Monday, January 7, 2013

Top 8 Time Wasters for PMs

1. Confused Responsibility or Authority. Prepare a list of responsibilities for approval. Identify areas where jobs overlap. Insist on a level of authority parallel to your level of responsibility.
2. Drop-in Visitors. Recognize that "open door" does not mean physically open, but open to those who need assistance. Meet others outside your office. Stand up when someone enters and keep standing.  
3. Inability to Say No and Taking on Too Much. Refuse to spread yourself too thin. Concentrate your efforts. Count to ten before saying yes. When saying no, give reasons, and suggest alternatives. Say no by showing a list of agreed-upon priorities. 

4. Inadequate Planning. Recognize that every hour in effective planning saves four in execution and gets better results. Most managers tend to waste time in the same ways every day.

5. Ineffective Delegation. Lower your standards to what is acceptable, not to your own level of performance. Avoid perfectionism. Relax. Emphasize goal achievement, not methods. Measure results, not activities. Remember that the job of a manager is managing, not doing.

6. Meetings. Don't meet without a purpose or an agenda. Only those needed should attend. Test the need for regular meetings. Occasionally eliminate a meeting and see what happens. Summarize conclusions to ensure agreement.

7. Paperwork and Email. Read it once and handle it. Eighty percent of daily intake can be disposed of on first handling. Don't hoard it. Answer on the original when a copy is not essential. Standardize forms, file selectively, and alphabetically control your record retention.

8. Telephone Interruptions Solution. Develop a plan to screen, delegate, and consolidate. Set hours for taking calls. Preset a time limit ("Yes, I can talk for a few minutes"). Foreshadow ending ("Jim, before we hang up..."). Be candid ("Sorry, got to go now"). Refer calls to delegates. Plan calls, and list points to be discussed.

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