Engineering Manager, Leadership Development

Find Extra Time In Your Day As A Manager

Wouldn’t it be nice to get an extra 8 – 10 hours of free time per week? I know this would be a godsend for many managers.

Unfortunately, too many managers complicate making extra time to the point it’s unattainable. And guess what, they are making it hard for themselves.

With the system that I use for myself and one that I’ve shared with other engineering managers that I coach, we are able to find extra time in our days.

Doesn’t that sound nice? Would you like extra hours in your day too?

I currently have an engineering manager who finally has the time for their own career development after using the system and they are now studying for a certification exam that is going to increase their career trajectory. All thanks to applying the system that I’ve recommended.

Would you like to learn about the system?

Yes?

I call it The Creator Productivity System. It’s having a system for things that matter and running simple and basic workflows for your administrative tasks. It also includes having standard procedures, processes and templates to get work flowing so your teams can produce outcome without getting stuck.

The system contains 4 templates:

– Top-level Goals
– Key Results
– Tasks List (List View, Board/Kanban View, Table View, Calendar View)

The recommended cadence is as follows:

– Top-level Goals are created yearly.
– Key Results are reviewed quarterly.
– Tasks List is updated monthly.

Tasks List, therefore, serves as your To-Do list while making sure that you are putting an effort into activities that are aligned with your top-level goals.

And to ensure you don’t spend too much time on administrative tasks while still keeping everything running, introduce automation into your life. Here is my recommendation for what to automate:

Email Automation
– Filtering rules for grouping emails into relevant categories; for example, Vendor management, Hiring, Product, Learning, FAQs.
– Auto-responders for all the FAQs
– Canned responses and snippets; for example, introduction paragraph in your email when you respond to vendors, links to documents when getting questions about company’s leave policy, learning & development budget, etc.

Scheduling Automation
– Create bookable blocks of time in your calendar for ad-hoc meetings such as interviews, mentoring, social catchups, and so on. This eliminates the need for finding a suitable time in your calendar and doing a back and forth with the other party.
– Set up “repeat” calendar events for meetings that happen at regular intervals; for example, 1:1’s, growth conversations, performance reviews, standups, backlog groomings, sprint reviews, etc.

Process Automation
Having procedures, checklists, and reusable templates save you time. For example:
– Checklist for hiring
– Onboarding plan a new hire
– Job descriptions templates
– Templates for growth conversations and performance reviews
– Standard procedures for the team and team members; eg: How to start a sprint, How to run a retrospective, how to triage bugs, how to manage incidents and outages, how to request for leave, how to roll out a feature, and so on. When there are best practices and templates to follow, your team will know what’s expected in each situation without having to depend on you. Check out the templates (in Google docs & Notion) I’ve created for software teams.

And so that’s how you make extra time in your day!