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Ask just about any leader or manager what their biggest challenges are and you are almost guaranteed that a lack of time will be on their list. We all at the end of the day have the same allocation of time yet some seem to get vastly different results from others. So how can you boost productivity and results?
In his excellent book, How To Save An Hour Every Day, Michael Heppell suggests that you start with a big enough ‘Why?’. By that he means being clear about why saving time matters to you. The chances are that you are missing out on, or not getting enough of, something that really matters to you. What is it and why does it matter anyway?
A time tracker is another great tool for getting insights into where your time is going. I remember having to account for every 15 minutes of the day when I worked in one of the Big 4 accountancy firms. Sometimes it felt like a chore but it sure helped with focus.
Another great strategy is to organise things so that you can easily put your hands on them when you need them. If you are one of the many professional people who like to hold on to things just in case they are needed, you might want to invest in a couple of sacks and get rid of stuff.
Cut down the delaying and procrastinating and start taking decisions and actions to get things done. The reality is things will never be easier when you put them off, they will just be later.
Distinguish between the ‘must do’ and ‘to do’ list. ‘Must do’ activities are those areas that are critical to achieving your results. What are those for your role? If you don’t know, make it a priority to find out.
Delegate more rather than holding on to stuff out of habit or because you wrongly believe that you are the only one who could do it so well.
Hold meetings only when you really need to. They can easily swallow up a bunch of time. When you hold a meeting, make sure there is a defined outcome and time limit.
The Bottom Line: Mastering time management is an important area in being a successful leader or manager and will require review from time to time. At the same time, it is often small changes that can yield big results.
Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements Ltd helps professional people become great leaders. Sign up for his free 6 part audio e-course.
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 7,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.