Friday, December 17, 2004

Measurements for managers

Every so often, I undertake a personal measurement project.

I set myself up with a little grid printed on a piece of paper. I keep the paper right next to my computer and track where I spend my time a couple of weeks. I usually track 1/2 hour increments.

At the end of two weeks, I look at the data. Based on what I see, I make conscious choices about how I'm spending my time. I'm almost always surprised by some thing in the data.

I started doing this when I was working as a manager. Here are some of the things I looked at when I was in that role:

  • Number of standing meetings, those scheduled far in advance and held at regular intervals
  • Number of ad hoc meetings, those scheduled a day or less in advance
  • Number of ad hoc requests (and where they come from)
  • Number of phone calls received, missed, returned
  • Number of emails received, read to the bottom, responded to
  • Time spent one-on-one with members of your team
  • Number of obstacles removed for your team
  • Number of issues investigated on behalf of your team
  • Time spent 1:1 with team members
  • Time spent informally with team members
  • Time spent with peers
  • Time spent on professional development (formal or informal)

    Knowing where my time went helped me make choices to spend my time on higher value activities.

    What other things would you look to discover how well you are using your time?

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