Do you struggle with too much to do and not enough time to do it? There are all kinds of statistics to prove you’re not alone. In fact, this is a trend we see among new leaders coming into our Spearity coaching programs. But the good news is that time management skills can be learned.
If you feel like you’re working from sun up til sun down and getting nowhere fast, focusing on these five time management skills can help.
1. Goal setting, planning, and prioritization
How many times do you find yourself procrastinating or spending time on low-impact tasks because you’re overwhelmed or unsure of what to do? While there are many reasons why people, including leaders, procrastinate, sometimes it boils down to a lack of goal-setting and planning.
When you’re unsure of what you should be spending time doing, it’s easy to jump from one thing to another and feel like you’ve made no progress at the end of the day. It’s like walking on a treadmill; you’re doing a lot of moving but not going anywhere.
Take time to set goals for your organization. Then look at the goals and determine what you need to do to move toward achieving those goals. Break the goals down into actionable steps that will become your to-do list. By using this system, it ensures the work you do moves the needle forward instead of just keeping you busy.
In addition to setting goals and creating a plan, spend time prioritizing what needs to get done and when. Work on the things that matter instead of choosing to work on what’s easy.
A lack of delegating—or properly delegating—is a huge time waster for leaders. It’s essential to trust the team you have around you to work together to achieve company goals. When you don’t trust others to do the work “as good” as you would do it, you’re making your job a lot harder, and you’re hurting the confidence of your team.
Following the old adage “If you want a job done right, do it yourself” will run you into the ground.
Instead, spend time improving your leadership skills and time management skills by learning how to delegate properly. This is a process and can be a struggle, but is something every leader can learn how to do well.
Here are some articles that can help you:
- The Art of Delegation for Leaders
- 6 Tips for Delegating as a Leader
- 7 Tips to Improve Delegation Skills
- Why You Need to Delegate More and Do Less
You are in charge of your calendar. If your schedule isn’t working for you, change it.
Are you wasting time in unnecessary meetings? Do you do your best work early in the day but are constantly interrupted by phone calls? Would it help you to have 3 hours to work focused on a specific project every Wednesday so you can do your best work?
Look at what’s working and what’s not, and then make the necessary changes.
I found that I’m not a huge fan of meetings early in the week. So, whenever I can, I schedule my meetings for Wednesdays and Thursdays. This allows me to make progress on projects early in the week before any meetings occur. Does it always work like this? Of course not, and I can be flexible, but understanding that it’s in my control allows me to set my week up for success.
4. Managing interruptions and distractions
According to research, “the average office worker in the United States gets interrupted as often as 11 times per hour or almost every six minutes.”
Well, of course, it’s difficult to get anything accomplished when you’re being pulled away every six minutes. Not only does the distraction itself steal your time, but it takes time to refocus on your work, meaning by the time you’re back in the flow, you’re likely getting distracted again.
And while it’s easy to think that distractions are out of our control, that statement is mostly untrue. Of course, there are some distractions that we have no control over, but most of them can be controlled by establishing boundaries to protect your time and mental capacity.
If distractions are a problem for you, I encourage you to read the blog post 7 Ways to Eliminate Distractions and Increase Productivity, which shares the following tips in detail:
- Identify your distractions
- Block specific times for meetings on your calendar
- Pause your email inbox and check at specific times of the day
- Improve your delegation skills
- Put your phone away (or turn off notifications)
- Prioritize your tasks
- Communicate when you are doing focused work
When you create time to work—undistracted—you’ll find you can get in a flow and get more tasks completed quickly.
5. Decision-Making Efficiency
Timely decisions matter. Yes, it’s important to gather information to make a wise decision, but the time comes when you need to make the best decision you can with what information you have and then keep going.
Many leaders waste time in the research phase, trying to gather as much information as possible so they don’t make a mistake. It starts out productive, but then they cross a point where “research” becomes procrastination.
Work on making informed decisions within a set time frame. Establish deadlines for yourself so you can gather the research but not get stuck in the research phase. Being decisive is essential for making the most of your time and keeping things rolling forward.
Get Started Improving Your Time Management Skills
Does reading this have you wanting to make improvements but still feeling unsure of exactly how to get it done? You don’t have to do it alone. Spearity business coaches come alongside you and help you identify and overcome the obstacles in your path to growing and scaling your business.
Take the first step today by calling or messaging Speairty to explore our coaching options.