There’s nothing more frustrating than working as hard as you possibly can but not feeling like you’re getting anywhere.

As a conscientious manager feeling the weight of responsibility, it’s natural to put extra pressure on yourself to work harder still. When you’re already at maximum capacity, that approach will prove counter-productive: you cannot operate at your optimum when you’re tired or ill.

The solution is not to work harder, but to work smarter.

Get off the hamster wheel

Hamsters don’t get very far running around the hamster wheel and neither will you.

Instead, take some time to decide where you want to get to and plot a route that will help you get there. Set clear objectives and devise a strategy and plan to guide you on your way. When you know where you’re going, you’ll be much better placed to identify the most valuable actions and the most important tasks.

However, you’ll only be able to make decisions with real confidence when you know exactly what’s happening in your early years environment.

Get the complete picture

It’s much easier to decide how to use all the resources at your disposal when you have a total view of your setting’s performance.

You need to put in place mechanisms that provide you with all the information you need – and you need to know a lot. You need to know the quality of your service; current and projected occupancy rates; when the money is coming in; where the money is coming from and a whole lot more. Importantly, you need to know how each member of your team contributes.

It goes without saying that your people are your most important resource. When you understand an individual’s performance and can identify precisely where they need support, you’ll be able to provide tailored guidance that will help them to flourish.

Put your feet up

When your whole team is working smarter, you’ll be surprised at how much more productive you’ll be. You could even put your feet up and enjoy that cup of tea. However, if you’re anything like me, you’ll soon find more work for yourself.

Tariq Ayyub

Director at Astec Solutions ltd
Tariq leads a team of experts who support owners, directors and managers to get the most out of their early years business. He also runs his own nursery business.

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