Five Time Management Strategies for Busy Managers

Did you know that Challenge Consulting provides workshops on Mastering Time Management? This workshop will benefit anyone who wants to learn how to successfully manage their time to achieve their most valuable goals. Attendees will learn to work efficiently and effectively, to spend their time in a committed, purposeful manner, to deal with distractions and procrastination and, above all, to reduce stress. Form more information, click here or contact 02 9221 6422. 
You might believe you are already a good time manager, and you may be right; but most successful managers—even you—can benefit from smart strategies to improve their effectiveness quotient, and the reason this action plan works is really quite simple.

Effective managers typically plan their day in advance to maximise their time usage. This, of course, is an excellent habit to adopt and perfect. However, the real world typically refuses to operate on your time schedule. All experienced managers have had unforeseen circumstances reek havoc on their well-organised time management plans.
Operational brush fires can flare up from many directions and must often be dealt with immediately to avoid a more serious blaze. Managers seldom interject “brush fire time” into their daily plans – with good reason. It is normally impossible to know when these issues will occur and from where they will come. But – you know they will come, often reinforcing Murphy’s Law (anything that can go wrong, will go wrong, and always at the worst time).
By implementing every strategy that helps your time management coefficient, you’ll improve your ongoing performance and minimise the effects of Murphy’s Law. Try them all and continue to use the strategies that work best for you.

Five Tips to Help You Manage Your Time Better

1. Honestly evaluate the individual strengths and weaknesses of your staff.  Don’t just delegate because you have the power to do so. Delegate intelligently. Delegate those items in which you may be weaker to those employees who are strong in those areas. Delegate your strong areas to those who may be a bit weak in these tasks. The strong employees will free up your time to do other things, including being a powerful resource for those staff members who may need some help.

2. Schedule meetings in blocks instead of randomly or individually.  Scheduling a meeting at the beginning of the day, followed by another around midday, and concluding with yet another at day’s end, breaks up your effective time unnecessarily. You will also find that often your meetings will exceed the scheduled time allotment, further chopping up your day into smaller work segments. By scheduling all three meetings in one block, you accomplish two time management goals. Meetings tend to start and end on time. This will no longer be a rare occurrence and appreciated by meeting leader and attendees alike. Second, you can efficiently plan the remainder of your day to address other important items without fear of “meeting interruptis.”

3. Schedule specific times to return calls each day.  Once again, this simple strategy accomplishes two important goals. First, you won’t be constantly interrupted with phone calls that must be taken or immediately returned. This allows you to better stick to your pre-planned day. Second, your admin assistant or “gate keeper” can tell your callers when to expect a return call, which they will appreciate.

4. Be exceptionally clear when delegating tasks.  You may initially wonder how this helps your time management efficiency. However, this strategy can have a significantly positive impact on you. Should you delegate tasks in an unclear or ambiguous manner, you will typically lose more time than you originally planned to gain through delegation. Why? Your employees, confused or mistakenly challenged, normally contact, call, or visit you regularly for further clarification of the task or must redo the project after you realise that it was done incorrectly. Your beautifully planned day is destroyed and your staff spend precious time interpreting your instructions, often incorrectly.

5. Schedule quiet time every day – and enforce it religiously.  Most experienced managers will agree that there never seems to be enough quiet or think time to contemplate where they are and where they want to be. Even those managers who regularly schedule think time often find it stolen from them by brush fires, phone calls, and unplanned meetings. By scheduling quiet time – and enforcing it ruthlessly – you send a message to your staff that you will not be interrupted. Their concerns and questions will have to wait until after your think time session. You get your quiet period and can handle staff questions at the same time, further achieving your time management goals.

Use some or all of these tips to improve your time management efforts. The nature of your busy management days suggest that using every time management strategy available can only help. If you haven’t already adopted or discarded these suggestions, try them out. Those tips that work might help you improve your time management and help your corporate star to rise faster.