Congratulations on your new position as a manager! There are lots of variables to consider now, and quick thinking should rapidly become second nature. Many well-meaning folks will give you advice for managing your staff, but it’s important to prioritize. To focus on what’s truly necessary. A big hurdle for many new managers is feeling like there’s just not enough time in the day. This is where time management skills come into play.
Regardless of management style or technique, managing your time and your team’s time efficiently will help ease the strain. It’ll also help you fall into a solid daily routine. Time management is an important concept to grasp early on in your career if you want to reach your goals and meet deadlines.
What are time management skills?
Seeing as how you were chosen for a managerial role, you most likely already have a knack for leading! When it comes to managing a store or restaurant, the term “time management” doesn’t only apply to things like ensuring employees come back from their breaks on time. (Although that is important, too.) It also applies to things like communicating well, delegating tasks, staying organized, and remembering to take your own breaks. Together, these skills allow you to be a more effective leader. Below, let’s explore these ideas in more depth.
1. Knowing when to take breaks
As a manager, you probably think breaks are a luxury or a labor compliance necessity. However, knowing when to take breaks should be closer to the top of the list than you might think. Making sure that you are well rested and prepared is actually pretty essential. Managing a team requires you to be at the top of your game, and that won’t happen if you’re exhausted or unwell. This is why knowing when to take breaks is actually a time management skill; breaks keep you healthier and more focused.
Make an effort to plan breaks into your schedule just as you would for your staff. For example, you might take a 15-minute walk twice a day during your shift to get some fresh air and clear your head. These small acts can really add to your stamina when it comes to leading your team to success.
2. Delegating tasks
This can be a hard time management skill to master, even among managers with more experience! You probably got to your current role because you took on whatever tasks were thrown your way. You’re now used to handling a lot and mastered the work that was given to you. But you’ll need to learn to let go. Not only is taking on too much bad for the team’s workflow, but it also can create bottlenecks. When that happens, you end up putting your team at a disadvantage because they can’t move forward without you.
As manager, you must recognize what each member of your team excels at and delegate tasks accordingly. This is less about limiting work for yourself and more about empowering your team to work independently toward a common goal. Doing so also leaves more room to spot areas of improvement; when you’re overworked, you’ll miss those details.
3. Good communication
Communication takes many forms. Previously, you might have thought good communication was centered around in-person meetings with direct eye contact. But the pandemic has changed things somewhat. You’ll want to embrace a broader definition and get used to the idea of chats, texts, and video meets.
So how does good communication help you manage your time? For one thing, it means limiting meetings to only necessary topics. It can also mean making sure the team is adequately prepared to discuss topics without distraction. Good communication should also be clear, honest, and to the point. This can foster a healthy feedback cycle between upper management and staff. Clear and concise policies also save time by preventing confusion that leads to duplicate work.
From knowing where certain supplies are stored to a contact list in case of emergencies, a manager’s organizational skills should not be discounted. Staying organized means being prepared, and being prepared saves time. It also means empowering the team to get the job done because they don’t need to come ask you where everything is. That’s why this is also an effective time management skill.
Staying organized isn’t limited to just inventory and supplies, either. It also means having a clear organizational structure that guides your team. Everyone should know exactly what their role is and who they report to. In the event that their usual supervisor is unavailable, they should know who to turn to next. Minimizing confusion will help everyone use their time more efficiently and prevent frustration.
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5. Focus on deliverables
Many times, new managers will rapidly bite off more than they can chew. Perhaps they want to prove their dedication, or they don’t realize that they’re still part of a team. Whatever the reason, it’s important to focus on required deliverables and not get too distracted with the “small stuff” that can crop up from day to day.
A successful manager will stay on task as much as possible. They may note areas that can be improved or other tasks that can be done, but they prioritize the items they’re most responsible for and delegate what they can. This also serves as a good example for the rest of the team. After all, they should be focused primarily on their own deliverables and primary tasks.
6. Ability to adapt
That being said, things will always come up. The faster a manager can adapt to changes, the more time they’ll save for themselves and their staff. Staff learn by example, so as a manager you need to be able to show them how to adapt. This can be critical when stock is delayed due to 3rd party shipping delays and supply chain disruptions.
Especially during the aftermath of a pandemic, being able to adapt to an ever-changing work environment is an invaluable quality every new manager needs. From staffing shortages to supply chain issues, managers need to stay flexible. They may need to change their routine or suddenly adapt to new policies. For example, many businesses are adopting fair workweek and secure scheduling policies even ahead of what their local and state laws require. These businesses are watching the trends and staying ahead of the game, but it does involve some pretty big changes around things like scheduling and timekeeping.
Well-practiced time management skills lead to success
As a new manager, managing your time can easily be one of the hardest things you do. Just remember: you got this. If it helps, write down the 6 skills listed above and take a minute your first week to analyze your strengths and weaknesses. You might even have your employees rate themselves on these skills and come together as a team to find ways to improve.
Management can mean long days and even longer nights, but the dedication does pay off. It’s important to ensure your team and business runs smoothly with the skills listed above. These are all great steps to make you prepared for anything that comes your way. If you want to level up your time management skills and be even more effective and efficient, try TimeForge. TimeForge is a labor management software suite designed to take care of the tedious “small stuff” so that you can focus on the things only you can do.