Self-Consideration: Time Management for the 21st Century Leader

Posted by on Apr 20, 2012 in blog, news | Comments Off on Self-Consideration: Time Management for the 21st Century Leader

Self-Consideration – “Don’t Waste Your Own Time”

Time Management for the 21st Century Leader

 Lately, many of my clients have been expressing concerns about time management. In response, I have posted a few tips below to help with time and task management.

The first step in better time management is prioritizing. You have to prioritize your tasks and responsibilities. Your first priority should be Strategic Goals which include business planning and relationship building. Your next priorities should be operations which include managing your business including its systems and processes. Time-sensitive issues and projects should be handled next. Your last priorities should be minor administrative tasks and micromanaging. Use the following time-management guide as a tool to help you prioritize.

Priority 1: Important and Urgent
Priority 2/3: Important and Not Urgent
Priority 2/3: Not Important and Urgent
Priority 4: Neither Important Nor Urgent

Once we have our priorities in order, it’s a lot easier to manage our businesses, including people and processes.

Often times, we find ourselves busy between long meetings and short conversations answering questions and responding to concerns from our staff. This may sound counterintuitive, but I find it helpful to schedule more meetings. Rather than having just two meetings, one executive and one staff and having lots of impromptu discussions with employees throughout the week regarding their individual projects, it’s more efficient to have a weekly executive meeting and staff meeting and monthly-one-on-one meetings with other employees. Your time won’t be spent responding to questions and concerns the second they come up, but rather, puts the staff in a position where they have to batch their questions and concerns about individual projects for your meetings with them. Depending on the nature of your business, some of these meetings can even be electronic – using the phone, Go-to-Meeting, or even Skype.

It’s also helpful to set up established office hours, so that there is a designated block of time every week when people will know that they can come in your office and speak with you. Rather than having people popping in and out of your office throughout the day, they will know that unless it’s an urgent matter, they can come see you in person during your office hours.

If you’re like me, it’s easy to spend two hours a day just checking and responding to emails. Sorting through them to find the important ones is a big task in and of itself, let alone, responding to them. To avoid spending too much time managing your emails, you should commit to checking emails a limited number of times per day – three to four. You can even use an assistant to help you manage your emails. He or she can sort your emails, reply to the minor ones, and forward you the major ones.

One tip that I cannot stress enough is to DELEGATE. Often times we tell ourselves that it’s easier to do things ourselves because it takes time to teach and train people or that some tasks are too important and we have to do them ourselves. We have to let go of this mindset, because when we do, we become more productive and less stressed. Delegate tasks to staff members as you find it necessary to do so. Most job descriptions have a part that reads: Other Duties as Assigned. This is your opportunity to assign other duties!

Between projects and meetings, it is very easy to lose track of deadlines, schedule overlapping appointments, and even forget about some appointments all-together. You should always use time and task management tools to help you stay organized. These can be electronic or physical. I would recommend electronic so that you can access it from anywhere at any time. Consider using Microsoft Outlook, Project, OneNote, etc. to stay organized.

Always remember, time management is all about being efficient, while being considerate to everyone, especially you. We have to make sure that we take care of our tasks and responsibilities, while avoiding getting burnt out, because we get burnt out we become stressed and less productive.