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Time Management: the #1 work life balance challenge and what to do about it

Feeling Overwhelmed? Do you need to get a big project done pronto, but you also need to respond to an email as soon as possible? Most of us are struggling with time management.

In a new poll from Robert Half Management Resources, executives ranked achieving work-life balance last among their greatest challenges; time management came in first.

Clock Nearly one-third (32 per cent) of chief financial officers interviewed by Robert Half cited time management due to competing priorities as their biggest work challenge. CFOs were asked, "In your opinion, which one of the following is the greatest challenge for financial executives today?" Their responses:



Time management given competing work priorities......  32%
 Keeping up with technology...........................  24%
 Achieving work/life balance .........................  19%
 Staying current with accounting regulations..........  16%
 Don't know ..........................................   9%

I asked Dan DeNisco, Vice President of Robert Half Management Resourceswhat he thinks about the results.

"Most people are trying to figure out what’s the best use of their time,” Dan says “It's hard to figure out how to say no to your boss. There are so many new initiatives coming out, people are overworked and they’re trying to figure out how to prioritize.”
It wasn’t long ago that companies and employees were stressing the importance of work-life balance.  But given the economic challenges of the last few years, has the need for balance been abandoned?

“Over  the last couplke years, work/life balance went out the window. Now, people are starting to ask, ‘How do I get back to that point.’  If I can focus on managing and prioritizing what needs to get done and use technology  to my advantage, now I might have a shot at achieving work life balance,” Dan says.
He emphasized not to be afraid of asking your boss what the priority is or figuring out what gets you the most return on your time investment.  “Maybe you don’t say no to the boss but you ask who else on team might have the skill set that we could delegate to and still get results we want.”
Of course, if you’re the one who work is being delegated to, you have much less control.  Dan advises:  “Your number one priority is deciding what’s mission critical.”

Here are a few time management tips from Robert Half:
1. Identify the "mosts." When every project seems to be top priority, focus efforts on those that will save the most money, grow the most revenue, or open doors to the most new business.
2. Be realistic about internal resources. Delegating another major project to your staff may bring already overloaded employees to the breaking point. Understand their limitations.
3. Avoid micro-managing. Set milestones and regular check-ins, but otherwise let staff run the initiative.
4. Practice the golden rule. Show respect for others' time. Avoid scheduling meetings that, on closer inspection, aren't really necessary.