Ever wonder why your manager seems to get so much done without seeming to do a lot of work? It is not that they are doing nothing; it is more because they are doing things right. If you take the time to observe your manager, you will probably notice him or her doing five things that you may not be doing. These five things are easy tricks to successful time management at the office.
- Manage what hits the inbox. You should conduct an audit of the type of things that land in your inbox, whether it is paper or electronic. You could be getting copied on information that you do not need to see, if so ask to be removed from the distribution list. You might be seeing stuff that requires action but it is not in your realm of skill or responsibility, if so pass the information on to the right person and possibly suggest they request your name be replaced with theirs on future correspondence. That should just leave what you need to know or you need to act upon. For the remaining items, act upon them in some way so you do not need to keep going back to them.
- Keep desk clean. Clutter is distracting and makes it hard to find what you need when you need it. Put photos and memorabilia on a shelf or bulletin board, not on your desk. Make it a habit to put everything away before you leave for the day or go out to lunch, so you come back to a clean work area. Develop a filing system that works for the things you want to keep. Then immediately recycle or trash the things you do not need to keep.
- Go to lunch earlier or later than noon. Most people go to lunch at noon so there will always be time wasted standing in line to get a table, wait on the food order, wait on the check and pay it, plus traffic to and from the location where you eat. It does not matter if you go out or eat in the company cafeteria; noon is always a crowded time. Instead go at 11:00AM or 1:00PM to get a quicker and quieter lunch experience.
- Keep track of who is interrupting and why. If you know who is always stopping by to ask questions or just talk, then you can work together to reduce unnecessary interruptions. This will work for both of you in managing your time better. Together you should set 10-15 minutes to meet once or twice a day instead of having multiple disruptions during the workday. Since you set short meetings, you can stand during the meeting to ensure they do not go longer.
- Prepare for meetings. Gather everything you need for the meeting you are participating in or leading. Put the meeting on your calendar 5-10 minutes ahead and a few minutes after. In the minutes before, you have time to get ready and get there on time. In the minutes afterwards, you can get moving on any action items you got from the meeting. Also, make sure the meeting has an agenda so everyone’s time is used efficiently when you are all together. If you were not sent an agenda, ask for it before the meeting starts.
Now that you have reviewed the five time management tricks that most managers use successfully, will you consider using them too? If you apply these simple concepts to your work in the office, you should see that you too can get more done.