Good management looks – and often feels – like spinning several plates precariously resting on handheld sticks. The trick to successfully pulling it all off is to keep the actual “plate spinning” to a minimum through smart scheduling, organization, and delegation. in a busy office, particularly if you’re already entrenched in a broken routine of habits, this is definitely easier said than done! That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to start making changes, however: in fact, you can start immediately.
Tame the Email Beast
Recent surveys point to email being one of the largest time-consuming tasks for employees at every level, topping out at an average of 3 to 4 collective hours in an 8 hour day. As a manager, your emails do need to be reviewed, but unless you’re actively engaged in a real-time back-and-forth on a time sensitive issue, they can typically wait. Efficiency experts suggest picking up the phone or turning to a team messaging app when you need to handle something with a deadline, such as a shipment of products or an important financial decision. It’s faster and easier, and you can always create brief notes to keep up a paper trail. Keep your email-checking to specific times throughout the day to prevent distractions from more important projects.
Frontload Your Important Tasks
Start your day by tackling the hardest and most complex issues you can. It’s human nature to put off tasks that are considered unpleasant or complicated, but pushing them closer to the deadline will negatively affect both the quality of your work and your stress levels. Starting these difficult to-do items early will ensure you’re facing them with a fresh, alert state of mind and with the most resources – advice, information, and so on – available, because your employees will be in the same state of mind as well.
Get Comfortable with Handoffs
Delegation is the one area where many managers struggle, concerned that assigning work will feel like passing the buck, or worried that the employee will do a less diligent job than they would themselves. In short, this isn’t sustainable. Work gets assigned to those that have proven themselves, but if that opportunity never arises, it becomes a case of one person constantly being handed more and more work.
A good manager knows how to challenge his or her team, spreading work around evenly to keep stress to a minimum and productivity at high, sustainable rates. Support your team with training first, then trust, and don’t take on jobs they can handle for the sake of micromanaging. While it might seem counter-intuitive at first, letting go of some control is an important part of being a successful manager.
Set Yourself Up For Success
Distractions should be treated with the same decisiveness as a physical spies for the competition prowling around your offices would: identify them and shut them down immediately. Something as small as push alerts on your smartphone for social media sites will tear your attention away in micro-moments all day long. If you’ve got a chatty team member that often interrupts you, start enforcing office hours, or use a visual indicator that you are busy with a task, such as a sign or light. Your time and ability is valuable, and your habits should reflect that hierarchy during your workday.
Management is a challenging role, but if you approach it methodically and intelligently, it’s also an extremely rewarding one. Try these tips in your office and don’t be surprised if you get considerably more done once they’re implemented.