Focus on the Vital Few
Take a hard look at where you are spending your time each day. Review the Pareto Principle from the MAP workshop which talks about focusing on the vital few and ignoring or delegating the trivial many. As you review your work activities ask yourself if those activities are contributing to your vital few. It is not uncommon for bosses to discover they are doing the work that belongs to their direct reports. Delegate activities to the right people and stay focused on what is important. Put a plan in place to better manage your time and resources and keep the vital few the #1 priority.
Managing better starts with you and requires managing what you do more efficiently. Try logging and reviewing your activities and work. Are they contributing to your “vital few”? If not, commit to creating a plan that prioritizes those vital few, taking time, resources and people into consideration. At the very least, your plan should include the following goals, as highlighted by MAP coach Steve Behunin in one of our professional webinars.
- Streamline activities and discontinue many tasks, delegate to others more and/or train when necessary
- Identify and cut out time wasters and robbers
- Amend, tailor and simplify unnecessarily complex procedures
- Restructure cumbersome daily routines, quit nonproductive work habits
- Train yourself if you truly don’t know how to do something the fastest, most sensible way
Now, achieving these broader goals also includes strategic action steps. For example, if you’re currently starring in that classic, do-it-all, always-saving-the-day “Superhero” role, start shedding that big, emblazoned “S” by writing up a daily roadmap for each day, sticking firmly to its timeframes, responsibilities and boundaries. (It’s still Ok to build in a couple hours every day/week when you can tackle unforeseen business crises – but make that part of your plan!) You might also have to institute greater accountability among your reports with problems, requiring them to bring more solutions to the table. And if meetings are your big time-sucker, develop tricks to nix nonproductive tendencies, better regulating time and energy there.
As a leader, you can’t expect your direct reports to focus on the vital few if you’re not doing so yourself. Be that critical catalyst for the very change you want transforming your culture and driving goal achievement. Show others how they should treat their time, resources and other staff members, and soon, everyone will be spending their precious minutes more wisely, keeping the vital few in the forefront of all they do. For these efforts, everyone — including you — will reap big rewards! Don’t be shocked if you find yourself in a sort of newfound “management zen,” where you’re more relaxed, at peace and yet surprisingly productive.
What are some time wasters you’d want to eliminate?