Maximize time, minimize effort - 3 strategies to leverage your training success

Never ending to-do lists, endless administration, wanting to do more than you can handle, and unavoidable external distractions such as social media, phone, and email. These are the ingredients for a frustrating workday. In plain terms, everyone wants nothing more than to achieve as much work success as possible without exerting too much effort. Is this impossible? Definitely not! This article presents three techniques you can use as a trainer to make your day successful. Go home with a smile instead of an overwhelmed mind!

Content Manager & HR Officer
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Interesting facts and figures!

First, let us line up some facts about an average workday:

  • Research among British office workers shows that they are only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes out of an 8-hour workday! [1]
  • Office workers, on average, dedicate approximately 40% of their time to their primary job duties. When comparing different generations, Baby Boomers claim to allocate a higher percentage of their weekly schedule to their primary job responsibilities compared to Gen X and Millennials. Specifically, baby boomers report spending 45% of their time on their primary duties, while Gen X and Millennials indicate 38% and 34%, respectively. [2]
  • It is an illusion that we can stay concentrated for 8 hours straight. Multiple studies indicate that the average attention span is 20-45 minutes. [3]

It varies by role and industry, but on average, the following activities take up most of our workday:

  • Meetings: Meetings, discussions, and then discussing again. Sometimes they drive us crazy. And the numbers support that too. In the Netherlands, workers spend 29 hours in meetings every month. 47% of them consider meetings the biggest waste of work. [4] A Workfront study even showed that 18% of the 40-hour workweek is spent on meetings. In this regard, a distinction is made between productive meetings (10%) and useless meetings (8%). [2]
  • Email and communication: Dealing with a full inbox and chatting on internal company communication channels is time-consuming. According to several studies, employees spend 16% to 28% of their time reading and responding to emails. [6]
  • Administrative tasks: They are part of the job, but whether they contribute to work satisfaction is highly questionable. A Workfront study showed that filling out paperwork, organizing work calendars, and uploading documents can account for up to 12% of the workweek. [2]
  • Task switching and interruptions: How wonderful would having only one daily task be? The reality is different. According to a study from the University of California, employees need an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to refocus after an interruption. [7] This is especially detrimental when you consider that office workers are interrupted for nonessential tasks approximately 8% of their time. [2]

Trainer-specific facts and figures!

Trainers spend an average of 24 hours monthly on delivering formal training

All good, but what about trainers specifically? We have also found interesting statistics on this:

  • According to a study by the Association for Talent Development (ATD), trainers spend an average of 24 hours monthly on delivering formal training. This amount of time equates to approximately 6 hours per week. [8]
  • According to a report by Training Industry, trainers in organizations spend an average of 13% of their working time on training-related activities. These activities included the preparation, delivery, and evaluation of training. Assuming a standard 40-hour workweek, this would amount to approximately 5.2 hours per week. [9]
  • Another study conducted by LinkedIn Learning revealed that learning and development professionals, including trainers, spend an average of 15% of their time on training tasks. However, this included activities beyond direct training delivery, such as curriculum development, learning management system administration, and needs analysis. [10]

The key conclusion from this deluge of figures is that we can spend our time more effectively. A lot of time is wasted, which obscures the focus on essential tasks.

3 leverage techniques to achieve more while spending less energy

How can we turn the tide? How can we ensure that you, as a trainer, have more time (and mental space) to create high-quality training? How can you achieve more while using less energy?

To do this, you’ll need to learn how to use the leverage of:

  • Time (yours and others)
  • Resources
  • Technology

Technique 1: Time (yours and others!)

Time is a given. You can't change it. Whether you work 10 hours a week or 40 hours, you must work with your time. You can certainly focus on optimizing your time, but we recommend taking a broader perspective and looking beyond your desk! Your colleagues are there to rescue you.

To leverage your own time:

  • Practice effective time management! As much as we may want to multitask, we are wired to focus on one task at a time. So, introduce focused time: close your mailbox and chats, set aside your smartphone, and dedicate 20-40 minutes to a specific task. Take a short break after each 20-40-minute block. Repeat this ritual a few times before taking a longer break. Also, take a short break outside. You'll find that fresh air benefits both you and your productivity! Other proven techniques include:
    • Answer as many emails as possible at the end of the workday so you don't get sucked into the email swamp.
    • Schedule meetings with colleagues around the time of the biggest productivity slump, which is after 3:00 PM. Your peak productivity time is over, and the essential work is done.
    • Create silent hours at work. During those hours, there should be no meetings or interruptions.
  • Learn to prioritize. How important is that inbox, really? Or is it worth replacing that slide in your training? Create a priority list based on one or multiple criteria:
    • Value of the task - Does it, for example, bring in new clients you can train?
    • Time - Does it take a lot of time or just a little? Can you organize your day in such a way that you can prioritize major tasks, such as developing training or analyzing results? Could you alternate it with smaller, easier tasks that can be completed between meetings?

Struggling to prioritize your work? Try using Decision Matrix Analysis.

  • Set clear goals in advance. What is important to you in the long term? Formulate your goals as clearly as possible and motivate yourself to achieve them. In example, I want to train ten new clients in GDPR within one year. When pursuing your goals, "think big, act small". If you try to take big steps all at once, the process is likely to stagnate. With small steps, you'll see quick results and can adjust swiftly.

To leverage other people's time:

  • Learn to delegate! Discuss a good task division within your training team and hold each other accountable. Outsource non-core tasks to people with the expertise to perform them more efficiently.
  • Engage in team building. Teambuilding fosters a close-knit team and a sense of unity. With a well-coordinated team, it becomes easier to achieve results.

Technique 2: Make the most of your strengths

Another important tip is enhancing your strengths and working around your weaknesses.

You can't be good at everything

Everyone has a wide range of qualities, talents, and experiences. You excel in some areas - such as structuring training and inspiring participants — while other areas, like data analysis, may not be your strength. That's not a problem because you can't be good at everything. Therefore, it's vital to strengthen your strong qualities.

But how do you do that? How do you identify your own and your colleagues' strengths as trainers? How can you best utilize your strong points, and how can you improve your skills to achieve excellence?

It all starts with conducting a personal SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, and helps identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and pitfalls. If you perform this analysis at a team or organizational level, you can use it to delegate tasks effectively.

Once you clearly understand your strengths, you can create an action plan to enhance them. However as a trainer, we don't need to explain how to do this most effectively. :wink:

Technique 3: Technological Advancements

Technological gadgets. It may sound intimidating at times, but they often bring significant benefits. Of course, you may have to overcome a few hurdles and invest a lot of time initially, but eventually, you will see that technology can take a lot of work off your hands. It frees up time for other things you'd like to spend more time on.

One handy tool trainers can use is an online learning management system (LMS)

One handy tool trainers can use is an online learning management system (LMS). This tool supports you in creating, managing, and distributing training material. In simple terms, you set up a digital learning environment for your clients where they can access their training anytime and anywhere. In principle, an LMS can handle everything from A to Z: creating training, offering assessments, sending invitations to participants, and analyzing results. An efficient LMS is attractive if your training can be partially or fully delivered online. Read more about the benefits of an LMS.

In addition to an LMS, these technological gadgets can also provide you with the following advantages:

  • A newsletter system like MailerLite, to inform your customer base about the latest training courses, company updates, etc.
  • A CRM system like Salesforce manages your customer data.
  • Software for creating training videos, such as Synthesia.

We believe that with these three techniques, you can go a long way!

Supercharge your time, achieve training excellence

Easy LMS offers a remarkable online solution for seamlessly implementing continuous employee training across multiple organizations. Its user-friendly interface empowers you to manage your time and achieve training excellence effectively. This #1 LMS is specifically designed to eliminate the hassle of repetitive tasks, granting you the mental space to deliver top-notch training to your valued clients.

One particularly convenient feature is Easy LMS's Academy, where you can effortlessly organize all your content in a single virtual location. This centralized platform enables you to reuse the same material efficiently with multiple clients while ensuring each client enjoys a personalized, company-branded learning portal.

Useful resources

  1. Vouchercloud
  2. Workfront
  3. Concentratie - Margalit Laufer
  4. Sharp
  5. Atlassian
  6. McKinsey
  7. University of California
  8. Association for Talent Development
  9. Training Industry
  10. LinkedIn Learning

Frequently Asked Questions

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