I subscribe to the Library Leadership Podcast hosted by Adriane Herrick Juarez and a recent episode included a conversation with Doug Cane who shared many tips for what I refer to as self-management. I believe the term he used was workflow management. It’s next to impossible to be an effective and efficient leader of others if you don’t have the skills to manage yourself. What do I mean by that?
- You avoid double booking yourself, and if a conflict arises you reschedule promptly.
- You can find what you need on your desk, in your physical and digital files without calling in a search party.
- You do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it.
- You respond to emails within 24-48 business hours, even if it’s with a “I need to give this more thought.”
These last two points are important because if you can master the discipline needed for both, you’ll build trust among your colleagues and they know you’re someone who can be relied on.
Getting back to Juarez and Cane’s discussion, he mentioned a new tip to aid in self-management. One was adding a “waiting for others” folder in your in box. As leaders and managers, our work often depends on others taking action or doing a thing before we can pick it back up again and move a project forward or to completion. Cane warns against leaving these messages in your inbox because the mental energy you spend trying to remember why that email is still sitting there, is better spent on work you can actually accomplish.
To that tip, I’d add one more. I’ve created a “things I’ve asked for” folder in my inbox. I frequently email people in my division to ask them to review a proposed workflow, strategic planning document, or to consider signing up for a professional development opportunity. Having this folder enables me to keep track of the deadlines I’ve given for getting back to me (deadlines are key!), and it keeps me from having to remember what I asked for and when I should get it.
What self-management tips have you developed?