Time management mastery is no easy feat. It takes years of trial and error, discipline and resilience. Even the most accomplished business folks struggle to manage their time effectively. When people reach the level of success of a Dan Gilbert, Jeff Bezos or Larry Page, their priorities change tremendously. So does the demand for their presence in many important business meetings. It is also to be expected that past acquaintances will come knocking with business propositions or requests for handouts. To efficiently deflect these types of time killers a mastery of time management is crucial to effective leadership and growth.
The majority have not yet reached the level of success of these fine gentlemen, and quite honestly, most won’t. Some aren’t even interested in attaining such high achievements, believe it or not. But for those out there who want to continually improve both personally and professionally, sharpening their time management skill set will help them reach new heights. Masters of time management are flexible yet reliable, leaders yet doers.
There’s good news! Molding yourself into a time management master is within reach. Here are three easy steps you can implement to master time management:
1. Here’s a no-brainer; Delegate what and when you can.
The purpose is to get more of the unimportant and not urgent tasks off your desk and onto someone else’s. Alleviating the stress of daily tasks by giving them to a coworker with a higher workload capacity will allow you to focus on the big picture.
a. The ‘What’ to delegate are those tasks that consume small-to-medium chunks of your time but don’t yield a profitable outcome. By profitable I don’t necessarily mean monetary profit. I am referring to your time as currency. If your workweek is worth $40, how many dollars would you be throwing away due to mundane and unimportant tasks?
b. The ‘When’ to delegate is related to your position on the corporate ladder. If you’re an accomplished department manager you’ve already figured this part out but if you’re a company of one that’s just starting off, the time might not be right. Also consider how long you’ve been with your current employer. You don’t want to come across as the new guy / gal who pawns work off on everyone else, unless, of course, you’re empowered to do so.
2. Don’t let the fight against Email rule your day.
It’s easy, isn’t it? Letting email consume an entire day, week, month or year of your time. OK, don’t get me wrong here; it’s important to check and respond to email but it’s become somewhat of a necessary evil. Weeding through what’s important in your inbox vs. what’s not can be difficult, and yes, time consuming. Something to help cut down on the time you spend working through your inbox is to instill discipline. Allow yourself two hours per morning and two hours in the afternoon in your inbox. This structure will make you more efficient at batching email replies, and give you back half of your day to focus on what’s important: growing your business!
3. Setting Goals isn’t just for your bucket list.
You bet it’s fun traveling abroad, or skydiving, or golfing at your favorite course. But that’s not the type of goal setting I’m talking about. I’m referring to productivity in the workplace. Take a step back; think about a major project you’ve been putting off but need to get jumpstarted. I bet you can think of at least two or three of these. Well, there’s no better time than now to dive in head first! Write out a list of three-to-five projects you would like to achieve in the next six months. List another three that you’d like to accomplish over the next year. Hang this at your desk as a daily reminder of the important things you’re coming to work to accomplish. But don’t stop there. Share your goals with your team and coworkers. Let them be the ones who hold you accountable to your goals. In the end, you’ll thank them for their support