Time is money!
It’s also a finite resource that we can neither buy nor replace – when it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
Effective time management is the key for top executives to ensure they can manage their conflicting priorities efficiently to provide great leadership and still retain a high quality of life.
So, what are the main elements of effective time management?
Firstly, it’s about minimising the things that waste time – needless meetings, constant interruptions and distractions, and multitasking.
Many senior executives today find themselves spending as much as 50% of their time in meetings, few of which result in meaningful output. And things have only got worse since the start of the pandemic as virtual meetings have proliferated at an alarming rate. If you’d like to understand how to manage your meetings schedule better, this article might help. You might also enjoy seeing Elon Musk’s thinking on meetings.
Interruptions and distractions are the bane of modern life. Managing these really comes down to having a culture of accountability and delegating decisions to the lowest practical level in the business. It really is neither necessary nor useful to have the CEO make all the decisions in the business, and an authority framework can really help people understand who has the appropriate level of authority for various types of decisions. (If you’d like a sample authority framework sheet to help you structure your own, press here and I’ll send you one.)
Many people like to talk about their ability to multitask. This is, however, a mistake – we cannot effectively multitask. Being distracted while working on a task can cost you as much as 25 minutes to get back to where you were. Trying to multitask has been shown to result in tasks taking an average of 80% longer than when the same person focuses on, and completes, tasks sequentially, and it seems to reduce IQ, too.
Keep your phone on silent and set your computer to not alert you to new messages, and answer calls, messages, and emails in the blocks of time you allocate to such things, so you can retain focus. And, of course, have a culture of not being copied on endless emails that don’t need to involve you – just as with meetings, ensure that emails you receive are those that would be important to you.
It’s about learning to say ‘No’ to tasks, emails, meetings and other distractions that can take up your time unproductively.
Secondly, time management means setting goals – goals for your personal life as well as your work life. Personal goals are about defining time to spend with your family and friends, on your hobbies, and doing other things that interest you outside work, including taking holidays disconnected from your office. Work goals are about not only your BHAG and OMGs, but those that make up your own OKR framework, too, and include personal development goals.
Of course, having set the goals, which ideally are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound), you need to ensure you stick to them: setting goals and then missing them simply adds to stress levels and a feeling of overwhelm.
And thirdly, focus on your health and wellness. Healthy leaders are more productive and able to function effectively. Healthiness is about diet, exercise and getting enough rest (and this includes holidays). Miss any of these and you’ll be costing your business money. Some leaders will add things like meditation, mindfulness and peer support groups to the mix, too – it really depends on your personal style, and what can best reduce your stress levels.
By managing your time effectively, you’ll find you’re less stressed and overwhelmed, more productive, happier and with a better-balanced work-home balance, and your business will be stronger with better growth and profitability, too.
Start the new year with a resolution to really manage your time.
Following a career spanning nearly 50 years in the technology industry across three continents, with three decades in CxO roles leading significant, sustained growth in revenue and profitability, I now work with successful owner-led businesses to further enhance their growth, profitability and business value.
If you’d like to discuss your business goals, book a no-obligation, free 30-minute call with me here. I’d be delighted to talk with you.
#BusinessFitness #Accountability #Attitude #Culture #Delegation #Excellence #Focus #Leadership #Overwhelm #Productivity #Success #Time #WorkLifeBalance
If you’ve enjoyed this post, you might find these related ones worth reading, too:
- Why Delegation is a Critical Leadership Skill and How to Do So Effectively.
- Why Am I So Busy But Can’t Seem to Get Anything Done?
- Looking at Time Differently To Boost Productivity
- How Meetings Can Be Hurting Your Business, and How to Fix This
- The Power of Accountability in Business Success
- The Power of Accountable Leadership
- Success Secrets of the World’s Best CEOs
- 12 Signs You’re Overwhelmed in Your Business
This article in Forbes might also be of interest: