Managing your time at work is a constant challenge, whether you’re a new supervisor or an experienced maintenance manager. There are numerous techniques and tools for managing your time, but it normally comes down to each individual figuring out what works for them.
We asked the Bluefield team the following question:
What tools and techniques do you use to manage your time at work?
When managing yourself in any form, use the KIS principal. My simple techniques are:
Keep a strong calendar and maintain your bookings. If you’re leading a team and being grossly invited to meetings, ask what outcome are we trying to achieve with the meeting and if you need to adjudicate the whole session or just know the outcome.
look for and book in time away from outside influences. I use early mornings in the home office to finish documents where extended concentration is required.
I have used Stephen Covey's 4 quadrant model for managing my time - Q1 urgent and important work, breakdowns things that you have got to respond to now (Break in work) reactive work, Q2 Non urgent important work this is where you should be spending most of your time. This is the proactive area progressing your business objectives, Q3 urgent not important and Q4 non urgent not important work this is the time-wasting activities.
Q3 and Q4 work can be non-value adding. I found by thinking this way about tasks I was undertaking I became more focused by thinking about the work I was about to undertake which quadrant does it fit into against what my overall objectives and role purpose require of me. 80% of your time should be in Q2 progressing your business objectives or duties aligned with your role.
Plan your day: Start tomorrow with planning for it today. Last thing to do before you leave work today, is tomorrows planning. While we know change is certain, if you have a basis to depart from, you can adapt to changes. It also assists with keeping track of what got done and what not.
Big rocks first: Fit the big items (long time duration; high importance; quick wins) into your day first. All other things can fit in around the big ones.
Focus time: Plan some focus time into your day where you can turn off the phone/internet/distractions to work dedicated on important items. Limit focus time to 25-minute slots, spaced with 5 – 10 minute small items in between. Your brain needs time to digest information (diffused thinking) so that it can focus again for a longer period.
Grab the gaps: A five-minute break between big things should not go to waste. Make that quick phone call that would be a distraction later. Do this mundane task that won’t take long, but is not (yet) important. Write two sentences of that report you need to have done next week.
Turn off distractions: While smartphones can be wonderful tools, don’t allow them to dictate your work day. They can be switched off when they affect your productivity negatively.
Make notes: You have too much to remember, so don’t rely on your memory. When you write the things down you thought you would just remember, they become one less thing that takes up brain power. Notes will also assist you with keeping track of progress, what needs to be done, and your planning for the next day.
Click here to learn about our Effective Maintenance Supervision program, delivered through the Bluefield Academy.