How to manage your time while running a pharmacy?

Between two traps

The two main traps that await every manager who tries to reconcile limited working hours and an almost limitless number of tasks are micromanagement and lack of involvement in the company’s affairs. Falling into the first of these, the manager tries to control all aspects of the pharmacy’s work on his own. He or she is so overwhelmed by the little things that there is no time and energy left for strategic issues. There is also not enough time for personal life: children, friends, hobbies, and recreation, which eventually leads to emotional burnout. The other extreme is a manager who shows little or no interest in the company’s current affairs. Occasionally appearing in front of his subordinates (whom he sometimes does not even remember by name), he introduces them to another brilliant strategic idea that looks like a science fiction story against the background of everyday issues, “chops up” new tasks and assignments, and then disappears, not helping to solve real problems.

The way directors allocate their time and presence is crucial not only for their own effectiveness, but also for the performance of their companies. The priorities of their subordinates depend on where and how they are involved. In addition, a director who does not devote enough time to his or her colleagues will appear to be aloof, while one who seeks to make all decisions directly risks undermining the initiative of employees.

To help managers find a balance between micromanagement and lack of engagement, Harvard Business School experts surveyed 27 CEOs of large companies, tracking how each of them spent their time for 13 weeks. The researchers analyzed the best strategies and issued a number of recommendations that will be useful for managers of all levels trying to manage their time more effectively.

Get ready to work harder

There is no such thing as a normal working week for a CEO. A Harvard study showed that CEOs work an average of 9.7 hours a day, not eight. Most of them also solve work issues on weekends and vacations.

The main reason for the excessive workload, according to scientists, was responsibility for each part of the business. Even with worthy deputies who manage certain areas of work well, the manager must find time to listen to each of them, because without this, he or she will not be able to make the right business decisions.

To compensate for overwork, Harvard scientists advise having not only work but also personal plans. This will allow you not to waste precious hours of rest, but to devote them to pre-planned sports, family affairs, travel, and meetings with friends.

Trust people and procedures

Having a trusted team is one of the key components of successful time management for executives. Researchers have found that when subordinates, particularly middle managers, are ineffective, CEOs have to spend a lot of time doing work that could be done by someone lower in the corporate hierarchy. Instead, executives who have built a strong team and are confident in delegating tasks do less routine work. They are able to focus on the bigger picture of the business. In general, the executives who participated in the Harvard study spend 21% of their time developing business strategy.

To be sure of the effectiveness of his or her team, a manager has to constantly monitor his or her subordinates. When it comes to two or three deputies, managers, or employees responsible for certain areas of work, it’s not hard to find time for this. But it is almost impossible to control all employees.

The pharmacy manager physically does not have enough time to personally approve every decision of the pharmacists working at the front desk. Therefore, a system should be developed to ensure that their decisions are automatically correct. This can be done with the help of standard procedures and processes (for each position in the pharmacy staff) that will turn the work into a well-established mechanism. In this case, the manager will have to intervene only in case of emergency.

Have an agenda

Executives need to organize their time in a way that maximizes their efficiency. To do this, they need a plan, or an agenda, in which priorities will be balanced between urgent matters and equally important strategic tasks with an “open date.”

According to the statistics revealed by the Harvard study, directors of large companies spend almost 11% of their time on routine duties. To reduce this share, which can be even higher in small and medium-sized companies, researchers urge managers to take a close look at every activity that can be considered mandatory. The question should be asked: Do these activities actually serve an important purpose? If the answer is no, you can safely shift routine duties to your subordinates.

However, there is an exception to this rule. The rituals and traditions associated with establishing and maintaining personal relationships should not be rejected by the company’s leader. For example, a welcoming conversation with a new employee or regular motivational and supportive meetings with subordinates can play an important symbolic role and help strengthen the company’s values and culture. However, the manager should ensure that such activities do not take up more time than he or she can afford.

Anticipate the unexpected

When making a plan for the day, a manager should not schedule every free minute, because there are many things in any company that cannot be predicted. According to Harvard researchers, CEOs spend 43% of their working time on activities that help them fulfill their agenda, and about 36% of their time is taken up by unexpected problems that arise during the day.

So, if a manager plans all his or her working time in advance, some of the planned tasks will remain unfulfilled, which will increase the level of stress, and if you do not fill in 20-30% of the lines on the diary page, there is a chance that all tasks will be completed on time.

By the way, Harvard researchers give managers another good tip on how to plan their workday. To protect your time, you should sometimes schedule meetings with… yourself. By setting aside a few lines in your weekly planner for them, you can be sure that you will have time to think or solve common business problems.

Control electronic communication

Many executives prefer to communicate in messengers or via email because they believe that face-to-face meetings and negotiations take too much time. However, Harvard researchers have noticed that the opposite is often true. Sending an email is not always the fastest and most effective way to get your message across. Email takes up to 25% of business executives’ working time. The fact is that in order not to appear rude, they often respond to optional emails that are sent only to inform.

Instead of wasting time on them, you should set aside 5-10 minutes for face-to-face meetings with your subordinates or business partners. This will allow you not only to convey the message, but also to explain your own opinion, answer any additional questions, assess the reaction, support, etc.

Face-to-face communication is the best way to exert influence and delegate responsibilities. It also helps leaders to best train the people they work with.

Direct contact with employees helps to find out what is really going on in the organization. Without it, a leader runs the risk of being inside a rainbow bubble and realizing too late the realities in which his or her subordinates work. Finally, personal communication with all employees of the company reinforces the legitimacy, authority and reliability of the leader in their eyes, which is very important for developing staff motivation and loyalty.

Scroll to Top