As a manager, you likely face challenges every single day. You face multiple responsibilities, hundreds of project tasks, tight deadlines to meet and not to mention the expectations that lie on your shoulders as a manager. It can leave you with a lot on your plate and only little time to get everything complete.
You can be working long days and a great deal of work to do, but not being productive with it at all.
Being productive means working smarter, more efficiently, and moving things forward. There is only so much time in the day – and only you can choose how you spend that time.
Here are 9 highly effective traits of a successful manager that will increase your productivity in no time.
Schedule an administration day
It is common for managers to have no boundaries and a diary filled to the brim with meetings. The problem here is, that constant meeting means there’s no time to catch up on emails or other obligations you may have.
An easy habit to start today is by scheduling an administration day every week. This means no meetings, and perhaps even limited phone calls. This hack enables you to work through tasks with limited distractions and you can stay focused.
Make sure you communicate this to your team and block out your public diary so that your team can see that you are not available for meetings to ensure your boundaries are respected.
The most efficient and quality work is completed when it has your full attention. It is easy when you are working to get distracted by notifications, emails, and social media but this only hinders your focus and productivity. Try muting all your notifications while you focus on important tasks.
Do one thing at a time
At first glance, sometimes the smarter option seems to be multitasking. But actually, multitasking is the quickest route to exhaustion, burn out and errors, which are more than likely going to cost you more time, money, and energy in the long run. It can be more productive to work on one thing at a time because it has your full attention and you can flow with it. Every time you split your attention between tasks, you have to keep starting from scratch to complete it.
Learn to prioritize
It can be easy for a manager to feel as if every task is urgent. This can make it difficult to know which tasks you need to complete first and often lead to multitasking (which you have learned can be unproductive). The best thing you can do is start your day by making a list of tasks you need to complete and then categorizing them using Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle. This entails splitting the tasks into four categories:
- Important and urgent
- Important but not urgent
- Not important but urgent
- Not important and not urgent
This principle allows you to see which tasks you should prioritize. It also allows you to reflect on the kind of tasks that continue to fall under the ‘important and urgent’ category and make changes for tasks that have fallen there due to procrastination, poor planning, or left to the last minute.
Implement efficient systems and procedures
Systems and procedures can make or break your productivity as a manager. They may take a little time to refine and set up at the beginning but will keep you and your team working more efficiently in the long run. There are going to be tasks that you and your team complete every day that, if streamlined, automated, or put into a template, can half the time and energy spent on it. This can be anything from building visual reports, sending internal communications, sales, and customer service to managing project tasks.
Take regular breaks
It may feel like this task is counterintuitive, especially if you find there is not enough time in the day to take a break. If that’s how you feel, then this hack is crucial. A break gives your mind and body a rest and time to refresh before getting stuck into the next task. This also helps you to understand the bigger picture, gain perspective, retain more information, and increase creativity. Scheduling breaks also give you deadlines to work towards throughout the day, which can drive you to get tasks completed quicker.
If you do not take regular breaks, eventually you will burn out and your body will force you to take one which can lead to a loss of concentration and doubling the time it takes to get anything completed.
Continue to learn
As above, it can seem counterintuitive to take yourself away from your work when you are trying to cultivate productivity. Constantly learning can help you become more productive, because the more you learn, the more skills that you master, and you, in turn, can perform tasks quickly and with fewer errors. It also keeps stimulating your mind to increase your focus, identifies new opportunities, and more efficient ways of working.
It can be hard to let go of control of some tasks, but it can increase overall productivity. When delegating, it is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your team first, so you can identify how to best distribute the tasks. If your team is completing tasks that work with their strengths, they are more likely to be completed efficiently and to a high standard, while also boosting confidence and morale. It also means you can work on tasks that you are best at. Don’t just neglect your team’s weaknesses though, keep them learning and growing by encouraging a collaborative environment where they can learn from each other. This can increase productivity by cultivating a well-rounded team.
Lead a healthy lifestyle
You can take on all the productivity hacks in the world, but if you do not lead a healthy lifestyle, you will feel sluggish and not work to your full potential. Getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a nutritious diet that fuels your body can increase your focus, mental state, and physical energy and in turn, significantly increase your productivity.
There are many ways you can increase productivity as a manager, and they don’t always have to be huge, expensive changes.