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9 Time Management Tips for L&D Professionals


A woman juggling multiple tasks with sticky notes floating around

It is reasonable to assume hundreds, if not thousands, of books about time management have been published in the last two decades. It is easy to conclude that there was and is a steady demand for it, which is still growing. Why? People are more aware of managing their time and, most importantly, value their time. 


L&D is a field where time management is very crucial. We're responsible for creating, delivering, and evaluating training programs. Each of these tasks requires careful planning and organization. But here's the thing: time is only sometimes on our side.


Let us first identify some common tasks for L&D managers that often consume a significant amount of their time and make time management challenging.


  • Addressing skill gaps - This can be a very daunting task and often requires a lot of time and resources from laying out the framework of assessment, analyzing it and creating a report with detailed solutions. 

  • Creating initiatives - Initiating a new training program demands considerable time and effort from the L&D manager.


  • Getting Buy-in from Stakeholders - Gaining support and making the perfect presentation for stakeholders is complicated and requires a lot of research and brainstorming sessions with other departmental heads.

  • Working and clarifying with vendors - Coordinating with external parties requires a lot of patience and good communication. We will never know when there will be an urgent call from their side or changes they might put forward. Sometimes, this might require us to plan again from scratch. 


Heavy pressure to meet deadlines while being expected to deliver high-quality content consistently takes a toll on the self. It's vital to know how to tackle each of these issues; otherwise, it would lead to burnout. Let's explore the 9 time management tips explicitly designed for L&D professionals. 


1. Set clear goals and priorities


Before undertaking any task or project, the most critical question is: Where are we heading? What is most important along the way?


These two questions help us understand the goals and how to break them into sizable daily chunks. 


It is crucial to pick what projects we want to work on in the coming days. Once it is done, divide the tasks into two ways - Urgent tasks and important tasks.


Urgent tasks need to be done immediately, like responding to an urgent call to finalize the budget with a vendor or fixing technical issues during a training session.


While important tasks are fundamental for long-term goals. For example, if we aim to improve employee performance, we might prioritize tasks like developing interactive training modules or providing one-on-one coaching sessions for the coming weeks.


2. Use a Time Tracking Tool


A smiling person typing on a laptop next to a large hourglass on a table

One crucial aspect of effective time management that people need to talk about is knowing how one can waste it. Okay, that statement is contradictory, but let us explain it more. 


Invert method - You can apply this method by asking yourself the following questions-


"What steps can I take to achieve this task as slowly as possible?"

"How can I make this day mismanaged and chaotic?"

"What are some of the most obvious time management lapses?"


This gives us a concrete idea of where we are wasting time and what practices we must eliminate.


We can use time-tracking tools to help us understand where we waste time. One popular time-tracking tool is Toggl. It's simple to use and allows L&D professionals to track time spent on different tasks with just a few clicks. 


Another option is Rescue Time, which runs in the background and automatically tracks time spent on different applications and websites, giving insights into where our time is going.


As an example, one of the manager's responsibilities is to interview and select the best L&D specialist. By using a time tracking tool, the manager can determine which part of the process is taking the most time and whether the time invested is producing a worthwhile outcome. We have to constantly find ways to increase efficiency and make the process as frictionless as we can. 


3. Create a daily routine


Daily routines are vital, especially for L&D professionals; our days can be chaotic, filled with last-minute changes and meetings. 


Having a routine provides stability and consistency, reducing stress and increasing productivity. 


James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, argues in his book that it's important to hold yourself to a schedule rather than a deadline. Although deadlines may sometimes be necessary, following a schedule is much more effective when doing important work over the long term.


So, to simplify further, create your daily routine with the most critical tasks like planning and researching the study material to do at the beginning of the day, and at the end of the day, when we are least productive, do rudimentary tasks like reviewing and responding to emails that don't require deep thoughts, while also keeping in mind to allot time to do urgent tasks that might come up in need to need basis.


Remember to build in breaks, too! Taking regular breaks helps maintain focus and prevents burnout. Whether a short walk outside or a quick stretch, find what works best for you and schedule it into your routine.


4. Delegate tasks

 

Humanity is where it is now entirely due to our species' teamwork and collaboration. How incredible is it to know every monumental thing we have achieved to this date is because of a group of people coming together to work with each other? 


Especially in a field like L&D, collaboration is where all major work lies. So, delegating work to each member with clear communication makes the entire department work smoothly.


As an L&D head, what are the important reasons for delegating your tasks? 


Delegating tasks lightens your workload, allowing you to focus on high-impact projects. It's all about working smarter, not harder.


What tasks can be delegated? 


Look for tasks that are time-consuming but don't necessarily require your expertise. This could include administrative tasks, research, or even simple data entry. You can also delegate tasks to curate content from existing courses or previously developed ones. 

 

As an L&D manager, properly training those working under you is also your job. There is no other way to make them learn than to do it themselves. 


5. Limit distraction

 

We are currently living in an age of distraction. Even when watching something entertaining, we still occasionally give our phones a quick peek.


Tech companies are making smartphones as addictive as possible, and it works. But it is our responsibility to know how to navigate through it.


Being an L&D team leader makes it vital to know the everyday distractions and the best ways to overcome them for yourself and your team members.  


Common distractions include endless meetings that could have been an email, incessant phone notifications, and the temptation to check social media. These distractions disrupt our workflow and make it difficult to concentrate on important tasks.


Start by setting boundaries for phone use and with people. Designate specific times to check messages and social media, and keep your phone out of sight the rest of the time.


6. Utilize Time blocking


It is a very effective tool when it comes to time management. Time blocking is all about setting aside dedicated blocks of time for specific tasks or activities. It helps you focus on one thing at a time without distractions pulling you in different directions.


Let's say you have a big project to tackle, like designing a new training program. Instead of squeezing it in between other tasks, block out a chunk of time on your calendar for this project. During this time block, focus solely on brainstorming ideas, creating content, or whatever the task requires.


Another way L&D professionals can use time blocking is to allocate time for different activities throughout the day.


For instance, you might reserve mornings for creative tasks like designing courses for behaviour change or developing training materials, and afternoons for tasks that require less brainpower, like responding to emails or attending meetings.


7. Take regular breaks


Taking the time out to unwind should also be a priority in our daily schedule. We work best when recharged and in a pleasant state of mind. Our productivity increases when we give ourselves the time to feel restored.


Taking breaks helps to prevent burnout and mental fatigue. 


Incorporating short breaks into your workday can be as simple as taking a 5-minute walk around the office, doing stretching exercises at your desk, or stepping outside for fresh air. Just closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths can help clear your mind and reduce stress.


Another idea is to use the Pomodoro Technique, which involves working for 25 minutes straight and then taking a 5-minute break. Repeat this cycle a few times, then take a longer break of 15–30 minutes. 


This structured approach can help maintain focus while allowing regular rest periods.


8. Continuously improve time management skills


Refining time management skills helps us be adaptable and up-to-date in any situation. Folks in the L&D department are highly creative and natural problem solvers, and we find ways to improve in all areas we can. 

 

One way to improve is by seeking out resources for further learning. Books like "Getting Things Done" by David Allen or "Eat That Frog!" by Brian Tracy offer practical tips and strategies for managing time effectively.


Online courses are another great resource. Platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning offer a variety of courses on time management, productivity, and organization.


Additionally, you can make your coworkers attend workshops or seminars and participate in webinars or conferences focused on time management. This can provide valuable insights and techniques to everyone in the department. 


Considering curating eLearning materials to save time? Check out this blog post we wrote. 


9. Reflect and Adjust


It doesn't matter how many books you have read or seminars you have attended about time management, It all comes down to actually practising it. That is the only way to know if a method works for you or not. 


Once you start practising it, then ask yourself - "Is this really working for me?" 


Start by setting aside time each week or month to review your time management strategies. If something isn't working, don't be afraid to make adjustments. It could be as simple as rearranging your schedule, setting clear priorities, or trying out a new time management technique.


Being an L&D manager it's upon you to put your foot down if something isn't working and to say no to your subordinates.


Keep track of your progress and be open to experimentation. What works for one person might not work for another, so it's important to find what works best for you.


Conclusion


A hand checking off L&D-related tasks on a checklist

We all have the same 24 hours, and what we do with them defines our success and fulfilment. It's not about having more time, but rather how effectively we manage and prioritize our tasks within those 24 hours that make the difference. 



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