A leader is expected to do many things these days. We have so many balls up in the air, we need to be very good at juggling so one does not come crashing to the ground, splintering into 1000’s of pieces. I have had quite a few conversations over recent weeks about time management and people’s struggles with this. So I thought it might be timely for a reminder about the key things to do as part of good time management. I’m going to focus on 2 areas that I think are critical to enabling you to complete the process of time management and provide you with 2 golden rules for each:
- Having clarity around what you need to be doing when.
Ok this part is really important. Many people keep all of this information in their heads. There are so many ideas, deadlines, thoughts, and actions swimming around in our minds like a fish swimming in a small fish bowl. They keep going around and around and it’s never ending. It can prevent sleep; rest and simply being ‘present’ when with a staff member, friend or loved one and things can fall through the cracks. Because you are constantly thinking about what you have to do.
Rule number 1 – Get it out on paper. ‘Brain dump’ as I call it, all of the thoughts, deadlines etc that are swimming around in your head. Yes this will take time and yes you will need pen and paper and yes this will benefit you tenfold above keeping them in your head. The reason being, once they are out on paper, you can see what you are dealing with. You can use the brain space that you have been using to worry about all of these things or trying to remember not to forget things, to actually process how and when you will get these things completed. As humans, we only process 7 chunks of information at any one time. I bet you have a lot more than that floating around in your head. Get your thoughts down on paper.
Rule number 2 – prioritise them. Get them into a logical list of what needs to be completed first second or third and so on. You will then find that you can workflow your plan with ease. This will provide you with even more clarity in your direction enabling you to proceed to number 2.
2. Planning to achieve.
Now that you have a visual around what you need to be achieving and when, you can now plan to complete these activities.
Rule number 1 – estimate how much time you need to complete these tasks. If they are large tasks, chunk them down into small bite sized tasks so the task looks achievable and create time in your diary. Allow a dedicated time in your outlook, your Icalendar or paper diary to complete the tasks. By doing this you know what you are focused on when. Energy follows focus, this is important. By being focused on one thing at a time, you will be able to complete the task with improved concentration and creativity.
Rule number 2 – be diligent to the times you have allowed to complete your tasks. There will always be something else to do or easier quicker tasks to complete. Don’t be tempted to deviate. Think about any other task you undertake to achieve an outcome. Take fitness for example. You need to be diligent to your fitness regime to achieve a certain fitness level; you may also need to be diligent to an eating plan to support your fitness regime. Business is not different.
If you do these 2 actions and follow the rules for both, you see an improvement in your time management. Try it!