If you plug ‘time management’ into your search engine, many of the results only cover how we can hack our performance or adopt skills and habits to help get our job done. But what is the best course of action when managing others and their output is your responsibility?
Striking a balance between helping others manage their tasks and keeping your own in check is often tricky, so it’s no surprise it can take many first-time managers a while to find their footing.
Thankfully, there are plenty of things all managers can do to make life easier, not just for themselves but for every member of the teams they manage. Things could usually run more efficiently, from employee scheduling for your team to using project tools.
But beyond the basics, taking time to enquire how your team works can often be one of the best ways to find and address areas for improvement, both for your team as well as for your managerial style and strategies.
Let’s take a look at six time-building tips for managers to help you be the best that you can be in your role moving forward.
1. Top Priority
Looking at your tasks and assessing their priority will be crucial in how you go about creating a daily schedule that works with you rather than against you. Start by looking at what the most important tasks are. If you’re unsure how to categorize your priorities, many people start with a basic Eisenhower matrix to help them.
Another fantastic method for prioritising is to assign your smaller tasks to the beginning or end of the day. If smaller tasks like email and scheduling pile up quickly, it may be worth allocating a mini slot for that towards the end of the day to either wrap up on your workday or plan your next work day so that you know what tomorrow will bring, making it easier to prioritise.
2. Use The Right Tools
To help structure your days and keep everyone on track, you will want to find tools that allow you and your team to get the most out of your time together. Before you dive into all the possible options, start simple with your calendar by breaking down large tasks into smaller ones.
It’s easier to see what’s going on and when and where you might have time. Project management tools will help everyone stay connected and clear. Studies show that using these digital project management methods are less stressful for staff than penning out company-wide emails, which can be a real distraction to absorb during other tasks.
3. Focus On Communication
It’s not always easy to be everything to everyone, but as a manager being on top of your tasks will allow you a little extra time to be present and keep up with your team. Checking in with your team frequently will give them the opportunity and confidence to bring things to your attention early.
One of the key aspects of communication is listening. This is why, in your role, it often pays back tenfold to hone in on the small details, as these can have a big impact on employee performance and job satisfaction.
Make sure you fully understand your team’s viewpoints before making any changes. You can increase your awareness by asking open-ended questions and encouraging people to send notes about their work day privately if you’re looking for insights on pain points in your work environment or within any given project or task.
4. Ensure You Delegate
If you address the first three points in this list first, you’ll be able to delegate more effectively, which is incredibly valuable when you consider that delegation is one of the greatest tools in a manager’s arsenal.
Delegation can allow business owners to place their staff members on all the projects or tasks that best suit their skill sets. Simply put, a manager with a strong understanding of the strengths (and weaknesses) of their staff members, is more likely to have a well-orchestrated professional team.
Once you get to know your staff, it’s up to you to decide who’s best suited to take on the tasks you wish to delegate. If you’re still unsure about how to delegate to your team, however, we recommend taking the time to do some research online to learn the tips and tricks you need to boost your own confidence in lightening your load and delegating like a pro.
5. How To Help
To be most useful to your team, you must be clear on what needs to be addressed before you can come up with solutions. Many of the tools we’ve mentioned above will allow you to conduct time audits, see data, and include performance breakdowns.
Your team must know this isn’t about being the best of the bunch, but instead seeing how you can help by trying to remove or improve things that currently impede their productivity.
Consider sharing your calendar with your team so they know when you’re available. Taking this measure should reduce rates of scheduling fatigue in your team, as well as make you seem like a more accessible leader in the workplace.
Another way to streamline communication and improve the quality of interaction and staff relationships is to schedule time in your day or week to hear questions, queries, and feedback so you can stay proactive and problem-solve effectively.
6. Personal Development
It’s always worth remembering that helping yourself will, in turn, benefit your team. Taking time for yourself and to invest in your own self-improvement will also be key in managing your stress and well-being while working in a managerial role.
Or better still, why not learn right alongside your team? Over time, collaborative learning and development will become another way for you to support and connect with the teams you manage, as well as showcasing to your own employer that you are committed to getting results by investing self-improvement for all.
You can invest in development and training by holding training seminars at work, or even by implementing workplace goal-setting for both team members and managerial staff. Check out these personal development goals for managers to give you an idea of what you want to work on next.
With all these time-building tips at your disposal, chances are you’ll be able to build your managerial skills and settle into your leadership role with minimal fuss. Just be sure to keep these six tips at your disposal to make your transition into leadership as seamless and organic as possible.