One of the biggest challenges to effective leadership is time management. As a leader, you may do what seems like a million different tasks; as a result, time becomes your enemy.
Conquering your time management troubles will help you not only overcome these obstacles to success, but also give you more time for living a rich life outside of business.
But first, what are the chief hurdles when it comes to time management? The top four obstacles are:
Perfectionism. Many people use perfectionism as a crutch, a way to stay busy doing what they know how to do and to let the rest slide. For example, you’re a skilled writer but detest accounting, which means you spend days on a sales letter and your books are in such shambles that you are unsure who owes you what or how much money you’re making or losing.
Procrastination. This happens for a number of reasons. If you’re facing burnout, then you’ll likely feel like avoiding anything related to your role. However, if you’re facing a task you don’t want to do, it’s much easier to procrastinate.
An inability to say no. Guess what…not only should you not be doing everything—you can’t! And if you try to, something’s going to give. You’re not going to be able to devote your full attention to the things that matter most to your role; they’ll suffer, and your effectiveness as a leader will suffer.
Lack of planning. It’s easy to become caught up in tasks such as social networking, email, phone calls, reading blogs, checking stats, industry research and the like. One quick email check can turn into a full hour of back and forth email correspondence and before you know it, your entire schedule is off for the day. Planning, and sticking to your plan, helps you stay on track.
So now that you know the main time-management troubles, it’s time to take them on. To overcome these obstacles—and set yourself up for success, not frustration—take these four steps:
1. What’s stopping you?
Identify what’s holding you up. Is it procrastination? Perfection? A lack of planning? What’s getting in your way?
2. Prioritize and set goals.
Prioritizing and goal setting are two important components of time management. Goal setting is easiest to accomplish when you set a goal that’s Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely (start and end date specific) and when you break it down into smaller, manageable goals you can better manage achieve your objectives.
Creating a task list is another item that, as strange as it may sound, needs to become a scheduled part of your day and your week. You’ll want to spend a bit of time prior to Monday morning creating a list of tasks and goals for the upcoming week. Keep in mind that some days may be set aside as planning days, days off or meeting days.
3. Plan and schedule your day, week and month.
Make sure you have time to accomplish the goals, tasks and priorities you’ve established. Set aside the time you need by planning your days, weeks and even your month out.
To make this process easier, and to lighten your load, there are time management tools like a smart phone with an appropriate app, desktop scheduling software and the good, old-fashioned paper calendar, which can help you establish and maintain time management success.
4. Get help.
Finally, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, it may be time to seek outside help. Check-in with your supervisor and seek ways they may recommend to be more effective with time. If possible, maybe it is time to consider hiring someone to manage the tasks that seem to get in the way.
Often these are the administrative tasks. Can you share an administrative assistant with another leader? Conversely, can learn to delegate better to lighten the load? Last but not least, hire a business coach who can help you take your existing skills to the next level.
Overcoming your time management obstacles is easy when you can acknowledge what they are and why they exist. From there, it’s merely a process of planning how to overcome them and using the right tools to get the job done.
If you are struggling with time management issues and are interested in pursuing a conversation or just need more information on the topic, please let me know. There is never any cost for a discovery call which you can schedule right here: https://calendly.com/inscapegreg/30min
I look forward to chatting with you.