Effectively Managing Your Time When Covering For Others
Time management is one of the biggest struggles we see in businesses today. This is especially true when you’re having to take on someone else’s responsibilities for a time.
In this blog, I’ll break down how you can manage your time effectively and complete the most important tasks in time without having to sacrifice your sanity.
The first thing to remember is that you can only do what you can do. There is no point trying to overstretch yourself, and some things will just have to wait.
You already know that you’ll do your best, so be comfortable with that and then work out where your best will be directed.
Know the end goal
Without having goals in place, how do you know what you should be working on or towards?
If you have a list of tasks, try filtering them through an end-goal objective – ask yourself “does this task take me closer to what I want to achieve?”. This will give you a clearer picture of what is important.
Defining what’s important?
A great tool to use to help organise your tasks into levels of importance is the Eisenhower Matrix.
Its 4 quadrants are separated into:
Important–Urgent tasks include things like crisis management, pressing deadlines and scheduled meetings.
Important–Not Urgent would include preparation and planning, business and personal development, relationship building and so on.
Not Important–Urgent tasks are some emails and phone calls, unimportant meetings, admin, etc.
Not Important–Not Urgent are the real time wasters (tasks and people), spending time on social media, some calls and emails, etc.
Once you’ve categorised your tasks into these segments, you know what you need to focus on.
Ideally, you would be spending most of your time in the green Important–Not Urgent segment as this is where the tasks that can make the biggest impact live. If they reach Important–Urgent then you are likely to be firefighting at this point.
Delegating can also make a real difference to your time management and is a really useful skill to develop. When you have a team that you trust and processes that work, this should be very easy to do.
Make sure that you are not spending time on tasks that do not require your level of skill. Your efforts are better suited to doing the important elements of your job, so delegate out anything that isn’t to someone else.
Doing the work
Now you have your tasks prioritised, you should be able to pick the top 3 that need to be completed today. You may have 3 for you and 3 for the person you’re covering, but you at least know what your focus is today.
Use the Pomodoro technique to effectively manage your day. This technique consists of 30 minutes of focused work followed by a 5-minute break. If you would like to find out more about this technique, you can find all of the amazing advice and tricks here https://francescocirillo.com/pages/pomodoro-technique.
A lot of people struggle with taking the 5-minute break, but it is essential in making sure your energy levels (mental energy in particular) can be maintained throughout the day.
So take your 5 minutes. Get up, walk around, get some water, then come back just that little bit refreshed ready to go again.
Time management becomes much easier once you have a plan, even when you’ve been lumbered with other people’s jobs. Know your goal, work out what the priorities are in achieving that goal, then work sensibly to get there.
We’re experts in taking on those lower-value tasks that eat up your time. Contact us and see how we can help you manage your time more effectively.
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