In a ten-year-long study, researchers studied managerial behavior from top companies such as LG Electronics, Lufthansa, and Sony. The study shows that 90 percent of managers lose prime working hours due to menial activities and distractions. The remaining 10 percent avoid the tyranny of the urgent and eat the frog. Or in other words, they focus and employ effective time management hacks to overcome non-essential diversions. Managers and supervisors alike should strive to be ideal examples to the employees working beneath them. If they squander their time or make mistakes, it could start a negative domino effect within the company. To counteract this, here are some simple, supervisor-tested, time management hacks to help you provide a positive, purposeful, and committed example down the line of your dominos.
1. Take One Bite at a Time“As all entrepreneurs know, you live and die by your ability to prioritize. You must focus on the most important, mission-critical tasks each day and night, and then share, delegate, delay, or skip the rest.” – Jessica Jackley, co-founder of Kiva and later ProFounder How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. As your to-do list gets longer, it can start to resemble an insurmountable mountain of work. It’s important to separate your workload into smaller, more manageable tasks. Furthermore, when organizing your list, make certain that these tasks are essential and need to be handled by you. Cut it down and prioritize each bite. When you plan your day and fill your plate, ask yourself some core questions: Can you share some with others? Are there some parts you can save for later? Filter tasks based on urgency versus importance, but plan ahead to minimize how often urgent tasks occur. Try referring to the following time management hacks matrix:
2. SMART objectives yield meaningful results“Management by objective works – if you know the objectives. Ninety percent of the time you don’t.” – Peter Drucker Setting objectives can hone your team into a lean, mean, productivity machine, but it ultimately depends on how you set them. Smart objectives come from the acronym: Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time-bound As you incorporate each of these in your objectives, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to identify and measure results. Set measurable objectives for your team and determine tools for measurement in advance. Divide objectives into short term and long term. For example, a long term objective could relate to annual reports, while short term goals would consist of daily, weekly, or monthly KPIs. You can even ramp it up by creating even shorter terms such as setting agendas and takeaways for meetings. What do you want to get done in each meeting? In each week? During the month? The year? Objectives determine these results. When you set general objectives, you’ll get general results. You don’t want that. SMART is good.
3. Don’t Hesitate to Delegate“Once you’ve identified your crucial tasks and sorted out your priorities, try to find a way to delegate everything else. The inability to delegate is one of the biggest problems I see with managers at all levels.” – Eli Broad Delegating a task to someone doesn’t mean you are too weak to do it, or that you are giving up, or anything negative in that sense. Because you provide the link between upper management and your direct reports, delegation is part of your job as a mentor, leader, and supervisor. You are the first domino. You make the first move, and the effect takes place according to your lead. However, delegating can get difficult and cause you to lose time if you don’t execute it correctly. Here are some tips to smooth out your delegation process:
- Get to know your team individually. How are you supposed to know who can effectively accomplish what if you don’t understand how to best utilize the unique strengths of each team member?
- Be specific. “Hey can you create an email? Thanks, bye.” No. The more vague your request, the more vague your result will be.
- Don’t overdo it. When you delegate core responsibilities, you can create the impression within your team that you don’t contribute to the overall function of the company, which can hurt company culture and team morale.
- Remember the Golden Rule: Treat others how you would like to be treated. Say please and thank you, exercise patience, appreciate and express appreciation often.
- Evaluate and adjust. Try a 360 feedback system and strive to improve relationships.