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Important Vs Urgent for Hotel Management

Jon Sholter



Today in less than 5 minutes we are going to cover: Understand where you are spending your time.

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It's been said before, but we will say it again, a lot of what separates mediocre managers from great ones is their ability to manage their time and focus on what is important.

Many hotel Leaders have been trained to be busy bodies. In the past, they got the job done no matter the cost and through this determination they were promoted to management level positions.

However, when front line workers make it to management roles and mid managers make it to executive leadership roles they need to learn a different set of skills. One of the foundational skills to master is the understanding of urgent vs important tasks, a timeless time management principle.

Let's take a look at the Eisenhower Matrix below:

Hotel Management Urgent VS Important

When you're a frontline team member, many of your duties fall under the urgent category. However, as you crawl up the chain more of your time should start leaning towards important, non urgent tasks.

Let's look at some hotel manager examples that would fall into these categories above.

Quadrant 1 - Urgent/Important - Do Right Away

  • The fire alarm goes off at your hotel

  • You find out there's an emergency at home

  • You have a full house to clean and 3 housekeepers call in sick

Quadrant 2 - Not Urgent/Important - Schedule To Be Done

  • Develop and analyze a new credit system for housekeepers

  • Initiate training to empower Guest Service Agents to deal with 95% of problems

  • Create a GM checklist to keep you on track throughout the year

Quadrant 3 - Urgent/Not Important - Delegate

  • Your cell phone rings and you were not expecting a call

  • Someone comes into your office unscheduled with questions

  • Finding ways to do other peoples work instead of doing your own. IE helping at the front desk when there is not a need

Quadrant 4 - Not Urgent/Not Important - Discard

  • Checking social media notifications for the 3rd time today

  • Pointless meeting with whoever

  • Reading every industry report or review email notification that comes to your email inbox

What Should I Do with this information?

Realize where you spend your time: When you are in a Leadership role, you want to be spending more of your time in quadrant 2. Is this to say you will never spend time in other quadrants or that everything not within quadrant 2 is beneath you, of course not. This tool is meant to help you identify where you are spending your time and to realize how or if it can be better utilized.

Understand the difference between improving your hotel and sustaining it: Put another way, are you working in your hotel or on your hotel? As a Leader, you want to be spending more time working 'on' your hotel and less time working 'in' it. Getting into the trenches as a Leader is valuable, but you want to make sure you are taking care of root causes and not always coming to the rescue. Meaning, if you have a day where you are short in housekeeping and you help your team get through it, that is perfect. However, if this is a normal occurrence, you should be in quadrant 2 finding a solution.

Understand what is important to you and to other members of your team: If you are the General Manager of a hotel, you will want to limit how much time you spend at the front desk. For you, this can be labelled as Urgent/Non Important. However, for your Front Office Manager, this can sometimes be labelled as Urgent/Important and for your Guest Service Agent, this is always Urgent/Important. Going further, don't get caught in the trap thinking everything is 'important', realize that there are varying degrees and your job is to decide if it is your important task to handle or someone else's.

Delegate does not always mean get someone else to do it: In theory it would be great to delegate all our work to someone else, but we all know that's not the reality in our industry. Sometimes automating with technology, scheduling or batching your tasks to all be done at a certain time of week can be alternate forms of delegating.

There are for sure intricacies and nuances to the above framework we did not go into. The important thing is realizing where you and your team are spending most of your day/week. Once identified, you need to start building yourself a system to ensure you focus on the important tasks at hand and keep yourself accountable. As a hotel, finding time to work on what is important and not necessarily urgent, is what will differentiate you from your competition.

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