Priority first for managing projects, second time
You’re too busy for all that time management jazz. You prioritize in your head—who has time to make silly lists? And you’ve tried to block out appointments, but emergencies always throw everything awry.
Try managing projects instead of time. That way, you won’t need to check your watch every few hours or grow frazzled trying to jam too much into your day.
Here’s how to gain efficiency through project management:
Match task with the person. Break a project into its component parts—the specific jobs that you can delegate. Then assign these tasks to the appropriate people with deadlines (day and time) for them to complete each stage. Explain what you want done in writing, and include a numbered list of to-do steps to increase clarity. Distribute a master list of everyone’s role to the whole unit so workers can share information easily.
Give snappy introductions. When you’re asked to introduce a guest speaker to a group, distribute the person’s full written bio in advance. That way, you can limit your intro to two or three sentences and direct the audience to the handout for more on the speaker’s background.
Cluster related jobs. Maximize every trip from your office by arranging groups of meetings, inspections and errands near your destination.
Make “just-in-time” decisions. Smart managers choose the proper moment to gather and review the data they need to draw the right conclusion. If you rush to make a decision—only to revisit the issue repeatedly in the weeks ahead—you waste time.
Calendar should under control : It seems like I talk with clients about the challenge of taming their calendars at least two or three times a week. In the age of interconnected scheduling systems like Outlook and the continuous push to get more done with less in any given day, more and more leaders feel like Sisyphus rolling that big rock up the never-ending hill.
What the heck can you do to get your calendar back under control and have time to think, reflect, relax, connect, and have some fun and a life outside of work? I’ve been brainstorming that question with my clients lately.
Here are five strategies we’ve come up with that make a difference:
- Keep your most important objectives in mind.
- Use the help that’s available.
- Negotiate on requests for your time.
- Beware of standing meetings.
- Bundle meetings by location.
Delegating your to-do list : Delegating is management gospel. Unfortunately, some managers pay lip service to delegating: They do the job themselves because they think they can do it so much better and don’t have the time to explain how to do it to a subordinate.
This rationalization puts delegating skills right at the heart of any time management program: If you can’t or won’t delegate, you are managing your time badly. It’s as simple as that—and as difficult.
Managers who delegate can double, even triple, their productivity by utilizing other people’s talents—a key definition of the managerial function.
Poor delegators, by contrast, are constantly on the run, always late and behind schedule, with barely time to grab lunch.
More important than getting everything done is getting the right things done. How do you figure out which priorities are most worthy of attention?
Learn how to create a structured to-do list that organizes and prioritizes your work from the top down. This organizing map will help you achieve more at work and in life.
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