Time Management Skills for Business Leaders

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Written By Kevin

The insights I gained over the years help me lead and motivate teams to achieve business and operational goals. Allow me to share my learnings with you.

In this article I will explain why time management is so crucial for you as a business leader, and I’ll also share my time management tips so that you can use the limited time you have at work, as effectively as possible.

Time, in reality, isn’t something that some business leaders have and others don’t. Everyone has the same amount of time. It is just a variable that we think about while going through our daily tasks.

After all, time moves on, no matter what you are doing. 

What is important is what you do in that limited amount of time, and this is what time management is all about.

Granted, with more resources (more money, more employees, more influence, etc) you can get more things done at the same time. However, the higher up the ladder you are, the more responsibilities will fall upon your shoulders and the better use you will need to make of the resources at your disposal.

This is why time management strategies are essential for business leaders.

What is Time Management

Time management refers to the process of organizing and executing activities in a way that allows individuals to make the most efficient use of their time. 

Time management skills are often necessary in order to complete tasks within a specified timeframe, and can be beneficial in both personal and professional settings. 

There are a variety of time management strategies and techniques that can be employed, depending on the individual’s needs and preferences. I will go through some of the most effective techniques below.

Time management skills can be learned and developed over time, however some people may find it more difficult to manage their time effectively. 

This can often be due to a combination of factors, such as a hectic lifestyle, time-consuming commitments, or a lack of organization skills. 

Having said this, time management is an essential skill to master in order to be successful in both your personal and professional life. Let’s see why?

Why is Time Management Important?

Let’s start by understanding why time management is so important.

There has been a great deal of research and studies done on time management. This is because proper time management allows for a higher level of efficiency, less procrastination and improved work behaviors.

As a business leader you have a lot on your plate, so being able to effectively manage your time and your priorities can help you stay on top of all the things that you need to accomplish.

It can also help you to focus your time on what is most important, rather than wasting time on things that take up mind space but don’t truly warrant your attention.

Time management can also be a form of self-care by allowing you to create stronger boundaries and have better work-life balance. 

Importance of Time Management for Employees

Managing one’s time is not only important for you personally, but it can also have a powerful impact on your team. It can help reduce stress and anxiety.

So teaching time management to your team can result in your staff feeling healthier and happier. Which in turn makes them more effective and productive in their work.

It also allows them to have better work-life balance for themselves which leads to higher morale and satisfaction in the workplace.

It’s easy to say that you want to do a better job managing your time and priorities but making long-lasting meaningful change requires you to create new healthier habits. 

When you embark on this journey as a team you can support one another and hold one another accountable.

This increases your chance of success and ultimately can create a culture that is less stressed, healthier, more satisfying, and more impactful.

When is time management important?

Unstructured jobs where employees feel they have more autonomy and control over the time, will require proper time management. 

These employees will benefit from practicing time management techniques, because it is in these situations, where employees have more autonomy on how to perform their work tasks, that people might suffer from not managing their time effectively.

Time Management Techniques for Managers

Now that we explained the importance of time management, both for yourself and for your team, let’s see how we can develop and practice time management techniques.

Understand How you Currently Spend your Time

Before you change the way that you manage and prioritize your time you need to understand how you’re currently spending your time.

Start by paying close attention to how you’re spending each hour of your day. For example, 

  • how long do you actually spend answering emails each day;
  • how much time do you spend in meetings;
  • how long does it really take you to write a report;
  • How much time do you spend in random chats around the office, etc.

Pay attention to the details of your daily routine, and take notes. Then look for patterns in your routines, so that you can clearly understand how you’re spending your time each day. 

Distinguish Personal Time and Work Time

Identify those tasks that are part of your normal work routine such as answering emails, attending meetings, planning, and so on, and see how long it takes you to complete these tasks.

Be sure to distinguish the time you spend on work and the time you spend on personal things. In today’s remote working society, our work and home life often intermingles.

Pay attention to how each area blends with the other and how much time you spend on work matters, on home matters, and on personal matters.

This is also a great opportunity to decide if you’re satisfied with the way that you’re currently spending your time.

Answer questions like:

  1. Are you prioritizing the things that are most important to you?
  2. Would you like to spend more time on yourself or with your family?
  3. Would you like to spend less time in meetings and more time on strategy or new projects?

Having concrete information about where your time goes can help you rearrange your time to reflect the priorities that truly matter to you.

Create a Weekly Time Allocation Plan

Another great way to better manage your time is to create a standing

weekly planning and review meeting. 

During this time, review the things you want to accomplish in the upcoming week, the appointments and meetings that you have scheduled, and any prep work that you need to do in advance for those meetings.

Be sure to review what’s on your plate, both at work, and at home.

After you prioritize those tasks that are important for you, communicate these priorities to your colleagues, or partner. This is a good opportunity to discuss the things you hope to accomplish in the coming week, and ask for any support that you may need.

You can also use this time to reflect on the previous week. What went well? How did you spend your time? Did you prioritize the things that you wanted to do?

This reflection can give you feedback on how you managed your time, and as a consequence, impact how you will plan your time in the upcoming week or weeks. 

Be sure to schedule your planning meeting in advance and put it on your calendar. This will ensure that you actually take the time you need to review and plan each week.

Put your calendar to work

For your schedule, everything, and I mean everything, should be inserted into your calendar, and not only meetings and appointments.

You should schedule the actual time you need to accomplish things on your to-do list, the time you need to prepare for a meeting, block off the time you need  to write that report, or to plan the budget, or review results, schedule time in the day to answer emails, etc.

By putting everything on your calendar it becomes more clear to you how much time you actually need to accomplish the things on your to-do list, and compare this to the time you actually have available.

This will help you prioritize how you spend your time.

You may find that you don’t actually have enough time to accomplish everything on your list for that week. This just means that you need to go back and see if there are things on your to-do list that you can push to another time. 

Alternatively see if you can delegate some of the work and remove it from your to-do list altogether. 

Keep using your weekly planning meetings to schedule your upcoming week. With practice you’ll get better at learning how many tasks you can take on and how to arrange your calendar in the way that works best for you.

Whatch the following video for more tips and suggestions.

Purpose Outcomes and Process (POP)

Another way to better manage your time is to use the POP principle. 

POP stands for purpose outcomes and process and is a method developed by the Rockwood Leadership Institute.

This method encourages you to think about three main things;

  1. the purpose of what you’re doing 
  2. the outcome that you hope to achieve and 
  3. the process that you’ll use to get there.

The POP method can be used anytime you’re planning a purposeful activity.

It can be highly effective for your team meetings. In fact, when scheduling a team meeting it’s ideal to share the POP outline up-front with your colleagues so that everyone is clear on why you’re meeting, what you hope to accomplish during that meeting and the process you’ll use to get there.

The POP method can also be used for smaller things such as individual zoom meetings or calls.

When you’re clear up front about the purpose, outcome, and process of the projects or tasks you’re undertaking it makes your work more efficient and streamlined.

Review and Adjust the Time Plan

As you put all of these new strategies into action it’s important to review, adjust and repeat. 

Make sure that you evaluate how these time management tactics are working for you and tweak them to fit your individual and collective needs.

Remember that you and your team are forming new habits by implementing these strategies and techniques, so keep with it and give yourself time to make these habits stick. 

Also try and experiment with some of the various time management apps and tools that can help you stay on track and make the most efficient use of your time. These apps can be used to set priorities, create to-do lists, and schedule time for specific activities. 

Conclusion and Round-up

Time management is extremely important for you, as an individual and also as a team leader. It can result in less stress, a better work life balance, and healthier, more impactful teams.

To better manage and prioritize your time first understand how you’re actually spending your time then 

  • set weekly planning meetings
  • make your calendar work for you and 
  • POP everything

Be sure to review and repeat until you find the most effective ways to use these strategies and tools for your specific needs.

If you still find yourself struggling to manage your time effectively, there are a number of resources that can help you improve your time management skills, such as time management books.

Two of my favorite books on this topic are The One Thing and The 4-Hour Workweek.

Improving your time management skills will be a learning curve, and it takes effort, but it is worth it in the long run. Mastering time management can help you boost your productivity, reduce your stress levels, and improve your overall quality of life.

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