Have you ever worked with someone who was really organised? No matter what happened during the day, they were able to successfully get through all of their tasks as well as taking care of their number one priority – the customer. These people have great time management skills. They can prioritise between what is important and what is urgent. They also manage to successfully achieve a balance between their working life and their private life.
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Each of us should aim to achieve a work/life balance. To help achieve this, one of your goals should be to establish and main good work habits. The more effective you are at this, the better your workplace productivity will be.
To establish good work habits:
- Learn the art of planning
- Prioritise your tasks every day
- Take advantage of available planning aids
- Practice your time management skills
- Recognise and work towards achieving a work/life balance
Plan and prioritise tasks
Within the fast paced retail environment the ability to plan and organise is an important skill to learn. As it is so important, planning needs to be part of a regular routine. It helps you work more efficiently and respond under pressure. It helps you to focus on important issues and prioritise your tasks.
Planning and organising involves:
- Time Management – One of the most important organisational skills is the ability to meet deadlines and use time wisely. Employees that meet deadlines consistently have the ability to prioritise tasks, delegate and be productive.
- Prioritising – Identify what really is vital to be completed today and what isn’t. Set the priorities so that you have a clear view of what needs to be done.
Set time aside to plan, either at the beginning or at the end of each day or week. List the ongoing tasks that you need to achieve as well as new tasks. Ensure all aspects of your daily work routine are covered. These could include:
- Interacting with customers
- Interacting with supervisors and other staff members
- Handling the telephone
- Organising and maintaining work areas
- Maintaining merchandise and displays
- Observing scheduled breaks
- Assisting other team members
- Working within required timelines.
There are many different methods of planning that can be used in the workplace. A wide range of new technologies have given retail businesses access to faster communication and better efficiencies.
There are many tools and devices now available to assist in scheduling, prioritising and managing your time.
Computer software can generate schedules, action plans, charts, personal calendars, task lists which can be used to produce usable tools for managing your daily, weekly and long-term tasks and goals.
Some of the planning aids and methods that are useful in planning include:
- Electronic planners and calendars
- Electronic organisers
- Smart phones
More traditional aids include:
- Paper charts
- To-Do lists
- Notes on scraps of paper
Regardless of the planning aid that you use, you should detail:
- The tasks you are responsible for achieving
- The timelines for completing the tasks
- The resources required to complete the tasks
Achieve a work/life balance
Many employees would say that they don’t have enough time during the day to complete all that tasks which they see as important to their work. In fact, just about everyone at some stage wishes that they had more time.
We all know that time is a fixed resource. It cannot be turned on and off and everyone has the same amount of time available to them. It is the use to which time is put which separates effective workers into ineffective ones
That is not always as easy as it sounds. However, by taking time to analyse how you do spend time, working out and following a time management plan, and by using a variety of time saving techniques, you can gain greater control of your time, thus becoming more effective in your work. As a side effect of this, hopefully you will achieve a good work/life balance.
There are many benefits of good time management. These include:
- More time for customers
- Reduced stress
- Increased productivity
- Increased personal satisfaction
- Improved career opportunities
- Additional time for family/leisure activities
- Improved self-confidence
- Builds rapport more quickly
- Reduces unnecessary guilt and worry
For effective time management, take advantage of your high productivity time each day. For most people, this is usually in the morning. Spend some time each day planning and creating To-Do lists. Look at your time management skills regularly and work out where you could improve.
Work life balance refers to the relationship between your work and the commitments in the rest of your life, and how they impact on one another.
Employers want to maximise participation in the workforce. However, in our demanding lives many people struggle to balance work and their responsibilities outside of work. For other workers it’s often difficult to find time outside work for study, taking care of their own health or participating in sport and recreation.
There is no ideal work life balance; everyone is different and the ‘right’ balance may alter over time as personal circumstances change.
When employees spend the majority of their days on work-related activities they feel as if they are neglecting the other important components of their lives. Stress and unhappiness are usually the result. Work-life balance enables employees to feel as if they are paying attention to all the important aspects of their lives.
Work-life balance is a daily effort to make time for family, friends, health, leisure/recreation activities and other personal activities, in addition to the demands of the workplace.
About ARA Retail Institute
ARA Retail Institute is Australia’s leading retail training provider for both accredited and non-accredited learning programs. For more information, please visit: www.retailinstitute.org.au