Do you sometimes feel at the end of a busy day that you have not achieved anything? I know that I often wonder after running from meeting to meeting how productive I sometimes am in my role.
One of the most crucial steps in becoming fully effective in your role is to set priorities, understanding what is important and what isn’t in relation to the goals. Recently my Director said to me to go back and have a look at the previous month and break down my work into areas to see where my time was being spent, to see what I could delegate to ensure I was working on the right priorities for the business. This ‘job analysis’ was an eye opener for me as it highlighted how much of my time was spent on tasks that I know many of my team could have managed successfully. By delegating more and using the people I have around me effectively, it made me accomplish tasks faster and allowed my team to up skill in areas that will benefit the whole business.
One of the most crucial things to become more productive at work is to learn how to manage your time effectively. I start every morning going through my daily schedule. This allows me to analyse, allocate and manage how much time I need for meetings, emails and phone calls. To keep track of progress and milestones, I have a daily to-do list that I complete every morning and review each night before I leave the office. These to-do lists have my urgent and non- urgent priorities listed as well as my strategic goals. It is important to not lose sight of the over arching goals of the business strategy in the daily detail. By having these as a constant reminder it helps provide perspective.
The other idea to consider and one I find valuable is the “board governance vs management” approach to the work in hand. Try and visualise which of your daily tasks involve “governance” or guiding the business correctly and which tasks are “management”, making the business function which can be delegated and managed. Having it clear in your head where you trying to go, gives better clarity for your management actions
Being effective at work means you use your time to your best advantage. I am most effective in the mornings so I like to tackle those more demanding meetings and projects when I know I am more productive. Emails can be just as unproductive as too many meetings. I try to tackle my emails first thing in the morning and then try to avoid checking them too frequently as this will take me off task! Sometimes a simple call or quick chat with staff or clients is significantly more effective time wise than the often back and forward email time we engage in these days.