6 Ways to Improve Time Management Skills for Your IT Team

Walid Abou-Halloun

Posted by Walid Abou-Halloun Date: Oct 20, 2022 8:15:51 AM

Did you know that poor time management has a huge impact in the workplace? 

When deadlines aren’t met, it isn’t just the workflow that is being affected; the whole business process adjusts in one way or another. When projects are delayed, tasks pile up. When timelines aren’t managed, quality suffers  

But this shouldn’t be the case, especially in a highly specialised field like IT. 

Processes and timelines in IT are crucial in this digital age. In a fast-paced work environment, time is always of the essence. If timing and schedules aren’t handled well by your project manager, IT professionals often find themselves overloaded and stressed at work. This affects the output of your team in the long run. 

In a study, the real cost of poor time management goes beyond project delivery. It affects the business’ finances, as well as the morale and relationships of team members. 

So how can IT professionals improve their time management skills? Here are some ways to do it. 

1. Set Goals 

How you and your team use your time is driven by your goals. That’s why it’s all the more important to set them from the get-go.  

Why are goals important? This is a non-negotiable part of every process, and even time management wouldn’t be possible without a goal. It doesn’t only keep you on track with your plans and actions, it also helps measure success at the end of each project. 

SMART goals

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Action-focused, Realistic, and Time-bound. 

  • Specific – The goal must be set with definite numbers and deadlines. 
  • Measurable – The goal must be trackable and quantifiable in a sense. 
  • Attainable – The goal must be feasible and sensible. 
  • Realistic – The goals must be practical and not out-of-this-world. 
  • Time-bound – The goal must have a defined timeline. 

    Time management becomes easier when your goals meet this criteria. From overall business goals to specific project objectives, the success of a project isn’t hard to reach when all team members are on the same page. 

    It’s the same for IT professionals. Goal-setting is a key aspect of working in the field to help your team be as efficient and productive as possible. 

    2. Plan and Organise 

    Planning is guided by your goals. Once objectives are specified, it wouldn’t be hard to plot your next actions. 

    Create lists and use tools. Today, many apps are available to help you plan actions and organise tasks. Most smartphones, tablets and other digital devices have pre-installed apps you can use, like notes and calendars. Some even more useful tools are available online for download. Just find the ones that best suit your needs. 

    One important thing to tell your team: never rely on your memory alone. Always jot down notes and keep reminders. IT teams work and coordinate with a lot of people and departments every single day, so what you might think is just a menial task might easily become a huge setback if not addressed. 

    To-do lists still work best. If your team have tons of tasks to accomplish, listing them down makes sure you are covering all points and not overlooking anything. 

     Whatever means you choose, the important thing is you plan and organise in the most effective way for your team. 

    3. Prioritise 

    Not everything can be done at once. Even when most of time clients tag all tasks as “urgent” or “rush”, there’s always a deliverable that must be prioritised over the other. Communicating this clearly with your clients or team members helps keep everyone on the same page. 

    Timeline is important in determining an item’s level of priority. How soon is it really needed? Does this task have a pre-requisite? Will the other tasks be affected if this one doesn’t move first? 

    Prioritising assignments is like a chess game. You must plan every move to make sure the others won’t be sacrificed. 

    That’s why setting real deadlines is important. While different parties want their job order to be on top of the priority list, it just doesn’t work that way. One way to identify the level of importance of a deliverable is assessing its impact on day-to-day operations. If a task is more time-bound, then it gets higher priority. 

    IT professionals can benefit a lot in prioritising items in their to-do list. For instance, when a system breaks down and employees from different departments start frantically calling through to your team’s hotline, it can be stressful if not handled properly.  

    Deploying solutions one sure step at a time is better than trying to attend to all problems at once and not solving anything at all. 

    4. Focus 

    Once you prioritised deliverables, focus on the task at hand. Don’t go shuffling your list based on convenience or preference—go over them according to priority and commit to it. 

    Eliminate distractions and set your eyes on finishing priority tasks. You’ll be surprised with how much time you’re going to save when you avoid checking unimportant emails, chats and social media notifications in the middle of a task. You’ll finish sooner and won’t need to do overtime. 

    Contrary to popular belief, multitasking is not really productive. Doing multiple tasks at the same time may cause inefficiency and affect quality 

    Focusing on a single deliverable at a time helps you gain momentum and channels all your energy to finishing that task. You can jump right into the next task once you finish the current one anyway, so why bother stressing yourself to doing both simultaneously? 

    Of course there would be times that you will be asked to multitask especially as an IT expert. By all means do them, but strategise ways where you can multitask and achieve optimal results that won’t place added pressure on yourself, team members, or the delivery of the task at hand. 

    5. Stop Procrastinating 

    In the workplace, deadlines seem to become the big enemy in every task. This doesn’t need to always be the case. 

    Sure, working with a very tight deadline is a nightmare for every professional, but timelines are actually your friend. They set the expectations straight from the very beginning and can be just the thing you need to back you up when pushing back on someone or another project. 

    So who’s the real enemy? 

    Procrastination is the greatest villain of time management.

    Many people are guilty of procrastinating, and IT professionals are no exception. 

    While it may be tempting to put off tasks that are hard or at least not very exciting to do, it will do you no good. Procrastination can also double your stress and anxiety even more when the deadline draws near. 

    Don’t wait for the last minute before you start ticking off your task list. Even when the deadline is days or weeks from now, start as early as possible. Allot a few hours everyday to that specific task. Make sure it never goes stagnant and is moving even if it is only little by little. 

    You’ll be relieved when you managed to deliver results on time without pulling an all-nighter or making up excuses as to why you missed a deadline. 

    6. Delegate or Outsource 

    So what if work is overflowing and deadlines are keeping most of your in-house personnel busy for the entire month already? Even worse, what if there are requirements that would need highly specialised skills that aren’t available in your current team?  

    Chances are you’ll bump off some tasks to free up some hands or you’ll just let go of the account completely. Don’t. 

    Delegate tasks to your team. Monitor their workload and never let one person take on the whole chunk. Avoid overworking your staff or asking them to do tasks outside of their job description, as this might lead to a toxic workplace environment. 

    Or simply, outsource. In fact, you can enjoy a lot of benefits from recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) 

    One is getting the right talent you need when you need them. This is becoming increasingly important for projects that don’t really require full-time personnel or workloads that fluctuate depending on projects 

    Interested in RPO? Our recruiters have ready-made solutions to help you with IT recruiting. 

    Embed Time Management into Your Business DNA 

    Time management is a core business driver. It is easy to be occupied with the new trends in the market, but going back to basics is always a good idea.  

    Improving productivity within your team may be hard to apply regularly, but it’s never too late to get started. Why not involve the whole team and see what they do to effectively manage their time? 

    Consult with your team. Know their challenges and collaborate for solutions. When you successfully embedded time management to your company culture, projects will go smoothly as planned and your team will be much efficient (and happier), too. 

    Follow our blog for more tips and trends in the IT industry. 

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