Often managing the time as a leader is quite hectic. A typical day of a leader starts with one-hour blocks of meetings as well as conference calls, at times it can get too challenging, and you need to be more understanding towards how you can manage the time well.
Here are some of the tips you can consider for being better at time management as a leader.
Do The Calendar Cleanse
As an organization leader, you might always find it difficult to decline the invitation for the meetings. If you are saying no or not now to the invite, it might sound like you are violating cultural norms.
But if you can elevate the meetings that you have attended in your previous week. So there are chances that you might have wasted the time on pointless meetings.
So you need to get into this habit to ask about the agendas of the meetings you have been invited to. This way, you can decline politically to the meeting which does not hold the priorities.
Set Your Goals Clear And Straight
Most of the problems with time management are not having set goals which makes them fall short in clarity.
Setting clear goals can help you in motivating the employee, and when you are a leader, it’s crucial to have your goals straight.
Moreover, each goal requires a time-bound objective in order to achieve as well as provide room for doing the planning and having proper execution.
Set The Boundaries
As a leader, the majority of the time you are spending on doing work. But if you are not careful with it, you need to find a balance between life and work.
As such, it’s important to set the boundaries around the workplace. Such boundaries also show that you have a clear understanding of what your values and principles are.
So make sure you have set out the limits in order to clarify the client, boss as well as employees.
Keep Yourself Organized
Success starts with getting an organized calendar. It starts with your week. It usually gets extremely overwhelming and can be intimidating.
When you are a leader, the main goal is often to prove yourself and broadcast the ability you have to produce high-quality performance while keeping yourself top of the chaos.
If you want to manage your time effectively in the workplace, you need to keep yourself on top of all of the things from the beginning.
Delegate Your Tasks
When you are a leader, it becomes obvious that you have to handle everything, however, there is no rule that doesn’t allow other people to handle it for you.
Also if you don’t have the skill for the particular work, it’s worth it to delegate the task to those who can.
Delegating tasks allows to better focus on what skills you have energy on tasks which you have in hand,
However, when you are a leader, it might be challenging to start with it, since you always have the urge to control everything.
But if the task is worth the delegation, then you better learn to let it go.
The best is to take some time to understand the strength and identify where you require the assistance.
When you are starting your week, it’s important that you have scheduled every single task and stick with the plan.
As a result, you will have better management of your time along with efficient structure and discipline.
Scheduling is important because it will help in reducing the time wastage in your week, and it allows the benchmark on which you need to get the work done.
If you notice there are some tasks in your schedule which are taking much more time and energy, it’s better to delegate them.
Don’t Forget To Prioritize
Leaders often face the struggle of prioritizing, especially when you have a lot more things to do but a limited time.
Here, you need to identify the tasks which require your attention, but in such a situation, it can be a struggle to do so.
But mastering prioritizing can help you, first, you need to get all tasks that you need to do and put those in the master list.
Next, break it down into monthly, weekly, daily goals and make their respective list.
Here make sure you are being realistic about the tasks you have, and this will help in managing the time well.
Create If-Then Rules
As a leader, it’s quite common to get into situations and have frequent interruptions.
There might be a sudden issue in the company or maybe your employee wants to talk about the workplace.
So there are always chances of encountering problems that are unforeseen, and it can be a last-minute task that suddenly needs all of your attention.
Managing all of it in your limited time, it’s possible that you might require to shift your attention from your high-priority goals or tasks.
To such a situation, make sure you have the idea, automate the actions, and do follow the if-then rule.
This will not just help you in saving time, but also allows employees to work without depending on you.
Take Your Break
When you are a leader, you have this continuous feeling of prioritizing the work, in order to do it, you also overlook the requirement of taking breaks.
But if you want to use the time smartly, you must have frequent breaks in your schedule. Take your time and get away from the work.
This improves productivity, refreshes your mind, and helps in better focus.
Taking breaks also helps you in identifying what you need to do and what can be changed to improve.
Work On Increasing Your Sustainable Productivity
The common assumption leaders have is that they require to work longer and harder, and more days in a year in order to increase productivity.
However, working harder to the point you are not considering the personal consequences, it leads to reduced brain function, increased stress, decreased effectiveness, and health problems.
This also impacts your team, and overwork leads to making more mistakes and poor quality.
As a leader, you need to think about increasing, not just in terms of work and productivity, but also the primary level of sustainable productivity, well it includes
Getting the right tasks done in a timely way
Preserving as well as restoring the resources which include yourself, relationship with family, nature, environment, good standing with colleagues, etc.
Reduce Your Phantom Workload
In order to boost your sustainable productivity is to reduce the phantom workload.
Phantom world means the unintentional work that you have created when people take expedient but with inefficient shortcuts or avoid to get a session and difficult tasks done, it includes:
- Clarifying the values, vision, and mission.
- Asking the question which challenges the ambiguous or unrealistic.
- Making decisions that need disinvestment in certain projects or programs.
- Differentiating people with their rewards and sanction
- Providing feedback that is candid and constructive
- Clarifying and making sure to streamline the process of taking decisions
- Identifying and resolving the problems as well as conflicts/
Due to such would it include :
- Upset customer
- Length meetings that are not productive
- Chronic organizational conflict
- Time wasted on solving the same issues
- Extensive sign-offs
Manage Your Time In Domains
It’s basically divided into four domains, where each represents the Spiritual
- Physical realms.
This corresponds to the four keys of functions of the leadership, including :
- Mobilizing commitment
- Thinking strategically
- Building relationship
- Organizing for action
In order to be an effective leader, you must believe in all four areas. A lot of time you generate the phantom workload to areas where you are weak, so you can avoid that task to get it done. However it’s not always natural, sometimes you have a bias of your own strengths.
Work Smartly And Strategically
Clarifying the unique contribution that you want to make which enables you to set a limited number of goals.
It’s important that you work towards one or three goals at a time, this will disciple the direct resorts
When you are limiting the goals, it might seem risky especially when you are a leader, as you might think that you might end up missing the opportunities or pushing in the wrong direction.
However, profiling goals are often considered as subtle for strategic thinking, touch decision making, and conflict resolutions. This results in confusion, ambiguity, and chronic conflicts which are costly.
So when you have a few goals that you manage the tradeoffs, it can divide into :
- Short terms vs long term
- Easy vs difficult
- Urgent vs important
- Comfortable vs unpleasant
Take Help From Others
Support helps you in making often deep changes that are associated with relocating the time.
This can decrease a sense of isolation, this makes you feel like you are alone and struggle with issues.
But with support, you can get an appreciative confrontation. When you have a backup in order to get help from time to time, also you need people who can support the changes which help in countering the type of encouragement reinforces in the current behavior.
Don’t’ Robo Check The Email
You have heard this before, but the chances that you need to know again: Don’t be a slave to the email inbox.
Have your regular times when you do read and replay the messages. Also, make sure you are resisting the temptation of responding to email pings and pop-ups.
These things will keep you alert day and night.
If you are not able to quit checking the inbox, make sure you turn off the push notification and the same goes for the alerts.
Keep your phone silenced when you are going to bed or leave it in another room in order to avoid checking early or late at night.
Stop Wasting Time On Writing Same Emails
When you are a leader, you need to write the same emails, however, if you are frequently writing the same chuck, it’s better to create a reusable text block for composing it.
You can use this in Microsoft Outlook and Word, so you can simply add this with a few clicks.
Organize Your Emails
It’s important that you are organizing your emails, this can help you in staying updated and all-important emails are in your easy access.
There is a part of spending less time in the inbox, this keeps the inbox clean and organized.
There are a few tips that you can start with :
- Delete the emails which you don’t need, and never going to read.
- To those emails which are recurring, but you don’t need, it’s best to unsubscribe.
- To make it easy for you, use the labels and categorize the inbox.
- Set up some rules which automatically sort the email into the particular folder so it would come. A lot of options such as Outlook, Gmail, etc.
- Use an app such as Boomerang for Gmail, it can let you write the mail in the raft and schedule it for sending later.
Take Best Of Your Calendar
Calendars are more helpful than they get credit for, you can understand how you can use this smartly.
Make one of these, this works best as you have a place where you have things recorded including the appointments and have mastered the calendar.
You can sync the calendar with all of your devices and desktop
It’s hard to get work done when you spend most of the day doing the meeting. Make your meetings efficient as well as productive, and for this, you need to clarify what are the goals and objectives of the meeting.
Ask questions of what you want to achieve, agreement, brainstorming, and a list of actions.
Ask the questions, make sure you are clear about what you need to achieve.
Shorten The Time Period For Meetings
If there is extra meeting time available, people will stretch things out in order to fully fill the gap.
So if there is a sense of urgency to squeeze everything into the amount, it’s better to shorten it out of the meeting time.
This will help you as well as others to get their work done in a given time. When there is less time, people will be quick to express their thoughts and wrap up the meeting early.
Remember if there are some of the questions they have, you can ask them to do one-on-one meetings or schedule the follow-up meetings.
Book Meetings Back To Back
Whenever it’s possible, make sure you are setting all of your meetings back to back, so this will give you the rest of the day in one solid chunk.
It becomes difficult to focus on something when you’re anticipating the next meeting. This makes you less productive and you feel constantly disturbed
Have Backups In Case Of Failing Priorities
There are always chances of failing in completing the priorities. You can’t always work on your own priorities, often other work might come to you and be difficult.
So you need to find ways to work on how to manage with other priorities. Also if you are continuously going through distance, then you need to make the change.
Some leaders struggle to complete their priorities, they are constantly disrupted by other tasks which consume their time.
If this is keeping going on, then there are a few options including:
- Remove the tasks which never get completed from your priority list of yours, if they were that important, wouldn’t you focus on them?
- Push back on work, have conversations with people who are overboard, and find out a solution.
- Make a case for resources, if all of the work is important, then you need to get more help.
- Work longer hours for while so you can clear the backlogs/
Consider Working Offline
Working offline is one of the tips that can help you in managing time but with that, you can focus on effort and complete the priority tasks.
In the world of digital, you might often get bombarded with extraordinary numbers of distractions.
It can be a smartphone, watch notification, email, phone calls, social media, or unexpected pop-ins.
You need to consider working offline, so you can work better.
Work Away From The Location
Book a meeting room, but it should be just for yourself. You can also work from home, or sit in a coffee shop for hours.
Here people won’t find you easily and will have less distribution. When you are working in your workspace or office, people have much more easy access to you, and they bother you by asking for solutions.
Not only that, you are getting more time to yourself, but also your employees need to try harder to get their work done on their own instead of depending on themselves.
Ditch The Technology Around You
To plan your strategy, sketch a plan or create a to-do list, you need a space where you don’t get distracted so frequently.
And for that, you need to ditch the technology around you, block out some time where you keep the laptop, iPad, phone away.
Go to a quiet place where you can take a notepad and pen as well as some relaxing time.
With far less chance of getting distracted, not everything you need to be recorded electronically.
Sometimes you can just brainstorm and think about the process to get more things to happen which is important.
Think About long Term With AVoiding Shortcuts
One of the important points that you need to remember is that taking shortcuts leads to wasting much more time, especially in the long run.
For example, you need to delegate some of the work to your team. Since you are busy, you do a quick email and explain briefly about what they need to do.
In order to save time, you skip the details and assume that the teammates will understand on your own because you don’t want more time spent on it.
The person you delegated is not just confused but has less information, they might send you a follow-up email which will take more time to answer.
Even worse, the wrong instruction leads to going in the wrong direction, including making mistakes, and cleaning up, it will take time.
Sometimes you need to do things properly so you don’t have to waste unnecessary time.
Plan Realistic With Reactive Time
It’s tempting and seems sensible to plan your day 100%, but what percentage of the day is on average reactive? Well, the answer is between 40 to 60%, so this is only when you are engaging in discipline to plan and remain 60 to 40% and let the rest of the days free of the reality of what is necessary to react.
Respond Realistically Instead of Habitually
How do you find the extra time so that you can build the sustainable necessary reactive time? One of the ways that you can do this is by pushing the deadline by two or a day.
When your client asks when they can get work done, the habit is to answer as soon as it can be possible,
However this is not realistic, instead of doing this, make sure you are getting extra days, so you don’t have the extra pressure on you and your team.
Not just that, you can deliver work before the deadline, which can help you in making an impression better.
Avoid Your 25 Minute Meeting Rule
People who are regularly in meetings tend to get too long, and a lot of the time they are not even included that much.
With the 25 minute maximum or something related to that, it seems to have a quick fix but it can undermine the creativity and collaboration which need more space to brainstorm.
So focus on adding the people who are related to the meeting, with this, you also save time on giving extra time.
Crave Out The Best Time
People usually know when it’s their best brain time, this is the time when you are most productive and getting the heavy thinking work done.
So It’s best to carve out your best time and get your most challenging work done.
This will help you in setting priority work in the focus.
Follow Your System
GTD is a productive system that is used by a lot of people, and you can use it with different parts of life, not with simply your career.
Good habits allow you to focus on things that actually matter and hold importance, allowing you to forget what you should.
Have Space Instead Of Time
If you ever find that you need more time in a day, then it is a good sign you are not as productive as you believe you are.
It’s important that you understand what is taking your time, and covering up the space. When you are working in a smaller office, it’s impossible to get uninterrupted time away. If you are in a chaotic workplace, you need to figure out how to get space instead of having more time.
Stop Thinking Yourself As Victim
When you are a leader, there are a lot of things that you need to handle. When you have a lot of responsibility, it comes with a lot of noise too.
If you don’t recognize the noise, it will take up the mental real estate, this is where you start to get stressed.
This is why you need to stop blaming yourself as a victim.
Address What Scares You
Being a leader requires being in control of the situation and people to make sure everything is going in the right direction.
A lot of leaders feel scared when they are not being in control, so you need to let it go.
The reason people procrastinate is that they have no idea where to start.
Not just that, there might be a lot of reasons you feel scared, so you need to address what makes you feel like that.
Write Ten Of Your Thoughts
When you are a leader, millions of things are going on in your head all the time. The best thing you can do is, write it down, go through each of them, and figure out what you are planning to do next.
It’s writing therapy. it allows you to get a much more organized focus and you put ten things so you need to short it out.
Live In The Real World
In order to keep yourself in the physical world, you need to add a bit of something and replace it. For example, instead of using ebooks, you can use physical books. This will give you much longer to read and find more focus.
Reduce the distraction, and focus on mobilization with technology.
Block Out Four Hours With No Interruption
You need to have fresh energy. When you start your work, you might believe that you can do multiple things all at once, along with focusing on creative work to do.
But it gets difficult, so here you need to focus on blocking four hours. To get your creative work done, for example, if you want to write a book, having four hours is enough.
Not just that, you need to prepare mentally and physically both.
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Carol T. Mahaffey is a certified American Author And a creator of Theleaderboy. Carol is a Self-Taught Marketer with 10+ Years of Experience. She brings her decade of experience to her current role, where she is dedicated to writing books, blogs, and articles, inspiring the world on how to become a better Leader.