Being a manager and meeting yourself coming and going seems like part of the territory.
Yet it’s not enough to be busy – you need to be effective, not just harried. Here’s a few tips for success in managing.
What’s the most important management tip for day to day operations? Before you put anything else on your plate as you arrive at your job in the morning, take care of your biggest project for the day while you are fresh and have some energy.
This can make a huge difference in your personal job productivity. Don’t put off the important stuff for later in the day when you’ll be tired and unmotivated to really focus on it.
A Few Quick Management Tips
Keep out of meetings!
Sounds good, right? If only. After all, so much of your day involves meetings–maybe with your supervisor, with your clients, vendors and with your employees. These days, the advice from top-productivity experts to managers: stop going to all meetings. Communicate with people one-on-one instead when needed–by email, text or phone calls.
Think about your routines
Along the way, you have likely developed a few routines to make your tasks easier to complete. Undoubtedly, some of these cherished regimens are effective, but others may have become less-than-efficient over time. You just got so used to them you haven’t noticed yet. Take some time to think through your routines and how they could be better. Try looking from outside in and evaluate routines like you might evaluate those of one of your employees.
You know how some people say that “our employees are our best asset?” Though it’s well-meaning, we all need to stop thinking that way. Don’t think about the people you manage as assets, but as people. Take time to get to know them. Developing relationships with your employees will decrease your likelihood of treating them like commodities. From their side, it may cut down on the irritation that sometimes develops when employees feel taken advantage of or used by management.
As a manager, you’ve likely heard this advice from Day One. Chances are, no matter how well-meaning you are, you don’t delegate enough. Set up regular meetings with managers under you to come up with a list of tasks to delegate out to responsible employees. Work on stretching things–entrust lower level tasks to employees you haven’t singled out before to see how they do. You might be surprised! At first, it may seem easier just to do it yourself, but if you want to expand your efforts and take ground, you have to delegate more.
Mind your time.
Pay attention to your day. Notice how much time you spend putting out fires, how much time you spend on urgent projects versus important ones, how much time you spend on maintaining systems, and so on. Try to build a variety of tasks into your day and learn how to stick to priorities. If you have trouble focusing, set a 25-minute timer, work steadily without losing focus, then take a short but real break, then back to another 25-minute stint. You’ll find you get a lot more accomplished and get less distracted.
Use Technology Wisely
Make technology your servant, not your master. Adopt only what you really need to accomplish your goals and resist the rest. Do the same with your employees and business. Vendors may try to convince you that your business needs certain technology improvements to be competitive. Do your due diligence to test their claims, not just based on what other businesses in your industry are doing.