Time Management For Managers

Ah yes, time management for managers! A topic that can be talked about constantly. You know I think that getting a grasp on our time is hard for everyone. But particularly for new managers as everything is so brand spankin new and it’s hard to know what needs your immediate attention and what can really just be handed off.

In last week’s video, I talked about the 4 quadrants of time management and that we should all be aiming to spend our time in the Quadrant of Leadership! You know the one where you don’t feel like you are running around like crazy all day working on every single fire that hits your desk!

I know that moving over to this quadrant can seem overwhelming, but it’s actually a lot simpler than you think and it involves one word – systems.

In this week’s video, I will be discussing some of the systems I’ve used to help me really take control of my day and spend a lot more of my time in the quadrant of leadership, rather than in constant reactionary mode.

Have you downloaded the free time tracker? If not, grab your copy here.

 

Would you prefer to read rather than watch? Not to worry! You can read the blog post below.

In last week’s video we broke down the 4 quadrants of time and how ideally we want to be living in and spending most of our time in the quadrant of leadership or extraordinary productivity.

The reason for this is because this is the quadrant that allows you to feel like you’re actually gaining speed rather than drowning which is very easy to feel when you are a manager, and particularly as a new manager.

So I still have this quadrant matrix up as a mini reminder and I want us to refer back to it as we are talking about the systems that you can create.

Now here’s the deal, important and super urgent as well as not important super urgent stuff is always going to be around.

There is always going to be some sort of crisis, deadline and interruption. That’s just the way it goes.

What you have to learn to do is take control by creating the machine to minimize that.

Last week I had you do a time study to determine where you are spending most of your time so that we can see how we can together create the machine or systems to get you back in control.

Using your time study I want you to keep the following in mind:

Automate

There are going to be a lot of things that you find you are doing manually that to be honest you just don’t need to do manually consistently. This is just busy work. And there has to be a way to automate it.

So take a good look at what busy work you’re doing that you could automate so that you can make time for the far more important things.

As a starting point, I want you to go back to your time tracker and put an A beside all the things that you can automate. You can also enlist your team’s help for this. I’m sure there is a ton that they either see or are currently doing that could be automated.

Something that I did in my calendar that kept me on top of my automation game was reviewing my tasks at the end of the week.

Since I was writing down my tasks anyways, I decided to do an end of week review. I would spend about 20 minutes analyzing my activity and highlighting what tasks in the future I could automate.

Cut

So here’s the thing about time, which I personally learned the hard way. It’s actually a zero sum game.

Whenever you say yes to something you are saying no to something else.

So you really have to determine what is really important and cut out what isn’t or just may not have room to be done now. This is arguably one of the hardest things or decisions you will have to make.

We tend to want to do all things and we tell ourselves that everything is important. But the truth is not everything is equally important and needs to be done right now. We just have to train ourselves to make the right choices and learn to say no to what doesn’t make sense.

Delegate

Now I personally struggled with this one a lot. I have no idea why because I had a handful of really talented and willing people that wanted to help me so why in the world I struggled to delegate is beyond me.

But delegation is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to completing important tasks and freeing up your time to do things that really matter. Now if you have delegation issues like I did, start small.

Delegate small tasks to your team members with clear expectations of what the result is you want and then let it go.

Could they mess up? Yeah sure, but they will never learn if you don’t trust them to try.
Besides you are delegating the smaller stuff anyways right?

Work your way up to the higher level stuff.

Delegation itself is a beast of a topic that I cover in my New Manager Accelerator Program, where I teach my students a process for delegation.

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Batch and time block

Batching refers to doing the same type of task for a set period of time.

Our brains are funny, when we switch from task to task or activity to activity we tend to lose juice and focus.

But, if we do similar type tasks during a specific time then we tend to get far more out of it.

Time blocking is about determining the amount of time you will spend on a specific task ahead of time.

So for example let’s say you have decided to do monthly one on one meetings with your team, instead of just sporadically meeting with the team you would try to block out time in the calendar when all you do is your one-on-one’s.

Value your time

I’m often made fun of because I always have a calendar and I’m scheduling my time. But that’s because I value it.

I recognize that I can only get a certain amount done and I want to be doing the things that make sense.

That includes scheduling time for me too!

After all, in order to take care of others you gotta take care of yourself so you do have to ensure that you are blocking out time to do things that build you up.

All of these things you can do and with practice you will get into a routine and stop feeling so overwhelmed!