One of the other things I’m working on at the moment is time management. It’s another common problem that supervisors tend to have when they first move up to a new role. After all, if it previously took you 10 hours per day to animate just your own shot, how are you supposed to handle that and supervising a team of 5 to 7 people?
When I first made the move I tried to do everything.. animate, supervise, fix problems, etc. It was driving me crazy, and the quality of my work and of my supervision suffered.
I had to learn to delegate. As difficult as it is to let things go, in order to survive you really need to learn to delegate anything that you don’t need to handle. There are a couple of reasons (as always).
1) you don’t have time
stop deluding yourself. Yes, you want to do everything, but there aren’t enough hours in the day and you can’t change that.
2) the more you take on, the more you have to take on.
You know the old adage, give a man a fish and he can eat today, teach a man to fish and he can eat forever? It’s totally true. I know that it feels like as a supervisor your job is to solve every problem that your animators have. That’s not exactly true. Your job is to remove roadblocks and things that inhibit them from getting things done. If you can help them solve their own problems by providing the correct resources, then in the future they’ll be able to help themselves and others. If you always solve it, you’ll always have to solve it. Does that mean that you should always pass the buck? No, sometimes you do need to step in and fix it yourself. But you should use that as an opportunity to teach.
Anyway, back to time management.
So it feels like you’ve got more work than there are hours, and there’s just no way to really get a handle on it. I totally know how you feel. I’m like that constantly. It’s a real “problem” in that I always feel behind. But I know there are probably at least 3 or 4 hours per week that I’m wasting and not taking advantage of.. so here’s what I’m going to do to try and tackle it.. try it yourself and see if it helps!
1) I’m going to get a real sense of where my time is spent.
2) I’m going to look at where I need to spend my time to get my job done.
3) I’m going to try and make the changes necessary to adjust to a new schedule that actually works.
So how am I getting a sense of where my time is spent? Simple! I’m tracking it!
There are a number of cool online tracking tools you can use that will allow you to track hours, minutes, etc.. The one
I’m trying right now is called Toggl. It’s in beta, but it’s really easy to track your time on various projects..
I’ve broken mine up into a series of sections:
Strategic – things I’m doing that will allow for future production – like setting up shots, character planning, meetings, etc
Production – things that lead directly to produced work (animation, reviews, etc)
admin – things that are administrative.. time sheets, spreadsheets, email, etc
Self – things for myself.. lunch, gym, blogging, etc.
Then as I work, I can just pick which category I’m working in and make a note of what I’m doing. At the end of the week I’ll be able to see where I’m spending my time & how I can manipulate it to better manage my time.
We’ll see how it goes..