How do I work more efficiently? How should I handle the volume? Where can I find more time? These are the questions my clients ask me.
There are several strategies I recommend. Here are a couple of small changes that can have a big impact on how you manage your time and keep focus on the important issues.
Redirect Group Email
Email and desk work takes up to 32% of most executives’ time. Ask yourself how much of your email is directed to you personally and how much is group or copied to you? If the latter is significant, you could consider siphoning copied emails to a separate folder via an inbox tool and de prioritising these.
Define You Communication Needs
Consider your team operating rhythm. How effective are your team one on ones and meetings? Do you get the information you need or are follow up meetings usually required? How can you be clearer with your team on what you need and how you want them to communicate with you?
Make Priorities Clear For Team
Think through the agenda and flow of these sessions. Make sure you are keeping your team up to date on changing priorities so that you can all let go of tasks that no longer matter. Encourage the team to share insights from their cross business interactions. Use your team to communicate with the wider business.
Train An Assistant & Delegate
How are you using your support team? With a little up front investment from you, a good assistant should be able to handle up to 30% of your volume and get you on to the important things faster.
Inform Your Admin Staff
Schedule time daily to prioritise work with your administrative staff. Make sure he or she understands the accountabilities of your direct reports so all queries need not go through you. Use him or her to review and sort your copied and group email and flag the few you need to know about. Ask him or her to summarize the facts for you in your catch ups.
Manage your health. Make sure you diarise time for food and short breaks. Ensuring you have time to pop out and buy and sandwich will make you feel more in control and ensure you have the energy to get through your day.
When was the last time you said no or stopped something? If you are not doing this regularly chances are that you are not being as effective as you need to be. Take time to review the team activities against current organizational priorities. Be ruthless with things that no long fully align and empower your team to do the same.
Make sure you are connected into the business so that you keep abreast of changing dynamics and priorities. This will help you order your work, keep you topical and add value to your team.
By carving out a small amount of time to restructure your work flow you can be more effective and feel more in control.