Being promoted to manager is an honor and an exciting career step. However, soon after receiving the congratulatory messages, new managers are faced with the harsh reality that they won’t be able to tackle their workload if they try to take on every task that comes their way.
Time management is a skill that new managers must master if they don’t want to work 15-hour days. To minimize stress and prevent new manager burnout, here are several best practices to implement:
1. Realize that it’s okay to say “no.”
New managers are go-getters, so it’s tempting to say “yes” to any assignment that comes across the plate. However, if you bite off more than you can chew, you’ll have an ever-growing to-do list that you won’t be able to tackle. Before saying “yes,” managers should ask themselves if the task is mission critical to the organization. If not, don’t be afraid to say “no.”
2. Be selective with meetings.
If you’re not careful, your calendar can quickly fill up with meetings, leaving little time to accomplish your tasks. Before committing to a meeting, determine if it’s absolutely necessary to meet or if it’s a topic that can be efficiently addressed in an email. If you do determine that a meeting is necessary, use an agenda to keep the meeting on task.
3. Audit your calendar.
Productive managers use their calendars to help guide their days. The trouble is that new managers typically have few empty time slots on their calendars. If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned up your calendar, take the time to do so periodically to determine if the tasks are truly the best use of your time or if someone else on your team is capable of handing them.
4. Don’t let your email inbox dictate your day.
The average employee receives 121 emails each day, and managers typically receive even more. Instead of taking care of tasks as they come through your inbox, make a point to only check your email at specific times throughout the day.
5. Delegate objectives.
Instead of delegating a bunch of tasks to your direct reports, hand off objectives. With this approach, your employees will take ownership for these responsibilities.
Embracing these best practices will prepare new managers to lead more effectively and minimize the risk of burnout.