One thing is certain as a manager…you will never have enough time to do everything you need to get done. At least, at the quality you would like to.
So, one of the best qualities you can develop as a manager is the ability to make the best possible choices with the time you have available.
Our studies of great managers has revealed a list of techniques they use when deciding how to get the best out of their time. Here are just five:
1) They carry out ‘audits’ of their time to ensure they are spending the right amount on priorities. They decide what their broad goals are, based on their manager’s expectations. They know what barriers and obstacles come up regularly to stop them achieving those goals. And they recognise what tasks will get them the best results in the long-term as well as short-term
2) They initiate action and facilitate action in others. They work within the ‘important’ framework every day, and are not driven by the ‘urgent’ at the expense of the ‘important’. Their to-do lists are manageable, they dump things that are unnecessary, and concentrate on delegating those things that will develop others’ skills, as well as freeling up time to do things only they can do.
3) They work to the 80/20 principle. Managers who master their time recognise that, of all the tasks they need to complete, only 20% are criticakl to the success of the business. They make sure these items get top priority.
4) They use 5 or 10 minute ‘blocks’ of time to get things done. Imagine you have a meeting in ten minute’s time. How would you spend those minutes? What you do in that time could make the meeting valuable or a distraction. Rather than thinking there’s too little time before the meeting to get anything done, time-masters recognise that these ‘blocks’ of time add up during the day and offer great opportunities for ticking off small items on their to-do lists. If you think that you might have four or five of these ‘blocks’ of time during the day, you could get nearly an hour’s work done, when others are just letting that time slip through their fingers.
5) Great time managers really plan effectively. They actually make plans to plan. Either just before they leave for the day, or at the beginning of each day, they plan the best way to spend their time. They have weekly plans that give them a good overview of what they need to accomplish in that period and they have long-term (montly, quarterly, annual) plans that help them think strategically, instead of being side tracked by the ‘urgency’ of tasks.
I suggest you analyse your time-wasters and time-stealers, and see if some of these tips can help you achieve great results as you master time.
Originally published: 21 March, 2011
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