As A Leader, Do You Manage Your Time or Does Time Manage You?
How are you managing your time? What does your calendar look like? If you are like most leaders your calendar looks awful. Everyone and I mean everyone wants a piece of you. Your boss, peers, direct reports, clients, vendors and other stakeholders are requesting your time to attend meetings and conference calls. You are constantly bombarded with emails, phone calls, text messages through out the day. We have not even mentioned the demands of your partner, family and others outside of work.
The noise is constant, ever present and can get very overwhelming. No wonder many of you burn the midnight oil, look tired and are exhausted at the end of the five day workweek. What that you say? Five day work week, right! So ,what can you do to take more control of your time?
Focus on your top 3 urgent and important priorities!
Your priorities will demand you attention, enable you to take action and produce results. What is your top 3? If you don’t know, perhaps that is why your calendar looks the way it does and you feel the way you do. Figure out your top three urgent and important priorities and put them in writing. Share them with your stakeholders and revisit them and revise them frequently.
Track how you are spending your time on your top 3 priorities!
That’s right, track your time. Use a journal or some other source to track your activities and behaviors each hour of your working day. We highly recommend you do this exercise for two weeks and assess how much time you are spending on your top 3 priorities. If you not spending 75% of your time on these 3 issues then you will need to evaluate what, where, and how you are spending your time. Tracking can be a real eye opener and can help you change the way you manage your time.
Spend time on only those things that you can do. Delegate everything else. Delegating is a great way to develop your team, assess their capabilities and allow them to feel they are contributing.
Learn To Say No
Set boundaries. Say no to the meeting or conference call that you really do not need to attend. Make your team responsible. Distinguish between what is urgent and what is important.
Communicate To Your Team What You Need
Tell your team what y our priorities are, how bet to communicate with you, what your expectations are, when to CC you on correspondence, etc. Be specific and clear. Customize your communication to your audience.
Read Your Emails During Certain Periods Of The Day
Read them once and do something with each message. Respond, forward with instructions, file or delete.
Your time is a precious commodity. Stop giving it away. Use your time efficiently and effectively by implementing these six steps. By doing so, you will begin to manage your time instead of time managing you!