Those who are top in their field are often quite adept at prioritizing their professional (and personal) lives. If not, they usually have a trusted second in command who orchestrates said prioritizing for them. Either way, having your “ducks in a row,” so to speak, is key to maximizing your potential. As a FM, you are not only expected to prioritize for yourself but usually for the rest of the organization. This kind of planning can seem a bit daunting at first, but there are some easily added tools and techniques for your work palette, which can make a significant difference in your overall productivity.
1) Communicate Your Goals
To truly be successful as a facilities leader, you must be effective at communicating a clear and concise plan of action. Lay out your short and long term goals, with relative timelines, so everyone can conceptualize their workloads and prioritize their time, as well. Then, as you go about the day-to-day work, be sure to update the team to changes or adjustments. Your to-do list will soon be shrinking, with the assistance of those around you.
2) Direct Your Energy
When you approach your to-do list, begin by prioritizing the tasks. If there are small or easily remedied problems, knock them out first. These are also the type of issues that can be delegated to those around you. And, seeing that you have already communicated your goals to your team, there is reason to believe they will have already been identified and remedied. Once you have eliminated some of the smaller tasks, you can really focus on some of the more time consuming aspects, but with more time to spare.
3) Incorporate Technology
Speaking of more time to spare, integrating technology into your list of priorities will turbo charge your work processes. Communicating with your workforce, planning office procedures or moves, locating physical assets and overall time management are all facilitated with greater ease through the use of FM adapted hardware and software. For instance, just knowing the progress of the tasks you have delegated can quickly be assessed and used in making decisions on where to place personnel next. Send out a group e-mail to update the whole team or individual texts to move certain key parts. Check off the tasks and watch the progress of your organization increase exponentially.
4) Learn to Politely Decline
As a hard working professional, we often want to prove our reliability by saying yes to multiple opportunities or requests. Maybe you're commissioned by a supervisor, or a colleague needs some assistance. Whatever the case, you find yourself agreeing, all the while knowing that your plate is already quite full. Still, you don't want to be perceived as less than hard working or unhelpful. What do you do?
Keep in mind that you should be working with professionals who understand the demands of day-to-day activities themselves and appreciate honesty amongst colleagues. Express your gratitude for being considered for assistance and assure them that you are more than willing to assist in the future. Explain your situation without overstating and remember that it is better to be able to give your full attention to your work, so as to not risk developing a reputation for overextending and underperforming.
5) Pull Back and Focus On the Big Picture
It's the necessity of a FM's job to make on the go decisions and solve newly arising problems while continuing to perform the regular bevy of tasks. But, sometimes it is also beneficial to remove yourself from the hourly work aspects of your job and consider the larger goals of the organization. The day in and day out routine will always consume the majority of your time, but taking time out to strategically plan on a larger scale will ultimately help alleviate more of the problems you see on a regular basis. Appropriately named “‘firehouse time,’ this gives you time away from fighting the fires to think about the business.” Strategizing on an all-encompassing, organizational level gives you a birds-eye view and allows you to re-prioritize goals where appropriate.
An FM's job is, by nature, task oriented. Planning, organizing, and executing are at the foundation of any successful managerial position. Making the planning and organizing more comprehensive is what sets apart the good from the great. Your list of tasks, either for the immediate future or further down the road, will always be part of what determines how you progress professionally. Being able to figure out how to integrate new techniques and technologies to manage the tasks is the key to optimizing your professional abilities.