English poet Geoffrey Chaucer said, “time and tide wait for no man.” He made that statement during the 14th century, when business priorities were far different from what they are today. Even so, its application today show us that just at the clock moves forward and tides increase and decrease four times each day, you can count on time slipping away too.
If you’re going to manage your business effectively, there are five areas that you need to control according to the Harvard Business School.
1. Your Core Duties
Every manager and employees has duties that must be performed each day. Known as “core duties” these are the central things that define your job. You can’t avoid them!
If you are a store manager, you must count your morning cash, prep the selling area, greet and oversee your employees, review inventory, track shipments and handle other tasks before you open for business. Throughout the day there are other responsibilities that you must handle, ending with a cash count at the close of business.
2. People Management
As a manager, there are people that report to you. Some are other managers, while others are regular employees or associates. Those that report directly to you must be managed.
As a manager, a portion of your day must be used to survey your workforce. You may need to provide hands-on instruction and intercede at various times, including when handling a customer complaint.
3. Administrative Tasks
We touched on administrative tasks in “core duties” but those responsibilities can go much further than what was mentioned. For small business owners, you may be the person responsible for handling payroll. You also may be responsible for paying taxes to federal, state and local governments.
Other administrative tasks can include: reading email and responding to same, maintaining financial books, reviewing expense sheets and managing suppliers. Part of your day may include meeting with customers outside of the office.
4. Urgent Matters
Your schedule may never run as planned. Life’s little issues and big emergencies will arise and you must respond to them. These may include: an unplanned meeting, an important phone call or employee emergency.
How well you respond to emergencies says a lot about your role as a manager. Plan on them happening and address them at once.
5. Personal Development
Unless you keep improving yourself, you’ll never learn the skills you need to advance. Personal development is important, but it may not always be possible to do on a daily basis. You may have to work on development after work hours.
Personal development can include any number of things. Learning a new software program. Reading a book written by an industry expert. Attending a trade conference or seminar. Taking on a new project.
With a number of areas to juggle throughout the day, setting aside time to accomplish these tasks is important. How well you succeed may depend largely on your ability to understand how much time you put into each task as well as how well you transition between them.
See Also — Sales Management: Introduction