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.
What is the reason some people are able to accomplish more in a day? It’s simple.
And a little organization.
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:
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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%?
Do you schedule out your time? If so, what do you normally put in your calendar?
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 Twitter, Pinterest, 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?