For all but the most incredibly well organized individuals, good time management can be tough, to say the least. For retailers, it’s even more so!
Because we’re always looking for ways to help retailers…we thought you might get a few pointers from the process outlined below.
- Determine how much time you spend on various activities – Make a list of all of the things you routinely take care of during a normal day/week/month and assign a number of minutes or hours to each one. This exercise will draw your attention to things that are taking up too much of your valuable time. Awareness of this will assist you in determining which activities can be stopped altogether, delegated or combined with other activities to save time.
- Figure out how your personal speed measures up – People who get a lot done are moving fast most of the time. It’s difficult, in fact, to get them to slow down. Try walking through a mall with a high achieving go-getter of a District Manager and you’ll probably be out of breath in no time!
If you find that you’re moving a little on the slow side, you just need to put a bit more energy into everything you do. Move a little faster each day. This applies to getting things done as well as some of your decision making.
- Define Goals – Goals will include, but are not limited to, top success factors. In any case, they need to be well defined so that you can clearly see what kind of time allotment and resources will be needed to reach them.
- Prioritize- Any activity or task that will not move you closer to your achievement in your top success factors is not worthy of investment of your time. Keep a log of what you are doing with your time for a couple of weeks and then review it to make sure that all of your time has, in fact, been spent on top success factors.
- Work with To Do Lists – Daily or weekly, a ‘to do’ list must be created. It must include only those things that you have deemed to be priorities based on your top success factors. Others may inadvertently influence your ‘to do’ list unless you are very careful. Just remember whose ‘to do’ list it is.
Why is it important to use a to do list?
We can’t necessarily keep everything in our memory and, even if we could, why waste the brain space when you can jot it down on paper? Seeing the list of things written down on paper helps you to prioritize. Any possible duplication of effort can be seen at a glance. You get the satisfaction of striking things off the list as they are accomplished.
- Appointments – Make a plan for your day, week or month as if you are creating appointments. That is to say, if you plan to do something at 9:30 a.m., and have scheduled that activity as a 45 minute appointment, then do it in the 45 minutes you have scheduled it for. Appointments should have a start and finish time and cannot be left open ended.
- Reduce time allotments – Any activity, task, project or meeting can easily expand to use up all of the time allotted to it. For this reason, schedule on the short side. Things tend to be handled more efficiently and effectively when a tighter time frame is in place.
- Organize – In retail, you must be highly organized. You need a system for reducing clutter (of your space and your mind) and for easy retrieval of documents and information. If your life is full of clutter, your brain is confused and is probably actually preventing you from getting things done.
Make a point of regularly clearing out junk that you don’t need or use anymore. Stuff at home and work should be thrown out if it is not useful to you. You should actually schedule this ‘clutter removal’ appointment once a month or even as often as once a week.
- Delegate – Presumably you have competent people working for you so you should be able to delegate according to their particular strengths and availability. Even if you need to break a larger project down into smaller, more manageable pieces it will help you and it will help in development your people.
- Say “no” – Although it is not always possible, you need to know how to determine what you should say “no” If someone asks you to take on a project or task that will not necessarily advance your cause – or contribute to your top success factors – then you need to say “no”. If you find there is no alternative but to accept the project or task, then you need to look for items on your to do list that can be moved to another time slot or ‘appointment time’ or delegated.
- Remain flexible and reschedule often – You will need to allow for the unexpected. The idea of planning your work and working your plan is a very good one, but sometimes you will just have to be flexible. So, when the need arises, be prepared to reschedule.
- Allow yourself some scheduled unproductive time – It doesn’t sound right but it’s important. This is what will keep you going. We can’t have every minute of every day pinned down – sometimes we have to just enjoy ….whatever.
- Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can do – Sometimes it’s impossible to embark on a big project. Maybe you have limited resources; maybe the expected outcome is still a bit uncertain. For whatever reason, you just know you can’t get the big project done. You can, however, start on small parts of that big project – the parts that you are able to get done and that will be useful when it comes time to get the big project underway. In fact, if you work at it that way you might just find that the big project has suddenly taken care of itself.
- Sleep early, wake up early and take good care of your health- The early bird gets the worm! In our case, the early riser gets more done while they are still energetic. It’s a great feeling to know that some people are just lounging around – still in their beds – while you have already accomplished half of your to do list.
As far as your health goes, we don’t profess to know enough about the human body and it’s nutritional requirements to provide advice on that topic. Suffice to say you must take good care of your health if you want to operate at the top of your game and make the best use of all of your waking hours. Eat a healthy diet, get some exercise, schedule your regular medical check-ups and generally…..be kind to yourself.
All the Success! dmsretail.