Monday, March 8, 2010

Avoiding The Reminders From Your Manager

You might have seen your manager sending out reminders all the time and you might have really wished not to receive a single one. It would save a lot of time embarrassment if you could remember all such tasks, complete them at the required time and then inform it to your manager. This majorly falls in the domain of effective time management, but the intent of this article is more towards the usage of available tools rather than preaching effective time management.

1. Use a notepad - Simplest but somewhat inefficient and ineffective way. This will not give you any automatic reminder and is not useful apart from serving as a to-do list. However, since notebook is easily available to each one of us, it can/should be used to at least note down the to-do items. This should further be followed up with appropriate reminder mechanism mentioned below. [Recommended reading for managing ToDos -]

2. Email Reminder – Outlook allows you to set a reminder flag. Right click on the “Flag status” and choose “Add Reminder”. This will throw a pop-up which will allow you set the reminder for required date and time. Once set, the reminder will appear in the reminder window at the set time. Note that if you just “Flag” the message for follow-up, it will NOT give you any reminder service.

3. Outlook Task– Outlook also allows you to add a task with a specific reminder setting. You can add recursive tasks with various combinations of recursion. Once set, this also gets popped up in the reminder box.

4. Schedule an appointment in the calendar– Plan your day in advance. Assign appropriate time slots to the tasks at hand. The moment you make an entry in the calendar, Outlook will automatically set the reminder to a pre-defined time (usually 15 mins before the slot) and you will get a pop-up for the reminder.

5. Configure Recurring events– Outlook Tasks and Calendar Appointments can be scheduled as recurring entities and hence come handy for daily, weekly or monthly activities. For example – I have set recurring reminder for completion of Project Assessment Report on “First Tues of every month”.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Five Pronged Management

This is something that I learnt from one of the management training that I attended. When put in practice, I could see that it really works!!

When you are at your job, be it a managerial role or not, you need to keep on attending in many different directions. Typically we end up paying attention to our management, customers and the team and forget the rest two. Let’s go over these different areas one by one.

1. Upwards

This is a no-brainer. You need to meet the expectations that your managers have set for you. If you cannot help them succeed, there are rare chances that you can grow in your career. You immediate manager would have some set of expectations whereas your super manager would be expecting something additional. You organization management has some goals which you are expected to contribute in some or the other way. This calls for a lot of balancing act, but it’s only part of a big picture.

2. Outwards

This includes managing expectations with your customers. Your customers could be internal, external, organizations, or individual end users. As a solutions provider, service provider, you always need to keep in mind their expectations from your product/service. If your product/service is not going to solve their problem at hand, why would they embrace you?

3. Downwards

You would need a team to execute your ideas, to put up a quick prototype, to create a sales pitch or to create a kick ass demo. You surely can do it all yourself, but, if you collaborate with it’s going to make it time efficient and you can concentrate on something far more important.

4. Sideways

You work in an environment where collaboration can help you immensely. And to achieve that, it is really important to manage your communication, interaction with your Peers. When it comes to recognition, nothing helps like peer acceptance. If you are eying for that specific post and the corresponding manager/head gets to know about your demonstrated capabilities through your peers, it will give you an edge over others. Work with your peers and work on your peers. Both things are important.

5. Inwards

This is the most important direction which is usually overlooked by almost each one of us. However, the truth is, if we can’t manage ourselves, how good we be at managing something external? Inner discipline leads to external success. Take out time for your own sake, however busy your external schedule is. Decide your priorities in your personal life and give equal, if not more, importance to them as your external commitments.