Tag Archives: using time wisely

When I have more time

how to delegate to free up time

One of the easiest ways to gain more time is to delegate.

The reality is that we will never have more time; everyone has the same 1440 minutes in a day, and the same 168 hours in a week.

It’s what we do with that time that counts.

It’s not just how we spend our time that impacts us, but how our team spend their time, too. When they’re not being as productive as you think they should or could be it’s important to stand back and analyse why.

That’s one of the things I see often when working with inexperienced managers. They often get too bogged down in the day-to-day reactive tasks (which really should be carried out by their team members) and thus making very little headway on some of the proactive activities they should be working on to drive things forward.

I find it’s not unusual for newly appointed managers or supervisors to lack confidence in allocating or delegating tasks, for fear of losing control or in case the team member doesn’t do it as well as they would’ve done. Particularly when they have been promoted internally.

However, when they fail to delegate and trust team members to get on with things this can lead to frustration all round. The supervisor has too much to do and ends up with too little time to complete bigger picture and more proactive tasks. Their line manager is frustrated because there is little headway on these proactive activities. And the team members end up feeling undervalued.

Of course, this all has a knock-on effect on the customer too. Even if they don’t sense the frustration amongst the team, they will undoubtedly end up not receiving the best service possible.

If your supervisors are struggling to let go and not sure how to delegate here are 7 ideas and points to review with them.

  1. Get them to identify what they are here for; what things wouldn’t happen if the job didn’t exist. Most people will give you a list of the tasks or activities that won’t get completed. Let them give you this list but then go back and get them to identify the outcomes of those activities. For example: an activity might be conducting monthly 1:1 meetings with each of their team members, one of the outcomes of which is for team members to feel valued, ultimately contributing to their level of engagement and productivity.
    .
  2. Ask them to track and then analyse a day’s activity. Of all of the activities they completed during the day how many of these and what proportion of time was spent on things that only they could do, and that contributed to what they’re there for. Then get them to identify all the things that in a perfect world could be delegated to somebody else. See if there are any activities left, that really don’t need to be done at all.
    .
  3. Explain to them the difference between importance and urgency (ref: Stephen R. Covey ~ The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People). Help them identify examples of tasks which are non-urgent but important (QII activities). Then get them to break down these activities into the smallest possible denominator, so they can identify which tasks could be delegated, and schedule in the rest, so they can be chipping away at these QII activities.
    .
  4. Ask them to identify what holds them back with delegating; for them to be as honest as possible. Their responses might include: fear of losing control, reluctance to give up the tasks they enjoy, thinking it will be quicker to do it themselves, they’re not confident team members are capable, they’re afraid they’re going to get a negative response when they ask, they don’t want to overburden anyone.
    .
  5. Help them identify what can be gained if they were to delegate more tasks: free up time for proactive tasks, develop and/or stretch team members, the job might get done more quickly, more cheaply, and maybe even done better!
    .
  6. Before delegating anything, get them to prepare, by thinking through the purpose of the task, how it will be measured, what this person will need to carry it out effectively, and how it will be followed up. Here’s a delegation checklist I use with inexperienced managers and supervisors to help them to delegate by really thinking it through in advance. They won’t need this every time, but it helps focus their mind on what they need to consider beforehand.
    .
  7. Monitoring and measurement is an area where you might have extremes. Some newly appointed managers are so nervous about letting go, they hover the whole time and never give the person a chance to get on with it. But at the other end of the spectrum, you might have managers who simply make the assumption that everything is on track, and don’t do enough to monitor or follow-up that the task of been completed, as requested.

Letting go is a gradual process, and any inexperienced manager or supervisor will need time to build up their confidence before they will trust their team members to get on with the task in hand. So, in the same way you would expect them to review and follow-up with tasks they have allocated, you’ll need to do the same with them to build up their confidence and skill.

If you only do one thing: Observe your managers and supervisors for an hour and see how many tasks they perform which could easily be done by someone else in their team, and discuss with them one task or activity they could delegate to give them more time.

p.s. If you’d like some help training your first line managers how to delegate set up a call with me here, via my online diary


Time ~ Don’t throw away your most valuable resource

using time wisely

Time.

The most precious resource we have.

Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Despite the latest lockdown, it would be such a waste to let ourselves stand still or fritter away time if your business is closed again.

After just two weeks of late nights and sleeping in late, getting up again at my ‘normal’ time was a bit of a struggle yesterday. So if I continued to skip my normal routine I know it would get harder and harder to get back to productive mode.

You may have been working flat out over Christmas, but now forced to close. Maybe you’re on furlough and not sure when you’ll be back full time. Or you took a well-earned break over Christmas and now have extra pressures on your business to comply with Government guidelines (if this applies to you, this blog post will still relevant).

Whatever your situation, think about how you can make best use of that valuable resource – your time.

Here are 3 things you can do now and be using your time wisely

Customer Journey

Your customers’ journey has no doubt changed over the past 10 months. And will continue to change. Take stock of how well it works right now.

  • What is the experience your customers get?
  • Is it seamless?
  • Are your guidelines clear?
  • Do your customers feel reassured you are taking care of their safety and that of your team?
  • Are any cancellation queries being answered with understanding and consideration?
  • Ask you team what feedback, comments or frequently asked questions they have received from customers.
  • Ask your customers directly what you can do to help them. Not only does this help you to help them, it provides a great ‘excuse’ to stay on their radar.

 

Systems and processes

It’s all too easy to add new systems and processes (particularly in light of Covid guidelines) without dropping old ones which no longer serve you well, thereby over loading your team.

  • What checklists, processes or guidelines are now outdated?
  • Where would a checklist improve consistency?
  • Where are there gaps?
  • What are the aspects you get most complaints about?
  • What are the tasks you get asked about the most or where team members struggle or make mistakes?
  • Where would a documented process avoid everyone having to re-invent the wheel each time they perform that task?
  • Where are there bottlenecks or too much red tape?
  • Where is there too much to-ing and fro-ing (for your team or customers)?
  • Ask your team which processes or systems they find cumbersome

 

Personal Development

One thing everyone can do during lockdown is consider their personal development. Support your team in their development, both for their existing role and to help fulfil their aspirations.

Even if your team are on furlough, personal development is one way of keeping positive and productive.

  • What roles or tasks might they need to cover before you are fully operational?
  • What is their next career move, and what skills could they be working on to help them get there?
  • Where are their strengths to tap into for future?
  • If you’ve already had to make team members redundant, show your support for them too, so they continue to develop and be better placed for potential roles they apply for.
  • What can you be working on to make you a better leader?

 

If you only do one thing to help use your time wisely

Set short term goals for yourself and everyone in your team if they are not on furlough, so you have something to work towards over the next few weeks. Even those on furlough can set some personal development goals and share these with you for accountability.

Video: Tips for goal setting

Your customer journey has changed video

Planning personal development