Do you find yourself falling further and further behind, the more responsibilities you take on as a manager or supervisor? Are you wondering where you will find the time to handle everything on your plate? It may be that the answer doesn’t lie in longer hours, but in streamlining processes, eliminating extras, and bringing others into the process.
Here are half a dozen specific ways to help streamline your days and increase your productivity.
- Get others involved. There are up-and-comers in every organization who are eager to learn more and take on additional responsibilities. Give them what they’re asking for. Train them in some repetitive portion of your work, let them work beside you for a day or two, then turn them loose (and make sure they report in regularly) to see how they do. They grow in capability and you have time for the managerial-level decisions.
- Set appropriate boundaries. Are you known for being “always available”? Do staff drop in unannounced because you’re willing to put down everything and talk with them? That might have been fine when two people reported to you, but it doesn’t work well for twenty. Set firm boundaries, not only with office hours, but also with expectations about email response times. This way you can be supportive and still get your own work done.
- Re-examine all sign-offs. Especially where patient healthcare or confidentiality is concerned, one past disaster can result in the institution of three more approvals in order to prevent a recurrence of the error. Instead, explain the history behind the extra work, train employees in doing the work right, then trust them to do so. Human nature being what it is, a tale told will not be forgotten, and being trusted will lead to an increase in responsible behavior.
- Create a “fun to do” list. This is a list of things that need doing that you wish you could make time for. Then choose two or three each day, and do them. That way things get done, without all the dread that comes from a 25-item “no fun to do” list.
- Trim one expense. Each expense represents time—in making the decision, then handling the product or service purchased—and just about every office has one or more of these that can disappear without anyone really noticing. Make a game out of finding such an expense in your office, and eliminating it.
- Reflect rather than react. When we get busy, we tend to react to things rather than taking the time to reflect, then intelligently respond. Make a habit of getting out of the office for a 20- or 30-minute walk, or grab the stale donuts in the break room and go feed the birds at a local park. The birds need the calories more than you do, and you need time to let your brain catch up with everything that’s been going on. You will return refreshed, with decisions made, and be able to be much more productive.
Struggling to stay productive in a busy workplace? Request great staff to make your life a little easier!
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