Time Management in a Hectic HR Environment

Time Management in a Hectic HR Environment

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Time Management in a Hectic HR EnvironmentTime Management in a Hectic HR Environment:  There is no such thing as a typical day in Human Resources.  I am sure that just about any HR professional can attest to this statement.  You may think that you have the day or week planned out, then BAM! an unexpected event occurs.  It can be something as small as a last minute meeting to a time consuming DOL audit.  Whatever the circumstance, it is crucial for HR to maintain day-to-day tasks, while managing whatever crisis just popped up.  

Here are a four ideas that can help you to manage your time regardless of the unrelenting requirements of HR:

  1. The Early Bird Gets the Worm:  Make a practice of going into the office 30 minutes earlier than the rest of the staff. This time is extremely valuable.  Use it to create a brief checklist of up to five items that must be completed by the end of the day.  You may have time for more, but focus on the first five throughout the day.  This way, when you are pulled away from a project, you are able to regroup much quicker.  Keep your list visible and handy, so that you are able to check off the items as you complete them. I don’t know anyone who does not love to check off tasks boxes!  (If an early bird option is not possible for whatever reason, try to create a plan in advance.  Either have your top five checklist ready from the previous work day, or write it out the moment you get in.)
  2. Clean Slate:  After your top five to-do list is created, take a moment to clean out your email box.  Tons of unread emails will make anyone feel bogged down, making it difficult to catch up.  Starting each day with a clean slate of emails will ensure that you never miss anyone’s request, from the CEO to the receptionist.  If you have a difficult time with this, now is the time to get started. Take a weekend and clear out that box!  You are not helping yourself or your organization with all of those unopened emails.  Side affects of an overstuffed email box can also make you appear unorganized and inattentive to employees and upper management.  When you have a clean email box, you are able to respond quicker and more efficiently to your organization’s needs.  You will also avoid missing an email that required tasks for which you could have been prepared to handle.  Instead you have to rush around to find a quick solution, appearing disheveled.  I am not saying that you will always get to see that ‘unreachable white section’ at the bottom of your inbox, but that reducing the amount of unopened emails will take a huge load off of your plate.  Tip: Moving emails to folders as soon as they come in OR flagging emails that require a follow up are also helpful ways to remove clutter from your inbox.
  3. Reading Time:  Schedule at least 30 minutes to an hour to catch up on articles, legal updates, and other resources provided to keep you up to date on HR related topics and requirements.  You will have to schedule that time on your office calendar, so that everyone (who may want to schedule a meeting or event) is aware that you are busy during that time.  I realize this cannot be done every day, but planning this time will certainly increase your reading time! Just try it, and you will see results!
  4. Refocus:  Last but certainly not least, an effective HR professional must master refocusing.  After that unexpected emergency is resolved, learn how to refocus on your tasks at hand.  Remember your top five list?  Take a moment to review your list so that you are able to get back on track.  And away you will go!  Taking care of business!  Time Management in a Hectic HR Environment

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