The current business environment seems to be making things pretty tricky for managers. With the business world operating in a variety of models — from everyone working from home, to hybrid, to everyone in-person — it can make it really difficult for managers to effectively support their teams and do their jobs to drive results for the organization. Managers need to be aware of who is choosing what and where. And that’s just the physical part of the job. They must also spend more time considering their peoples’ emotional states too.
In short, being a manager is tougher than ever. But there are tips to help this indispensable role perform to the best of their abilities. Check out these six tips to evolve from competent managers into Mega-productive managers.
Tips to Sharpen Your Mega-Productive Manager Skills
Tune-Out: Mega-productive managers are amazingly good at tuning out the many distractions that come at them throughout the day, particularly if they have a major deadline they are working towards.
- Schedule working time on your calendar. Don’t allow yourself or others to schedule over time you have blocked. Hold it sacred until you’ve finished what you need to finish. The undistracted time will help you be more focused and more efficient.
- Step away from your email. I know this is hard. Not long ago, one of my digitally untethered and enlightened friends threatened to throw my phone in the lake while we were on vacation together. While the very thought of that induced hives, the truth is, I know being in constant communication often wreaks havoc on my ability to truly focus on what matters most at that point in time. Give yourself permission to disconnect for a little while every day to allow yourself to go heads-down in your work.
Act Now: Mega-productive managers do not procrastinate. If they can do something right now, they make it happen.
- Apply the five-minute rule. If a task comes your way and it can be done in five minutes or less, do it right away! Resist the temptation to add it to your to-do list. When you wait on the little stuff, your list grows exponentially and can quickly become overwhelming, which leads to … you guessed it! Procrastination. If it’s simple, do it now.
Focus on the Few: Mega-productive managers know what’s most important to get done every day and that’s how they prioritize. No more, no less.
- Know your MITs. Help yourself slay that never-ending to-do list by ending every day with a quick two-minute reflection on the top three things you need to accomplish the next day. Those are your most important tasks (MITs). Commit to getting those done, no matter what. By focusing on the few, rather than that super long list you have, you’ll be sure the day doesn’t slip away from you.
Make the Call: In the same way that they don’t procrastinate getting things done, Mega-productive managers also don’t hesitate to make decisions.
- Don’t overthink decisions. When we’re busy, it’s easy to push out decision-making. You tell yourself you’re waiting for more information. Or, for things to calm down so you have a minute to figure it out. Recognize that these are excuses and they simply cloud your mind more and paralyze your productivity. Consider the facts you have at hand, trust what your team is telling you and make the call.
Empower Your People: Perhaps the single biggest thing that Mega-productive managers do better than the rest of us is to master the art of delegation.
- Uncover your barriers to delegation. It’s hard to argue that delegation is a game-changer when it comes to productivity, but why do so many of us avoid it? Get real with yourself and recognize what’s getting in your way. Then, ask yourself two questions. First, “What’s at stake if you don’t make a change?” And then, “What can you do to minimize the risk you perceive?”
Take a Break: This one may seem counterintuitive, but the mega-productive manager crowd will tell you nothing hampers your ability to get things done more than trying to do it all when you’re running on empty.
- Work in short bursts. Rather than powering through your work, try being diligent about working in short bursts. Go heads down in whatever you are working on for 25 minutes at a time. Set a timer to keep yourself focused. When time is up, take a five-minute break. Get up and get moving when you do! Resist the urge to check email or hop on social media. Take your eyes off your screen(s) and give yourself a brief change of scenery, allowing both your body and mind to disengage.
Whether you start small with one or two of these tips, or go all in and adopt them all, making an effort towards mega-productivity will make you a more efficient individual and leader for your team. What other productivity tips do you have for managers?