Carving Out the Time to Lead
CAD Managers are
pressed for time from every direction. Supporting the tools and talents
of the user community in your office takes a considerable amount of
time. While you may be the bottom line related to support issues, there
is also the need for your firm to have someone focused on the technology
future and leading them there.
Here are seven
ideas related to freeing up time that work for me.
1. SPEND TIME
If you are like
me, you have your agenda all laid out and think it through on the
freeway as you head to work. As soon as you arrive – It goes out the
window. The latest server crash or system failure greets you as you
open the office door. Don’t chuck your agenda totally. Keep one handy
in case you get some free time. Keep it in Outlook or any other tech
tool you may have.
2. SET GOALS
Make sure that you have goals for each area of your oversight. Goals
allow us to focus on the short and long term. Keep long term goals
within reason. Set short term goals based on your long term goals.
Keep a list and update it every three months.
Now that you have an agenda and a list of goals, prioritize them. Be
brutal in your efforts to keep the greatest impact items at the top of
the list. The old 80-20 rule applies to your time. Eighty percent of
your time will result in only twenty percent returns. Manufactures
studies have determined that initial focus and designs are insufficient
88% of the time. So once you have prioritized, do it again the next
day. I like to review my list after any major submittal, milestone,
purchase, deployment or hardware failure.
4. MAKE A "TO
Now that your prioritized your goals and agenda, make a daily “to do”
list. This could be on a slip of paper, or in your head (not good for
busy times), or in Outlook. Whatever you do keep it simple and easy to
create. Check off items as you complete them or at the end of the day.
Left over items goes on tomorrow’s list. If you don’t complete
something in a few days, then analyze why it is on the list in the first
place. I like to keep my task list in Outlook as appointments. That
way I get reminders throughout the day of what need to be done.
5. USE YOUR
BEST TIME FOR THE PIVOTAL TASKS
This is the time of day when you are at your natural best. Are you a
early go getter? Get in early and start the toughest or best projects
before others arrive. Are you a night owl? Stay late and clear your
desk. Pivotal tasks are those that will influence the greatest number
of users, projects, dollars or deadlines. These are critical.
6. BE FLEXIBLE
If you plan out all of your time, you will obviously be frustrated by
interruptions. Your job is to provide customer (user) service at all
times. This means that you want to be interrupted, so that you can
provide the needed services. Try to not schedule more than 60% of your
time. That way you can deal with interruptions, unplanned activities,
meetings without notice, and other unpredictable events.
7. DIVIDE BIG
TASKS INTO SMALLER
Often the tasks you have require extended periods of time to complete.
A big task may seem daunting and lead to procrastination. Slice and dice
the job. This involves cutting the big task into small "slices" and
then doing each of the smaller tasks in short manageable time slots.
Often it works to divide a task in eight time slots of 15 minutes,
rather than in one two-hour block. By doing a little at a time you will
eventually get it done.
Mark W. Kiker