Time to hit work after a wonderful weekend . . . check your email . . . get ready for all those wonderful meetings . . . and make sure you schedule for all the work coming down the pike this week.
Whoops! Forgot to tell you something . . . Most executives tend to forget that their job isn't supposed to crank out work (okay - that's part of your job - but just follow my thinking for a bit).
You are also expected to IMPROVE. CONSTANTLY.
Of course you work. But to be successful in your position, you need to be a machine. A machine that constantly strives to:
- Do better.
- Take on additional responsibilities.
- Never wear out (keep on running and have a bright smile every day).
But how do you do that? Your schedule is ALWAYS full. You come in early, you stay late, and you bring work home. How are you going to IMPROVE CONSTANTLY?
There are three little letters that will help you do that EVERY DAY: S D R
S = STREAMLINE Regularly look at your workload and apply the 80/20 rule to it. Why? Candidly, if you work day-to-day, you tend to get into little ruts in your work habits, your responsibilities, and your inter-personal connections. Not major ruts - small ones. What eventually happens is that they take over your schedule, eking out more and more time, until you find yourself working 60-70 hours a week and 10-20 hours at home.
These ruts steal precious time from those high-value, high-impact tasks that move you forward quickly. So on a monthly basis, stand back and look at your litany of responsibilities, and make highly critical assessments of each one. See how you can eliminate steps in accomplishing each task. Instead of a report, will an email suffice? Instead of an email, would a quick 2 minute phone call be in line? Instead of a phone call, how about a personal drive-by their office? Cut your email in half by using some quick tips (call me - 203.500.2421).
When you regularly cut small steps out of your responsibilities and accelerate your interpersonal communications, they go faster and get done quicker.
D = DELEGATE Take a close look at your responsibilities and see what ones can be delegated to your staff. Or delegated to technology.
That is your job as a manager - to constantly motivate your team and get them to take on more complex and harder tasks. So give them a taste of what you do. Here's the hint - don't give them the fun stuff - give them the tasks that you HATE to do. They will feel empowered that they are working on management-level responsibilities and you will have more time for more important things.
Or figure out how technology can come to the rescue. Review reports online rather than printing them out.
You'll find that your day gets more fun and you get to work on the stuff that really matters to your business and your success.
R = RETIRE Which tasks take up a lot of time but don't really deliver the impact that merits their priority?
Begin to prioritize all of your responsibilities and pick off one or two - stop doing them - see what happens. It might be a regular meeting that you have, a report that you do, a task that no one really appreciates. Try it - you might realize that no one notices that it's gone.
Candidly - this one is the hardest one to do - but when you get good at it - you'll find that this step delivers the biggest bang for your buck. Try it!