Today’s post comes to us from board member Chris Mullen. Chris is the Director of Human Resources for Housing & Dining Services at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is also a speaker, trainer, executive coach, consultant and blogger at chrismullen.org.

Many companies are innovating and advancing their processes through technology. Mobile optimization, artificial intelligence and analytics are just some of the factors enabling many companies – and more specifically, many managers – to greatly reduce non-value-add, administrative work.

As this trend grows in the days and years to come, an important question becomes: what should managers do with the gift of time and additional margin in their jobs?
Companies and individuals need to be intentional when answering this question, otherwise, the time will inevitably just get taken up by more meetings and more “busy work”.
Here are three areas you, as a manager, should invest more time in:

1. Building relationships
The ability to build strong relationships is one of the hallmarks of good management. All managers should be spending some part of every day building relationships.

Start with your direct reports: this does not have to mean lengthy meetings. It can be a daily check in – just finding out how an employee’s day is going, what they are working on, what they are planning to do over the upcoming weekend. It’s popping by their cube or swinging by their office just to let them know you are thinking about them and that they matter. These small exchanges can make a big difference.

As a manager, you should also be building your relationship with your supervisor. Take some time and think about how you could improve this relationship. Is there anything you could do better to improve your boss’s job? Become someone your boss can always trust and rely on.

Finally, look for opportunities to build relationships with others inside the organization. Take time to identify who your key stakeholders are. Then think about how you could provide value to them. One of the easiest ways is to continue to build trust by always accomplishing what you say you will.

2. Professional development and skill-building
Find an hour or two each week to grow professionally and build additional skills. One way to accomplish this is to read books in areas you want to grow. Better yet, find someone who will read the book along with you and have a check-in scheduled each week so that you stay on-task and are able to discuss what you learned and how you might implement this new knowledge. Contact your HR department to see if they provide any trainings. Have a candid conversation with your supervisor about skills that you could develop to get that next promotion. Maybe there is a certificate program that you could identify that would be helpful. Nowadays with technology, there are also many opportunities to learn through a variety of online platforms as well, so check those out. And keep yourself focused by scheduling time for all of these activities into your calendar.

3. Value-add projects
Work with your team to identify projects that could have an impact on the company. Maybe these are projects that people have been talking about for years but haven’t attempted because of lack of time or resources. Or maybe it’s a project no one has thought of before, but that you and your team believe will make a difference. Work with your supervisor to present these options and gain their buy-in on what would be most impactful. Then, dive in!

When technology gives you the gift of more time, don’t squander it! Look to build relationships, pursue professional development and skill-building opportunities, and take on new projects that will have a direct and positive impact on your organization.

What would you do with the gift of more time?

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2 thoughts on “Capitalizing on the Gift of More Time

  1. Chris, thanks for raising one of the great “too-rarely-asked” questions. We all want more time, but we rarely think deliberately about how that time would best be used. It’s a great exercise even if you don’t have extra free time.

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