This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "High Output Management" by Andrew S. Grove. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.
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Do you want to distribute workload? What’s the best way to do this and increase output?
Many managers look for ways to distribute workload. This can make your team smoother and more efficient, and give you less to do.
Read more about how to distribute workload.
Factories try to evenly distribute their workload over time. Managers can benefit from this technique too. The main threat to an even managerial workload is interruptions because they unexpectedly increase workload. You can manage interruptions by taking inspiration from factory techniques:
Make standard (not custom) products. In this context, “products” are answers to questions that interrupt you, which usually come from subordinates or people you influence. Study these questions and prepare widely applicable responses. In addition to saving you time writing original responses every time, you can share these responses with others and delegate their delivery.
- For example, many customers get in touch about refunds, and if you pre-prepare a response, you (and your subordinates) can give it to everyone with the same concern.
Take advantage of indicators. Indicators help you avoid losing time to interruptions by allowing you to do two things:
- Quickly address interruptions. If you have data on hand and readily available, you’ll be able to quickly and easily answer questions.
- Schedule problem-solving. If your leading indicators warn you that you’ve got a future problem, you have to deal with it before it explodes, but you don’t have to deal with it immediately and let it interrupt you.
Encourage other managers to embrace regularity. Because you work with them, your schedules have to mesh.
- For example, a company might reserve Monday mornings for planning group meetings.
Batch subordinate interruptions. Don’t physically hide from your subordinates when you don’t want to be interrupted—their questions are legitimate. Instead, schedule a time when you’re available for questions.
- For example, you might hang a sign on your door that says you’re doing individual work and that you’ll be available at a later time for questions. It should ask people not to interrupt you unless it’s very urgent.
Now that you know how to distribute workload, you can use these strategies for your team.
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- How to increase your managerial output and productivity
- The 11 activities that offer a higher impact on output
- How meetings can be used as a time management tool