As a manager or business owner, you wear numerous hats. And as you’re pulling all the strings, there are many who rely on you for answers and guidance. Leading a business requires quick reflexes and staying a step ahead of the game, but at times the unexpected, whether at work or at home, will come up and force you to drop everything.
Using these productivity hacks, you can better maintain a buffer that will help keep you a step ahead and make dealing with “crunch times” or the unexpected feel much easier.
Delegate and empower
You’re one person and chances are you juggle more tasks than you can even remember. Time is your most valuable resource, and the fastest way to get more of it is to delegate. Delegate it all. Hiring and offloading all the tasks that are no longer valuable for you to do is the key to growth and the key to focusing on ‘what’s next.’
Knowing how to properly delegate is its own skill. One mistake managers make is not fully empowering those they hire. If you must (or are choosing to) play the role of “babysitter” to those you work with, then you’re not really freeing up your time. Give your team members all the tools, resources, and training they need to own the task and fully take it off your plate. You’ll enjoy the extra time to focus on other things, and your team members will enjoy learning new skills and playing a more crucial role.
It takes time in the field to learn what boundaries need to be set. Before you know what your real limits are, it’s easy to take on too much, over promise, or simply spend too much time humouring that extra needy client of yours. Before you know it, you’ve sacrificed everything outside of your most essential work in order to meet unrealistic expectations.
To avoid this, you’ll need to establish some boundaries. Managers often get pulled away by staff, clients, coworkers, and even family, but there could be ways of letting other (perfectly capable) staff members address the “urgent” issues that come up. You can also set boundaries by turning your notifications off at certain times of day, rewriting some of your policies at work, or learning how to gracefully say “no” when you must.
Track your time
As an experiment, install a time tracker on your computer and phone to see where your time is going. Remember also to keep track of whatever do you off your computer and phone. Apps like RescueTime create a report that with a visual display of which activities consume most of your time. For an in-depth review of RescueTime, check out this article.
Though we all have a general idea of where our time goes, we often underestimate how much time we spend, especially in places we know aren’t work-related. Gaining a better awareness of where your time goes will help you make better decisions – either on what to offload onto an employee, which websites to avoid, or working on improving efficiency using technology, automation, or a better work process.
Work in the right environment
Set yourself (and your team) up for success by being in the right environment. Do you have the space and all the tools necessary to do the job? Some things to consider about your workspace that can boost your productivity and time efficiency:
- Being close to places you enjoy visiting outside of work
- Space so team members can take calls or do their work without feeling on top of each other
- Access to all office equipment – not having to waste time tracking it down
- Overall ambiance is uplifting and conducive to focus
At iQ, we create work environments that enable top performers to do their best work. Our private offices include ergonomic and reconfigurable furniture, abundant natural light, a sound masking system, and many other features that give businesses the resources to thrive.
Increase the time you spend planning
If planning isn’t your strong suit, or you really just don’t spend much time doing it, period, then you’re probably really underestimating its value. Spending some time on a Sunday to plan your weekly goals, or at the end of your workday to plan your next day could save you a much greater amount of time throughout your week. When you go into a new day or week knowing your priorities and having a list of tasks to execute, it puts you a step ahead and helps you deal with the unexpected. It also lets you see when you’re overcommitted so you can make adjustments.
This all goes back to delegating more. The goal is to do less so you can dedicate your time to planning your highest leverage activities.
Running a business demands a lot of mental and physical energy, determination, and patience. By using some of these productivity hacks, you can give yourself more of a buffer between the endless list of “things to do.” And remember it’s not all about being a better leader your business, it’s also about being who you want to be outside of work too.