When you are dependable, reliable, trustworthy, and/or in leadership, people ask you to do many things. If, however, you let others plan your time, you will never reach your goals or do what is important to you. Even though you possess great leadership qualities, your time is still limited. Therefore, it is extremely important to know time management strategies to make the most of your time. In this post we’ll discuss five time management strategies to help you make the best use of your time.
Time Management: Start with a Time Study
Before we get to the time management strategies, however, it is important to know where you spend your time. Perform a time study to determine exactly what you do with your time. For the next week or two, write down exactly what you do with every hour of every day. You can even get more granular if you would like by tracking half or quarter hours. Once you track your time, summarize the results to categorize where you spend your time.
1. Prioritize What’s Most Important To You!
First, prioritize what is most important to you. That gives you parameters for saying yes and no to various requests. A few examples of common priorities are:
When prioritizing, remember that every time you say, “Yes,” you are also saying no to things in the future. It is not always bad to say, “No,” when the “no” gives you more time to focus on what’s most important to you.
Once have completed your time study and have your priorities outlined, you can see where there is a misalignment between your priorities and time usage.
2. Plan and Schedule
Once you’ve identified your priorities, create a plan to focus dedicated time on them. Determine which priorities will take a lot of time and which ones will only take a little time here and there. Then schedule the priorities into your life. When you schedule them into your life, keep the commitments to yourself and to your priorities. Also, ensure that your priorities get the appropriate time. Review them regularly and schedule weekly and/or daily appointments to address them.
3. Delegate Tasks to Others
Delegating is done when you take tasks that you could or would normally do and assign them to others. These tasks/assignments can be monotonous, easy, or complex and they can require a little or a lot of attention. What’s most important is that you delegate to people capable of doing the tasks/assignments.
In the corporate environment, it is very common to delegate to an employee that reports to you, other departments within your organization, or someone else altogether. When you delegate, provide clear and concise directions detailing what you want the person to do and how you want it done. By providing clear directions, the other person can do what you want in the way you want. If you don’t give clear and concise directions, there is a high chance the assignment may not be done how you want.
By delegating tasks to others, it frees up time to do what is most important to reach your goals.
Outsourcing is very similar to delegating since you are assigning tasks to others, but it also usually quite different. Outsourcing is usually done when you contract work to an outside supplier. The outsourced work is usually work outside your core business competencies. Outsourcing in this manner reduces overhead costs and is an effective way to get one time services done.
5. Work Within Your Strengths
You’re probably good at many things, but great at only a few. The key is knowing what you are great at (your biggest strengths). Now you may be wondering, “How can I know what my biggest strengths are?” As I mentioned in my post last week, there are many books, self-assessments, and other tools available to help you learn and emphasize your strengths.
My favorite book is Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath. This book comes with a free online self-assessment test that you can take to identify your strengths. Once you know your strengths, it explains how you can improve and emphasize your strengths.
You can then leverage them to get the biggest bang for your buck. Focus your time and effort on activities that leverage your strengths and don’t commit to things outside your strengths.
Now that you have these five time management strategies, use them to your advantage. Implement these time management strategies so you can focus on what’s most important. Each time management strategy has its own application and is useful in certain situations. Therefore, use them as applicable to become a better leader today!
Do you have experience using the time management strategies mentioned above? If so, share your thoughts on how they are working for you. Also, please feel free so share any other time management strategies are working for you!