Ever been waiting for next steps on a project from a colleague or supervisor who is swamped with multiple projects?
Here are some tips for managing your time in the midst of bottlenecks.
1. Read the company website and social media feeds.
Especially if you’re a new hire, it helps to know what your company does - and how your company is positioned in the marketplace. This is especially key if you’re in sales, marketing, business development or other customer-facing roles, but is also helpful for context even if you’re in back office operations or a technical role.
2. Read the company intranet and get to know what’s going on and who’s who.
You never know what interesting things you can learn about how your company works – on the company wiki, SharePoint, Confluence or other portal for employees only. You can find presentations from past conferences, catch up on HR processes, and find out more about what other projects are ongoing in different departments that might pique your interest. Maybe even send an email to a colleague who posts some interesting content and you can make a new friend or at least build your professional network! Or better yet, invite someone to lunch. It also can’t hurt to memorize the names, faces, and titles of the top 10-20% of the leaders at your company (e.g. Director/VP level and above), so that when they walk by in meetings, even if they’re not at your office regularly, you can say hello and then become known by senior stakeholders.
3. Read best practices blogs.
Stay on top of news in your industry vertical and/or department. Set up a Google Alert for topics of interest and see what’s going on in the news.
4. Come up with long-range strategy for your area and an action plan to achieve it.
If your supervisor is the one who is really busy and has been running from one meeting to another, he or she will really appreciate your taking the time to think about how to meet your company’s strategic goals. This shows leadership potential, vision, and thoughtfulness.
5. Come up with 30 day, 90 day, and 1 year goals for yourself and an action plan to achieve it.
Be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Time-Bound with your goals. For example, don’t say “I want to be a better public speaker,” think “I will research local Toastmasters groups today, join one, and give my first speech within the next 30 days.” Some great goal setting and visioning resources are in this ebook here: www.hive.org/20s as well as this article on visioning (which you can do for yourself, not just for your company).
6. Take a micro-break and stretch!
Experts recommend taking breaks at least every 30 minutes when you are doing a repetitive motion, such as typing. No one likes carpal tunnel! You can also combine productivity techniques like the Pomodoro method with a free app like StretchClock to stay healthy.