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Q&A: I’m a managing director – get me out of here!

Q: As a managing director, trying to grow the business, meet clients and catch up with paperwork takes up a large proportion of my time. Can you provide advice on how I can best ‘juggle’ the mounting workload and manage it effectively without excess stress?

A: Each day we are faced with deadlines. It is very much a normal part of the job and, in your case, of growing the business; yet we need to ensure it does not create excessive stress. We have to ensure that, with the increased workload, we are able to meet what is expected from us and perform tasks to the best of our ability.

Top priority is to get organised. You need to track deadlines that you are set; this includes due dates and in what order you should prioritise them. Whether you use a diary or a computer-based organising tool such as Outlook is completely up to you, providing you have sufficient tools to time manage. Failure to organise is a mistake. You may think that you can mentally keep track of tasks, however, the more deadlines you are set the more you are likely to forget – so get organised. Try and work on the jobs you are least likely to enjoy first. What tasks would you rather put off? These are the ones you should work on. You will feel goals have been accomplished once these are out of the way.

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Ensure that each task written down is crossed off when completed – this will help to motivate you. You are managing director, so providing the right people are in place, look at delegating accordingly. Giving people responsibility will help motivate them, increase productivity and allow you to grow the business – which can be stressful enough.

Never be afraid to let people know you are busy. Use email auto-response, and if you have an assistant then ensure that they monitor your inbox and respond accordingly. Set yourself strict times when you will switch off your work phone and cease communication with colleagues, unless of course it is urgent – this mostly prevents taking work home with you.

Plan in advance, and look for when you are more likely to receive an influx of deadlines. This will likely be throughout the summer months when many people, such as yourself, will decide to take time off work. It may mean that you will need extra assistance, or there will be a requirement to delegate work to other people.

Finally, it may well be the case that the skills you possess put you in high demand. Remember that it is perfectly fine to say no – people need to realise that you are busy and that you will occasionally have to decline deadlines.

David Price is managing director of Health Assured