As Business Manager here at We Are Mobile First, I’ve shared many posts on the inner workings of our team - from ‘The Benefits of Teamwork and Collaboration’ to Team Building: Why Invest In It?’. On this occasion, however, I’d like to focus on a day in the life of a Business Manager, taking a closer look at how I structure my working week in order to stay motivated.
Whilst I appreciate spontaneity, I like to approach my professional life in a more structured way in order to stay on track of all of my responsibilities. I tend to break them down into daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly tasks.
There are several daily tasks that change depending on the time of year, the project we are working on, and whether or not our clients are visiting us in-house.
I make sure without fail, however, that I have direct contact with the team on a daily basis. From the managers and team leaders to the employees that work under them, it’s important to me to make time to communicate on a personal level with my colleagues - especially outside of a formal meeting context.
This nurtures our ability to communicate effectively in both personal and professional capacities and also helps to create an open-minded environment that encourages the generation of new ideas.
I hold a weekly meeting with Lee, our Founder and CTO, in order to keep track of what we’re up to. I’ll use the meeting to plan out our week, assign tasks, review results or the project status of the previous week, and also look at what we need to prioritise going forward.
Keen to stay on top of our finances, I’ll also enter our weekly financial information into our software so that I can analyse it as-and-when and keep abreast of where we are and where we need or want to be. I don’t let it accumulate until the end of the month because I want to be more responsive.
In a similar vein, I also uphold permanent contact with our accountancy company and bank advisor in order to keep them up-or-date or perhaps even ask for advice when needed. The idea is to maintain a good relationship with them so that we are always a priority when receiving their services. This line of communication can sometimes be a weekly task, depending on the circumstances, but otherwise it might shift to every 2 or 3 weeks.
I like to dedicate time each week to talk to the team leaders in a more casual setting. It could simply be a conversation in the hallway, or maybe even a chat over coffee, but the driving force is to always ensure that I’m aware of what is happening within the team and what challenges they may be facing. There might not even be something concrete to discuss. Sometimes the sole purpose of this dedicated chat is to maintain open lines of communication and nurture our relationship.
Interestingly, I also help to run QA tests for the apps we develop. This is usually a weekly task but if we’re nearing a project release date it might be upped to 2 or 3 days a week instead.
My monthly tasks are mostly finance-related, from ensuring that I bill our clients and pay our employees on time to updating our Cash Flow, controlling our budgets and making new projections.
There are also monthly taxes to pay so I send all of the relevant information each month to our accountancy company who are responsible for all of our taxation matters.
I follow the same sort of routine for our quarterly tasks too as our financial planning is a well-managed regular practice as opposed to an accumulative task that we only tackle seasonally.
We follow a belief system company-wide in order to maintain the Agile working practices that we pride ourselves on. This practice also allows us to best prioritise urgent and important tasks across the week.
These are my top tips for organising your time as a business manager:
It’s important to not take tasks at face value and instead look at them in degrees of urgency. What needs to take priority and how long will it take to complete?
I am also mindful of the days and work hours in which I am at my most productive because that’s the most effective time to turn my mind to them. For example, I work on the high priority tasks during the first few days of the week - typically during the mornings. I then spend the afternoons, and later on in the week, working on the secondary tasks that don’t have an imminent deadline.
You may remember that we discussed this approach when we looked at the Eisenhower Matrix technique.
It’s easy to underestimate just how long certain tasks will take us, especially if we neglect to break them down into more manageable chunks. As tempting as it may be to be overly optimistic about project timelines, it makes far more business sense to be realistic about the scale of the task at hand and any limitations that may stand in the way of its completion.
I like to set myself a flexible window of time each day should I find that a task overruns a little. If a high priority task takes longer than the morning, I’ll continue working on it into the afternoon but I always make sure I finish up on the planned day.
Do not accumulate work.
There’s nothing worse than having to frantically organise three months worth of financial information because you haven’t been keeping on top of things.
If you can, I would advise steering clear of accumulating work that you then resolve on specific days in the calendar. Don’t send off your tax information the day before the deadline, for example.
Break things down into daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly tasks so you can stay in the know and be quick to respond to any changes that come your way.
Working from a coworking space in Barcelona means that our environment is very versatile and adaptable to our needs and this flexibility helps to raise our productivity levels because we aren’t chained to a desk.
I spend most of my time at my workstation but I like to keep moving and switch things up every once in a while in order to not slip into a monotonous routine. When I’m not at my workstation, I like to work from the meeting room or our laboratory. If I’m working on more relaxed tasks that don’t require a degree of silence in order for me to concentrate, I might go to one of the chillout rooms or work from the coworking cafeteria.
If I’m taking a call, for instance, I might do so whilst going for a walk.
I like to change things up.
You have to disconnect to reconnect.
Here at We Are Mobile First, we try and buck the narrative that you should live to work.
You can’t expect employees to stare at a screen for 8 hours a day and contribute positively to the work environment. Everyone needs time and space to switch off every once in a while in order to maintain better concentration and boost their mental wellbeing.
I, personally, like to go for a daily post-lunch walk in order to breathe in the sea air and clear my mind before I tackle the afternoon tasks. Some days I prefer to take my longboard out around the bustling city streets.
If I’m looking to de-stress or embrace a calmer moment, I look for a quiet space where I can either stretch or meditate before returning to work.
In terms of what I like to eat, I like to snack on fruit throughout the day and typically eat it outside, even in the winter, so that I’m not doing it whilst distracted at my desk.
Ah, the elusive work-life balance.
Our personal and professional lives need to harmoniously co-exist and complement one another in order to achieve a work-life balance that works for us.
A few years ago, I started to explore the benefits of living a minimalist life without realising just how much of a positive impact it would have on my professional life too.
For instance, in being selective about the physical things I own, I have curated a workstation that works best for me - free of clutter and distraction. This has helped me to stay motivated and be clear with what is expected of me.
Learning to apply basic minimalist concepts of organisation to my working life has really helped to elevate my organisational skills, encouraging me to create a schedule that is not only realistic but mindfully nourishing. I steer clear of filling my days with unnecessary tasks just for the sake of it as a result.
Check out my post on minimalism and the work-life balance for more information about how these mindful philosophies are reflected in every area of my life.
Are you a Business Manager? Does your working day look similar to mine? Tweet us and we’ll be sure to retweet the responses!
We Are Mobile First is a digital product agency based in Barcelona helping to transform businesses in a mobile-first world. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Medium to be notified of our future posts and stay up-to-date with our company news.
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