When you are in a senior-level executive role, most of your day is spent putting out fires and managing interruptions in the form of emails, phone calls and meetings. It goes without saying, but managing these interruptions is vital to keeping control of your day and being effective. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to do this and do it well.
For instance, one way to increase sales productivity and decrease interruptions from your team is to invest in proper training from the get-go. Not only that, but also implementing sales tools that empower the entire team to like a well-oiled machine. Of course, that only addresses one stress-inducing task on your plate. So, here are a few more tips to help you work smarter, not harder.
1. Figure out what tasks take up the most time during your day
Before you can implement a time management plan, you will need to do a time study of your day, try writing everything you do and how long you spend on each item for a week. Once you find out where your time is spent, you can create a plan to encompass your needs.
While there are a plethora of time management tips and tricks and a slew of experts who have a variety of methods, following these three basic fundamentals of time management will ensure your workday is productive and less stressful.
2. Create daily and weekly to-do lists
Consistently making to-do lists at the start of the day and then realistically prioritizing those tasks is critical. There are plenty of resources available online that help you create and manage effective to-do lists. Find a method that fits your needs best and then make it the first thing you do everyday. Each morning identify three items that must be done that day and focus on those. Trying to cram too many items into one day will instantly stress you out and put you behind the curve.
3. Set aside time each day for “fire drills”
Interruptions are inevitable, however, if you build them into your day they won’t be as stressful. Plus, if you end up with less interruptions than you planned on you will be able to take on additional tasks. You can even consider including all meetings and planned breaks in this category.
If possible, set aside time that you can turn the ringer off on your phone so you can minimize interruptions and maximize productivity during set blocks of time throughout the day. Additionally, if you get notifications when you receive new emails turn them off, that is one distraction that is completely controllable. Just set aside time periodically to check email.
4. Delegate, delegate, delegate
Handing off nonessential tasks to your direct reports will not only lighten your load, it will also presents a learning opportunity and additional responsibilities to boost their confidence and base of knowledge.
Always keep in mind, if someone else can complete a task 70% as well as you could, then it is worth delegating off your plate.
Once you put these simple methods into your daily routine you will immediately notice that your workday will run smoother and you will feel some pressure lifted from your shoulders.