Breaking down your months, weeks and days

Ask any area leader, and they’ll tell you that managing their time is one of their biggest challenges. With multiple stores, stakeholders, and a seemingly never-ending list of competing priorities, an area leader can easily become overscheduled and underprepared.

However, effective time management is key to success in an area role. By effectively managing your time, you’ll reap huge dividends, including:

  • feeling more in control of your business
  • having better quality conversations with your teams
  • spending more time focussing on things that matter
  • getting better results for your division

Here are some tips you can use and adapt to suit the number of stores in your region.

How area leaders should manage the month

The biggest advice I could offer an area leader is to think of your time in whole months rather than days or weeks.

Start planning your month by allocating all of your upcoming commitments. These could include training, planning, trade meetings, product updates, or recruitment days. Once these commitments have been allocated, the remaining days will be dedicated to your stores, usually about 80% of your month.

Time at the end of the month should always be kept for WOB time, i.e., ‘working on the business.’ This is time for planning and reflection, allowing you to take a step back and look at your results for the month that’s been. This allows you to weave the insights gained into your upcoming store visits for that month and give each store the necessary focus for the upcoming month. This process will also indicate the stores you need to reward and recognise.

How area leaders should manage the week

Mondays should be used to plan the week ahead. The following recommendation for allocating your time throughout the week:

  • Monday: admin, trade meetings, planning store visits
  • Tuesday: store visits
  • Wednesday: store visits
  • Thursday: store visits
  • Friday: keep free for unexpected

As much as possible, Fridays should be kept free to avoid overscheduling yourself and to ensure you have the time to attend unexpected meetings and requests, such as recruitment interviews and visiting stores that need extra focus or support.

How area leaders should manage the day

If you plan your month and weeks, you’ll have three days per week for store visits.

While this will depend on the number of stores you look after, I’d recommend no more than two store visits per day. This will allow you to prepare properly for each store and give the store manager and team your undivided attention.

By planning store visits more effectively, you’ll soon see that the quality of the store visit, not the quantity, will make the biggest difference in your results.

You can also head over to the Resources section of my website, for templates to help prioritise the activities that will have the greatest impact on your results.

If you liked this article please share: