Time Management for Managers
By Cheryl Stein
Monster Business Coach
You are a manager. You are responsible for leading a team. You set the pace, you set the agenda, and you create the culture. But how well are you managing yourself? Managing your time is one thing when no one is dependant on you. It is a whole different scenario when people are relying on you to lead the way.
Projects vs. Tasks
Sounds logical but most people don’t budget their time knowing the difference. A task is a thing that you need to do that doesn’t have any components and can’t be broken down into smaller parts. Answering an email is a task, while answering twenty five is a project. Needing to call someone back is a task, but needing to write a report is a project.
To manage time effectively, we need to break down projects into the tasks that one would be required to do in order to finish the project and give proper estimates of how much time each task will take. Only when we are budgeting our time this way are we actually managing our time effectively.
It is equally important as a manager to understand that the projects that we give to our staff require proper time budgeting. When we do it ourselves, we tend to get a better handle on how long things should realistically take instead of believing that things should be finished way faster than humanely possible.
Use a Calendar
If you don’t schedule the tasks that you have to accomplish during the week, time tends to run away. Meetings, phone calls, endless emails and water cooler conversations take it up all our precious minutes. If you want to be a great example of someone who is good at time management use a schedule to block off time to get your stuff done.
Your schedule, once filled in, is only as good as your ability to stick with it. Don’t get lost in answering the phone or emails when you need to be finishing work that needs to be done. Stick to your schedule and don’t allow the typical distractions to pull you away from work that needs to be done.
Keep your Office Clean
There is nothing that is a bigger waste of time than searching through your papers to find the things that you are looking for. A messy office is an inefficient office and if you are trying to set an example for the people that work for you it is essential to make your office as organized as possible.
Be Honest About Your Deliverables
One of the best ways to set an example is to be honest about your time delays. If you aren’t going to be on time, be honest about why. That sets the bar for having your team be in line with your work style. If you do your best to do things on time and sometimes you get sidetracked or delayed, be up front with your staff and they will always be honest with you.
Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
Too many managers take on way too much work and leave their team holding the bag. While it is important to be a team player in your company it is also important to be realistic about what is possible and what isn’t. Too often managers want to look good so they take on lots of interesting projects only to overstress the people that work for them. If you are budgeting properly you won’t do this to your staff.
Schedule Time for Conversations
Schedule Time for Conversations
It is wonderful to have an open door policy in your office. You want your staff to feel that they can come in to talk to you whenever they need to. You don’t feel like people should have to book appointments to talk to you. However, this loose kind of attitude toward having conversations with your staff can lead to an environment where you just don’t ever have the time to speak to anyone. The solution is simple. Office hours. Remember when you were in university and you needed to speak to your professor? You went to office hours to deal with whatever you needed to deal with. If you never put aside time for your staff to talk to you, chances are they will never feel heard.
Being a good example when you become a manager isn’t easy. All eyes are on you and your behavior can set the tone for the way people work in your office. Although it isn’t easy to be the one to show the way to your employees the little time it takes to invest in a good system not only changes your time management, but can change the efficiency of your whole workplace.