Written by Anna Bernstein on 06 Aug 2014
Often, as a manager, you spend so much time ensuring that your team are being correctly managed that you forget to manage yourself.
Time management plays a big part in the role of a manager, and developing strong time management skills will allow you to become a much more efficient and productive manager, giving you the best chance to perform to the best of your abilities. In turn, this allows you to encourage the best performance from your team.
This post explores how you can improve your own time management skills, and hopefully open you up to a more efficient and productive way of working.
One of the biggest causes of stress at work is a lack of organisation and self-management. One way that you can counteract this is to keep a well-structured and prioritised to-do list.
But this doesn’t mean simply scribbling down what you will be doing through a particular working week on a post it note stuck to your computer screen.
In order to manage your time effectively and productively whilst minimising stress, you need to actually have a clear, well-structured to-do list. Your list should detail how you will approach each work task, and detail each of your activities in order of importance and urgency.
For example, you have an important client report to complete by tomorrow. First, write down what you need to do in order to complete that report; what you need to find out, what you information need to obtain, who you need to contact to get the information you need, and so on. Once this is in place you can put this at the top of your daily priority list to insure that it is completed to a high standard for your client.
There are a multitude of apps that help you do this, from the popular Evernote through to utilising Microsoft Outlook’s daily task schedule and calendar.
Of course, the tried and trusted physical diary is always a great way of keeping track of your working week, and allows you to quickly jot down ideas as and when you need.
Even with a prioritised to-do list, we all know work life is never that predictable, and on a daily basis new tasks and events will come our way. The key is learning how to manage and prioritise these as and when they happen.
In our example, you could be right in the middle of creating the report when one of your team comes to you with a crisis. You need to be able to assess the level of the crisis and prioritise whether it needs to be addressed immediately, or whether it can wait until you have your report completed.
Even better, can it be delegated to a member of your team? You’ve worked hard to get where you are, and like to be hands-on with your department, but sometimes the best course of action is to let go and trust the ability of the team around you.
This leads us to another tactic for effective time management…
Another common reason why people become swamped under a mountain of work and become stressed is due to their inability to say no. They like to be involved and put themselves forward to help in any way they can.
Taking on too much work will lead to increased stress, poor performance and low morale. For your work, and more importantly yourself, this is not healthy.
Your employers don’t expect you to take on every task that comes your way, and want you to be performing to the very best of your abilities. Take control of the work-life balance by only putting yourself forward for the tasks that you know you will be able to handle on top of your day-to-day workload.
Do your best to make sure your work doesn’t encroach too much in to your ‘me time’.
With the increase of mobile technology and social media it is all too easy to become distracted in the work place. Distraction can be an extremely damaging factor when you have a large work load in need of effective time management.
To overcome distraction, you need to take control in order to remove them, such as not sitting with your mobile phone on your desk or being logged into social media accounts. Instead, reward yourself for periods of concentrated work with short breaks when you can check these without the pressure of looming work.
Nobody can work for 8+ hours and still remain 100% focussed and perform to their best ability.
It is important to schedule time into your day where you can remove yourself from your work and have some time to clear your mind and relax. Not only does this help reduce stress, but it will boost concentration levels when you are working, allowing you to focus on performing to your best.