Wondering where the day has gone? Still not finished with work even though it's nine
at night and you were supposed to go home at six? Here are some tips to help you
manage your time better.
Take brief walks - I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but one of the big secrets to
effective time management is simply talking walks. You see, little emergencies and
crisis's can suck up your attention, focusing you on unimportant (yet seemingly real
and significant) details. By talking a brief, five to ten minute, walk now and then,
you can give yourself time to clear your thinking, drive out the cobwebs, and
refocus your attention on what is important.
I always make sure to schedule meetings for one hour, then finish ten minutes early.
I use those ten minutes to walk outside, stroll around the parking lot, just
breathing deep and looking at the clouds and nearby mountains. Believe it or not,
this adds hours to my productivity every day, because it clears my thinking.
Delegate - If you are a manager or supervisor, you must, must, must delegate. This
cannot be stressed enough. As you move up the management ladder your job becomes
more and more getting others to do, and less and less to doing it yourself. Managers
who do things are NOT managing their time effectively.
Delegate authority - Allow people to make decisions. This is a great way to get more
done with less effort. For example, is it really necessary for you to have to
personally approve every single purchase? Perhaps you can just set guidelines (like
the office manager can spend a certain amount per month on supplies) and not worry
about the details of what's ordered, who it's ordered from and so on.
Do NOT bypass people and do not allow yourself to be bypassed - You've got a job and
you've got some authority. Do not ever allow someone to go around you to get
something done, and don't, unless you have no choice, go around another. Why not?
Let's say you are a supervisor, and your boss has the habit of giving orders to your
people. Guess what? You are not doing your job, and your boss is not allowing you to
do your job. Insist (gently) that your boss allow you to do what you are being paid
to do - supervise. If you allow the office manager to decide what to purchase, then
don't tell her what to purchase.
For example, If you have vendors selling to you (and you have authority to purchase),
do not ever allow them to go to your boss to override your decision. If they do make
the attempt, warn them ONCE. On the second time, fire them and find either a new
salesperson or new vendor. IF YOU ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN, THE SALESPERSON WILL KNOW YOU
HAVE, IN REALITY, NO AUTHORITY.
Prioritize - Sometimes it's too easy to get fixated on small, unimportant details
and projects which don't matter to anyone. Other times someone will claim something
is critical, yet in truth it is not. For example, in my business we get told some
computer problems are critical and must be fixed immediately. After all, a program is
broken and causing problems, so it must be fixed now. On examination, I'll often find
that the bug has been in the system for years, and my attitude is if something exists
for years, it's not a crisis to change it.