Some things in your working life are urgent. Some are important. Some are both urgent and important. And some are neither. The trouble is, it’s easy to get caught up with the busy-ness of each work day and not ‘zoom out’ to see the bigger picture, even if you’re using a task management tool like Trello.
That’s why General Eisenhower came up with a now-famous matrix to prioritize his actions, noting that those that are important — but not urgent — tend to get overlooked.
We live in fast-paced times. Jobs are being created and destroyed at an unprecedented rate. In order to understand these changes, there’s a whole new area of research and focus emerging, broadly known as the ‘Future of Work.’ It’s an essential topic to know about if you care about your relevance as a manager in 2017 and beyond.
Discussions around the future of work currently focus around four main areas:
For many of us, some parts of each day can feel a bit like the movie Groundhog Day. Why? Because we have to perform the same tasks over and over. For example, we spend lots of time working between our various calendars saying things like, “OK, I’m free at that time on my work calendar, but what about my personal calendar?”
Thankfully, a new service entitled Microsoft Flow changes all that. It features pre-built ‘recipes’ to connect together the different calendars you use, as well as the ability to create custom workflows from scratch. Let’s take the example of ensuring you see all of the events across your calendars in one place.
First, head to https://flow.microsoft.com and sign in. You’ll need to read and accept the license agreement, as you are giving Microsoft access to other accounts so they can pipe data between them
Google Docs is great for getting everyone literally on the same page. But sometimes it can be difficult to turn that feedback and group brainstorming into actionable tasks for people to go away and do.
Thankfully, Google has implemented ‘action items’ to help with this as part of the built-in commenting functionality. Here’s how to get started.
1. In your Google Doc, select the text you want to comment on:
One way to tame your inbox is to get emails you’re storing for reference purposes out of your inbox. This leaves you with a clutter-free inbox containing just emails you need to process.
Evernote for Outlook makes extracting the important information from your inbox a breeze. The Evernote add-in means you can ‘clip’ email messages, as well as attachments, directly from Outlook to Evernote.
We all know that the price of flights goes up and down in the days, weeks, and months before you board the plane. But did you know that you can track those changes in Google Flights? That way, instead of booking your flight right away, you can do it once you’ve got confirmation that the meeting is going ahead — and potentially at a lower price!
Imagine this situation: you’re leading a project kick-off meeting. From the looks on people’s faces, you know that they have questions, concerns, and reservations about the project, but so far they’re not voicing them. Their reasons don’t matter, but you need to cut through the ice. It’s time for a pre-mortem.
A pre-mortem is a way to create a ‘safe space’ to express sentiments that could be construed as negative. It’s a simple enough concept: you imagine it’s 18 months in the future and the project has been a failure. The job of the pre-mortem is to identify in advance why that might happen.
Now that you’ve read Line Management 101 and have the basics down, how can you up your game? In other words, how can you manage your team like a (really good) boss?
If you think back to your pre-boss time, one of the most irksome things about managers was their seemingly-random availability. Now that you’re a manager yourself, you understand that your direct reports don’t see everything you see. They might not understand why you’re available one week and not the next. In the absence of information, people make up their own explanations — and they’re often not good ones.
Trello recently added a new ‘Power-Up’ giving users the ability to add ‘custom fields’ to cards. This means you can add at-a-glance detail and context to your whole board.
Let’s say you’ve got a whole raft of things to get done in the day. How can you see which is most important, without going into each card? Trello now solves your problem by enabling you to surface custom fields such as importance: