Don’t give up. Here’s how to turn them into savvy time managers:
Suggest the “peaking and tapering” strategy. If you notice that employees procrastinate and then rush to complete assignments, guide them to think like long-distance runners who build intensity over time, earn the right to back off and then work toward another peak in their next race.
When you delegate a job that’s due in a week, for example, instruct the worker to increase gradually the time she spends each day on the project, up to two days before it’s due. Then have her taper her efforts in the last two days, using that time to check for errors and polish her work.
Encourage seamless transitions. Watch how employees act when a staff meeting breaks up or they’re returning from a fire drill or break. Do they come back to work right away? Or do they gab in the hall for another 10 minutes?
Model the behavior you want. After a meeting, return to work immediately and encourage others to do the same. While it’s healthy for folks to socialize during lunches and breaks, monitor those who gobble up time.
Track staffers’ “complaint ratio.” The more your employees complain, the more they give themselves permission to slack off. Keep tabs on the time they spend doing their work versus grumbling about it. How? Spend a few hours working with them. If they’re unhappy with a certain procedure, note how much time they spend proposing solutions, as opposed to railing against it.