Every HR manager has a lot on their plate, but HR managers in the manufacturing industry take “busy” to a new level. You manage employee timekeeping, mediate disputes, monitor benefits and maintain compliance like any other HR manager.
But thanks to the manufacturing labor shortage, you also constantly have to recruit, hire, onboard and train new talent. Trying to keep up with everything on your plate can feel like being trapped on a hamster wheel that won’t stop spinning.
Who has time for better time management?
You do. Here are five signs you need to keep reading to learn about five proven strategies to conquer each workday.
5 Signs of Poor Time Management
When you’re not managing your time or tasks well, it’s easy to spiral into a vicious cycle. You're probably on your way if you relate to these five signs.
- You’re constantly rushing and often late. Because you’re always in a hurry, you can’t do your best work. And when you’re always walking into meetings and appointments at (or after) the last minute, you’re rarely as prepared or focused as you’d like.
- You’re overwhelmed because everything on your list feels urgent. You’re so busy trying to keep up with your to-do list that you don’t have time to set clear priorities, so you never know where to start or what’s most important.
- You’re forever putting out fires. When you don’t have time to be strategic, you ignore minor issues until they explode into crises—and once they do, you can count on it taking three times longer to sort them out.
- You work late, come in early or take work home. Your work expands beyond the workday, so you put in extra hours—but you resent how your work eats into your personal life.
- You feel stressed, impatient, frustrated and burned out. Maybe you used to love your job and the people you were fortunate enough to work with, but lately, you’re on edge and aggravated all the time.
Unfortunately, the worse you are at time management, the further behind you get. And poor time management doesn’t just affect you: because you’re managing others and interacting with candidates and new hires, your stress can be contagious.
When you can’t devote time and attention to people, they feel unimportant. That leads to higher churn and the need to hire even more people. At the same time, you might have candidates rejecting great offers because they sense the toxic culture that poor time management can create.
Fortunately, there’s a way out.
5 Strategies to Improve Time Management
You already have too much to do, so don’t try to implement all five of these solutions simultaneously. Start with one that resonates with you and build from there.
- Clarify your priorities. If everything is a priority, then nothing is. Create a few bright-line rules to define your top priorities. For example, you might decide that talent acquisition always takes precedence, so you commit to spending the first hour of every day responding to candidate questions and maintaining engagement with your best candidates.
- Delegate more. Tasks that aren’t your top priority may still be urgent or important, so delegate them. Struggling to let go of tasks because you don’t have time to train someone else to do them? Delegation is the way to escape the time trap—so move training to the top of your list.
- Automate candidate recruitment and screening. No one said you had to delegate tasks to a person. Delegate more of your communications by using recruitment automation technology that can handle much of the pre-interview process. One easy place to start is by exploring platforms that offer text recruitment to maintain candidate engagement and answer common candidate questions.
- Stop multitasking. Think you’re great at multitasking? Science says you’re probably not. Instead of juggling multiple tasks simultaneously, try time-blocking: setting aside a specific period to focus on your top priority task. Turn off your notifications and close your office door to minimize distractions during your focused block, but maintain your availability by scheduling office hours or designating “meeting” and “no meeting” days.
- Identify the root causes of your excessive workload. For example, do you spend too much time replacing employees due to excessive churn? Invest more in exit interviews to determine why so many people are leaving. Do candidates keep rejecting your offers? Follow up with a few to ask what you could have done differently. You can reclaim your time when you identify and correct the root causes contributing to your overflowing to-do list.
It’s easy to get trapped in the vicious cycle of poor time management, but it’s also possible to extract yourself. With one or more of these five steps, you can regain control of your workday and to-do list.