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Utilize Your 24 to Be a Better Leader

Time. We all have the same amount of time in a day: 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, 86,400 seconds. Yet, some leaders seem to utilize their 24 hours to be a better leader than than the rest of us.

Time
frankieleon via Compfight cc

What is the reason some people are able to accomplish more in a day? It’s simple.

Time management.

And a little organization.

Time Management

Time management is defined as the ability to plan and control how you spend the hours in your day to effectively accomplish your goals.

As I too only have a certain amount of time in my day, I make sure to utilize every minute. From the time I wake up until I go to sleep, I have my time intentionally scheduled. Not every scheduled minute is what some may call “productive time.” I make sure to schedule times of rest and spending intentional time with my family. I make sure to plan out the things that are important, and non-urgent, into my day.

In the past, I have utilized my break and lunch time to maximize my time. I walked on my morning break, wrote during lunch, and read during the afternoon break.  That allowed me to spend time with my family in the evenings. Once the kids went to bed, I set aside time to read, write, spend time with my husband, or spend time with friends.

That looks different now. Each week, I sit down and plan out my week. I first put in the standing information, any appointments and when to times to pick up my kids. Then I fill in what I am doing the other times, including when I am going to work out, when I am going to work on my book, the most recent class at the local university I am teaching, or my other business. I have found if I don’t have a plan in place, then it does not happen.

As a leader, you are most likely pulled in every which direction. Learning to plan out your week allows you to spend time focusing on the important items in your organization. Vision casting, goal planning, and the future. If you don’t plan, then you will constantly be bombarded with the urgent matters that arise in your organization. Focusing on the urgent doesn’t allow you to invest in your employees to raise up the next generation of leaders.

If you aren’t sure how you are spending your time at work and home, then that is where you have to start.

Here are 5 steps to maximize your time as a Leader:

  1. Where do you spend your time?

Use this time blocking document to notate where you are spending your time. It is set up to be used in hour or half hour increments. This is a tool to help you, not to hinder you. If you forget to write something down, do not worry. Utilize this tool to the best of your ability. The more effort you put into the exercise, the better you can accurately determine where you spend your time.

  1.  Review the document.

Look at your week.  Are there specific trends? Are there certain times of the day you check email or simply zone out? Are you more productive in the morning or afternoon? When is the best time to schedule meetings?

  1. Decide what is a waste of time and what is important.

What did you do in your week that you felt accomplished in doing and were proud of? What in your week can you not believe you spent time doing? Decide which activities you participated in are of importance and which are a waste of time.

  1. Think about your goals and priorities as a leader.

Did the time you spent during the week help you move closer to your goals and keep your priorities in line? Often, I find myself checking emails instead of working on what is going to move me forward in my business. I get stuck on the doing. I like to feel like I achieved something. But achieving does not put me closer to my goals if I am working on the wrong task.

You need to schedule the tasks that move you towards your goals and priorities.

  1. Create a schedule

Create a schedule that includes tasks to be completed for yourself as a leader, your organization, your up and coming leaders, people to be with, and the hobbies that are most important to you. Your calendar is to be used as a guide. It includes the important and urgent for work and your personal life, as well as the non-important and non-urgent. It is to help you maximize your time.

I’ve learned that if I do not schedule certain tasks, then they are not accomplished. I have learned that if it is a priority, then I have to schedule it.

Scheduling ensures I have planned my time according to my priorities. Click To Tweet

Some may say by scheduling out my time I’m not leaving room for margin or spontaneity, but I schedule out margin as well. There will always be certain things that trump my calendar. By scheduling out my day and week, I have a plan in place, and I get 85% of what I have scheduled accomplished.

And the other 15%?

Life happened.

Do you schedule out your time? If so, what do you normally put in your calendar?

 

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P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on TwitterPinterest, and LinkedIn.

Stephanie German is a leadership coach, adjunct professor, and dedicated work-from-home mom. She holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership and is the chair of the Red Shoe Society Central Valley (Ronald McDonald House guild). When she’s not coaching clients or writing about leadership, Stephanie is usually headed to the mountains or the beach with her family, drinking savory wine, or working on the latest project with her husband. Stephanie’s greatest desires are to nurture the next generation of leaders while raising her own children to be strong, independent, and brave. She lives in Fresno, California with her husband Blake and her three spunky daughters, Cara, Kinsey, and Peyton. She is the author of So Your Boss Can’t Lead?

New Year, New Look, New Goals

New year, new look, new goals.

Life has been insane, especially this past year. We sold our house in 3 days. We bought a house. We got pregnant. We had our third daughter. Our dog had two surgeries. We went on vacation to Hawaii and Disneyland and the beach (three things I really like!). We dealt with illness after illness for about 3 months (thanks to kids and their germs). I continued in my home based business, helping others with both product and starting their own business.

And I dreamed of writing, but never quite found the time.

They say you know what is important to someone by where they spend their money and how they spend their time.

 

If you looked at how I spent my time this past year you could say I was simply trying to survive. Yes, I had planned times for my priorities and good intentions, but sometimes life just “got in the way.”

Here we are at the beginning of a new year. Life is a little less crazy than it was last year. My intentions are different than last year too.

I hope to see you more this year. I hope you like the new look and the new look that is to come in the next months. I hope the content I provide is worth your time.

Besides, the journey to an extraordinaryl life isn’t always easy, but it is worth it.

Here’s to the Journey!

Why Absurd Goals Demotivate You

I had seven things on my to-do list on Monday. On Tuesday, I had six things. By the time Wednesday came around, I had eight items. All of these items were specific to goals.

How in the world did my to-do list increase when I had accomplished several items?

I sat down last night and thought about this. I like to set goals and make lists and accomplish! One of my strengths is achiever (I will write down something I have already achieved so I can mark it off…sue me). When I don’t achieve what I have set out to accomplish, I become frustrated and down. I wonder why I even set goals to begin with.

Sound familiar?

I create a to-do list based on my goals. When I don’t accomplish them, I feel like…

A failure

A fraud

A hypocrite

Because I am supposed to be good at setting goals. When I don’t achieve them, I lose a bit of motivation. Not accomplishing my goals day after day leads to greater loss of motivation. Absurd goals demotivate you. Period.

I realized that the daily tasks I was creating for myself, such as reading a chapter in my almost completed book, reading a chapter in my current personal development book, working on my other business, are not attainable.

I was setting goals based upon what I wanted to accomplish without thinking about my time in the day. I have two little ones who are constantly seeking my attention. Goals are good, but if I don’t have specific times in mind for when the items can be completed, my list will become demotivating.

I know that some hate the concept of a SMART goal. However, setting SMART goals allows for greater achievement and motivation to keep moving forward.  A SMART goal helps the individual to see if it is Specific, Measurable (how will you know when it is accomplished), Attainable (my current issue), Realistic, and Time specific.  A SMART goal, or task, gives you the foresight to know if what you set out to do will actually take place.

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A SMART goal, or task, gives you the foresight to know if what you set out to do will actually take place. Click To Tweet

Today, I’m throwing out my current task list and evaluating what I want to accomplish that is realistic given my time constraints and the needs of my little people. When you have goals that are big and audacious, but create steps that are attainable along the way, your goals will encourage and inspire you instead of demotivate you.

I challenge you to do the same. And if you don’t achieve what you set out to, there is always tomorrow.

Remember, you have one life to live. Make sure you enjoy it from here to there.

Here’s to the Journey!

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