In a manager’s world, staying organized is winning half the battle.
With so many things to juggle all at once, without a sound organizational system that works well for you, you’ll have a much harder time staying on top of your world.
Here are our tips on organizing your managerial life to the best of your ability:
1. Have an email system in place
You will hear managers say they only do emails in the afternoon. Granted, replying to emails can eat up your day fast, especially as it requires you to shift from one matter to another. However, if you only reply to your emails once a day, you may be leaving someone stranded, as they can’t move on without an answer from you.
The way you can handle this conundrum is simple: first, establish an email subject system with your team so that they know exactly what to do to get your attention, and then set up email filters that will label emails as they come in. With this system in place, you can sit down several times a day, and deal with the important stuff first, and everything else later.
2. Do similar tasks in bulk
If you have a lot of one-on-one or group meetings, a lot of client calls, or a lot of planning you need to do all at once, try to jumble these tasks together. Set aside one day of the week for meetings, another day for planning, and so on.
Granted, you won’t always be in a creative mood, so you can let your creative tasks float around a bit and set aside multiple time slots for them. Everything else can be bulked together and checked off your list on the same day.
3. Never forget the bigger picture
As a manager, you are responsible for prioritizing tasks and letting your people know when deadlines are changing. When something unexpected happens, take a good long minute to consider how these new developments impact the bigger picture. Is there something you can move around to deal with the situation? Can someone take on a bit of extra work to help get things done?
Don’t let your employees make these decisions on their own. You will likely be aware of factors they are not privy to, so always step in to organize timeframes and sets of priorities yourself. That way, nothing will get overlooked because someone wasn’t in the loop.
4. Rely on templates to maximize efficiency
No matter what the nature of your industry is, there will certainly be things you do over and over again. Having a template in place for this purpose can significantly cut down production times.
You should have a template available for any task you do more than once (not literally, but you get the gist of it), and make it readily available to your staff.
For example, you should have Gantt charts at the ready, and you can see some good examples here that you can use. Anything you can save on Google Drive should have a place there, and we also suggest creating a Drive overview sheet, so you know where everything is at all times.
5. Work early or work late
The best time to get things done is when no one else is working – whether that’s before or after working hours. This doesn’t mean you have to work overtime every day. You can adjust your own working hours so that they coincide 80% with your team’s hours, but give yourself an hour or two when they’re not there.
The reasoning behind this is that you can get more done when there are no distractions: the phone won’t be ringing incessantly and you won’t be required to answer any questions, since you’re technically off the clock.
This can be a great time to go over the things that demand the most focus, and that would benefit from some peace and quiet.
6. Learn how to delegate properly
Delegating is one of the basic tasks every manager faces. But doing it right can be a challenge.
It will require getting to know your team really well: what each individual is best at, when they work best, how they respond to pressure, how creative they are, etc. Knowing all of this will help you choose the right person for any job, and that’s the smartest way to organize work in any team.
Try to learn as much about your people as you can, and see what makes them tick. Providing the right motivation all along is the best way to get them to perform their best. And remember, motivation is not all about monetary compensation. Making people feel valued and giving them the freedom to work the way they work best is what you should be aiming for.