together. This could be something simple like coffee breaks taken at the same time (like they do in Sweden), happy hours, or fun and quick icebreakers during lunch. Or it could be something longer and more planned, such as longer team building programs (like the ones at Invite Japan, many of which are puzzle-based), or offsite trips and retreats. Putting regular team building sessions in your team’s schedule can also further add to the synchronicity of your team (see above).  

4. Celebrate successes and try “Tasks Accomplished” lists

One of the most interesting and powerful time management tips is the importance of acknowledging your successes. Why is it important for time management? Because when you celebrate your successes, you create the psychological motivation to succeed more. This will make you want to accomplish more from your task list, and maybe even make you want to branch out and try new challenges, partly in order to feel that same sense of accomplishment. 

Celebrating successes as teams likewise affects their time management by motivating them to continue to succeed (or at least to attempt to succeed). You can celebrate success in a number of ways, from parties to fun team games and activities (like outdoor scavenger hunts, for example) to just a simple dinner. Acknowledging the success, so that team members want to do more, is what’s most important.

There’s a personal time management tip that I came across that is connected to this. Instead of creating to-do lists, which tell you all that you still have left to accomplish, it recommends writing “tasks accomplished” lists, which list what you have already done that day (or week, or month, etc). 

The genius of this method is that it taps into that same idea of celebrating success as means of motivation. When we see a big long list of things we need to do, many of us feel overwhelmed. But when we see a list of things we’ve done, we feel better about ourselves and more motivated to do more. It also gives us more freedom to figure out what’s important, and to learn for ourselves which tasks that get completed make us feel happier. 

You can also use “tasks accomplished” lists as a team. It’s a great way to showcase for the rest of the team all the work that each member has been doing, and to get everyone on the same page as well.        

5. Use the right tools for your team

That brings us to the next on our list of time management tips, which is all about finding the time management tools that are right for your team. Which means that it’s time to address the plethora of time management tools and methods and processes that are out there. Basically, our position is: Whatever works for you!

Listen, we know that people have strong opinions about scheduling vs. listing vs. goal-setting. And there tons of project management tools, many of them online and in app-form, that are great at organizing team’s schedules and getting teams to focus.

But all those options are up to each team to decide. What we want to emphasize is that teams should find the right tools that fit their needs. For some, it may be an app. For others it might be classic schedules. Decide together, based on your knowledge of your team and its internal dynamics, and don’t be afraid to let go of some tools in order to try different ones. That’s really the only way to find a good time management method, or to make any decisions about your team in general. 

6. Give feedback and share opinions openly 

We’re halfway through our list of top time management tips, and we still have a lot of good ones left. Next on our list is making sure to give feedback and share opinions. Feedback is on this list because it’s crucial for giving team members a sense of what direction to go in, and what they need to improve.

A lot of failure when it comes to time management has to do with not being sure about the work we are doing or what we should be focusing on improving. In these cases, it’s simply easy to fall back on easier or minimal tasks where the stakes are lower, but which aren’t actually building towards our long-term goals. 

Instead, as a team you can help each other by providing clear feedback about each other’s work, and helping each other see where they should focus more attention in the future. This will help ensure that team members know what direction to take their work in, and will help build communication and relationships on your team.

7. Learn from each other

Connected with giving feedback, another time management tip that will help your team get more done is taking the time to learn from each other. Everyone has different time management and productivity methods that work for them. So when it seems like someone on your team is struggling, offer them some of your solutions. By combining different methods and advice, you can find the ones that work best.

Another way to learn time management skills from other team members is by encouraging more mentoring relationships. This is especially important, because team members who have been around a long time usually know how to get things done more easily and efficiently, or have a lot of years of experience to share. Plus, the process of learning from other team members, especially those from different generations, will help contribute overall to a better team environment and sense of team unity.

8. Create healthy team workflows

Workflows are usually at the center of problems with time management, especially procrastination. This is why creating healthy workflows is one of the most important time management tips.

Workflows are the ways that work gets divided among team members. When team members feel overwhelmed with the tasks they need to complete, or unsure about which tasks they should be focusing on, it can lead to major problems with getting things done and achieving goals.

How do you get healthy workflows? The number one way is to make sure that workers have the time and space to finish the tasks that are most meaningful and important. That means creating a collaborative environment so that tasks can be shared and work passed around. This also means eliminating things like multitasking, which is a major cause of feeling overwhelmed, and unnecessary meetings that eat up team members’ imes. Setting expectations so that team members don’t feel pressured to respond to every email immediately, and giving team members time to take necessary breaks, is also crucial.  

9. Don’t overthink time management

If there’s one time management tip that you should walk away with from this blog post, this might just be it. Our main viewpoint in writing about time management is that oftentimes teams and individuals tend to overthink it and stress out about it too much. They adopt methods and advice that is trendy, or pay money for expensive tools and equipment that they’re not really invested in, some of which can actually waste more time in the end.

Time management shouldn’t be a chore, or an extra weight on your task list. Getting to effective time management means finding a purpose (or purposes), understanding it, and accomplishing it. That’s it. And on teams, it means allowing team members to do what they’re good at, and giving them the tools and resources to do so.

The point is, don’t overthink time management to the point that it begins to stress you out. Experiment with different methods, but don’t get worried when they don’t pan out. Be flexible and adaptable. And approach time management with a sense of curiosity and humility, not fear or anxiety.   

10. Try team building 

Last on our list of top time management tips is trying to do some more team building activities. How are team building activities related to time management? As we mentioned earlier, taking breaks and finding creative distractions to do as a team is useful for giving team members a bit of a mental refresh so that they can focus more.

But team building also helps teams with other items on this list as well. Goal-setting and communicating priorities? Check. Learning how to build better relationships and a healthier team environment? Check. Celebrating your successes and gaining a sense of accomplishment? Check and check.

Also, team building activities like the ones at Invite Japan are puzzle and challenge-based. Puzzle challenges are a good way to learn time management skills. You have a set amount of time to complete a task, you have to work together, and you have to process a lot of information at once. They also teach you to focus on what’s important, and to pay attention to the task at hand. So if you want a good way to make the most of your time as a team while having fun in the process, team building is the way to go. 

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