Time Management Tips For Managers and Leaders
Leaders and managers have a mountain of tasks and responsibilities each day but very little time to work on all of them. Some drown in the pile of to-do lists, while others succeed by employing time management practices.
Time management is crucial for improving your productivity and finishing everything on time. Not using time management practices can quickly lead to burnout and result in a pile of unfinished work. That’s why many leaders quickly learn to manage their time and workload to remain successful in their careers.
If you struggle to juggle all your responsibilities or feel like you never have enough time for everything, then read on for some tips to better manage your workload and time. If you enjoy this list, head over to BetterHelp for more advice on managing your time and workload.
Focus on Top Priorities
When you have an enormous to-do list, it can be difficult to prioritize your tasks. As a result, many leaders make the mistake of wasting too much time on tasks that aren’t very important. Time management isn’t just about making more time for your to-do list; it’s focusing on the highest priorities.
Before you begin each day, go through your list and pick the highest priorities tasks. Anything due by the end of the day will end up on that list as well as meetings and other appointments. Other items that can wait a few days or don’t have much importance can be put off until later or delegated to someone else.
If you struggle to identify which tasks are your top priority, we recommend using the Time Management Matrix designed by Stephen Covey. This matrix helps you group all your items into four categories: Urgent and Important, Urgent and Not Important, Not Urgent and Important, and Not Urgent and Not Important. By organizing your tasks this way, you can spend your limited time working on the most critical tasks today and wait till tomorrow for everything else.
Limit Small Decision Making
Though you may not realize it, making decisions on small, unimportant matters can waste a lot of time and energy. Decisions such as what to eat or what to wear may seem trivial, but they contribute to something called ‘‘decision fatigue.’’
Decision fatigue occurs toward the end of the day when our brains are too tired from making decisions to keep working. This fatigue can come on whether you had a busy day making critical decisions or a dull day making trivial decisions. This phenomenon has led many leaders to wear the same outfit every day or eat the same meal every day. Though it may seem extreme, it allows them more time and energy to focus on higher priorities.
Group Similar Tasks
Multitasking by working on similar tasks at once can be a great way to save some time. A classic example of this is spending a scheduled hour each day to respond to emails rather than replying to them throughout the day. Doing this minimizes distractions and helps you knock off a couple of important conversations in a small amount of time.
However, be careful not to multitask too much though. Trying to accomplish multiple tasks at once can lead to burnout or a couple of half-completed tasks instead of a few completed ones. So, if you try this, remember to stick to smaller, similar tasks for the best results.
Delegate Where You Can
As a leader, you probably want to have your hand in a bit of everything. This is even more true if you were promoted to your position. You probably enjoyed certain tasks of your former job (or were the best at it), so you find yourself helping out with it in addition to all your new responsibilities.
However, leaders usually have too much on their plate other employees aren’t responsible for. This is why proper delegation is such an excellent skill to develop as a leader. It leaves you time for other priorities but also keeps your team busy. As a leader, your role and tasks may differ from when you were just a team member. Now you have other responsibilities, so you need to delegate the other work to your team.
Track Your Time
The best way to remain productive and manage your time is by tracking it. Many leaders have found success with timing themselves as they work on their projects.
One of the most popular time tracking techniques is the Pomodoro Technique. You spend 25 minutes working on a task and then switch to a 5-minute break. You do this three times before taking a half-hour break. This technique forces you to focus on the task at hand for 25 minutes, which is just long enough to make some good progress without completely ignoring your other priorities.
For example, you can spend 25 minutes working on a report and ignore everything else that happens in that time, including text messages and emails. Then, you can use your five minutes to respond to any important messages you received during this time.
Many apps support the Pomodoro Technique to help you keep track of your time. Furthermore, you can adjust the time if you wish. For example, if 25 minutes is too short for you, you can adjust the schedule to 50 minutes and alternate with a 10-minute break.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.
This article has been published in accordance with Socialnomics’ disclosure policy.