Who knew that managing time was right at the top of the list for being effective at what you do?
As a manager, the burden is always on you to navigate a wide variety of skills and people. If you think about it, the first task is to become an effective manager of your time. Why? Because if you are always behind and dancing as fast as you can, you will not only lose credibility, you will be exhausted and stressed and probably fail. You will give your employees permission to be that way as well as they look to you to lead by power of example.
Additionally, if you are running meetings that are too long and unfocused or not holding accountability for deadlines, others will not hold themselves to a high standard either.
It goes without saying that we stay busy all the time and lose track of our high value items. There is always something screaming for our attention, and we never lack for things to do. But, do you have any idea which of the everyday things you do actually holds the most value for you or for your organization? Filing has value, as does researching online. But where do these things rank in comparison to planning and conducting an important sales meeting or reviewing the sales projections from the last quarter?
Here are 7 creative ways that managers can better manage their time:
- Set a great example for others to follow. If you, as the manager, are able to say NO to interruptions and set boundaries, you will model the behavior for everyone around you. Set the bar! Teach people how to treat you by setting boundaries. Of course you want to have an open door policy, and be available - AND at the same time preserve time when you are not available so you can actually get work done. Interruptions are very costly!
- Get to know your direct reports so that you can work efficiently with their style of communication and operating. This will save you not only time but aggravation, which, in essence, is a huge distraction and time waster.
- Spend less time putting out fires each day. It is really important to learn to respond rather than react. Putting out fires is often filled with drama. To be more effective, give yourself permission to stop and think about possible solutions rather than just jumping right in to fix the problem.
- Delegate effectively, and be sure that you have the right people in place to delegate to. This will open up the time you need to effectively handle your priorities.
- Hire a productivity/time management coach for yourself if time/self-management isn't your strength, and you are constantly feeling all over the place.
- Communicative effectively. The more clearly people know what is expected and when, the more quickly they can get it done.
- Remember that your to-do list is not your calendar! Spend time each day (not negotiable) planning and establishing your priorities for that day.
Time is our most precious commodity. Managing time effectively - especially with the tsunami that so many of us deal with day in and day out - doesn't always come naturally. As a manager, the more effectively you manage your own time, the more successful and powerful you will be. It isn't negotiable!
Have a really productive day, and feel free to reach out for a 15-minute, no obligation conversation about your greatest challenge and what you can do about it immediately. Best way to reach me is by email or phone: firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-517-6488.