He who decides how you spend your time, leads you. Learning time management is essential for leaders. How you spend your time is essential how you spend your life.
Are you investing it, or are you spending it? Are you leading it, or are you being led by others? Your leadership hangs on this question.
Let’s put it this way: Either someone is part of your schedule or you’re a part of someone’s schedule. A leader prioritizes and makes his schedule work for him – a follower has little choice but to work around the schedule of a leader.
5 Simple Steps
Time management shouldn’t be hard. If it were such a complex process, we can only talk about it, discuss it, theorize about it, but no one’s really going to use it.
Time management needs to be straightforward and simple. Let’s look at 5 simple, but important steps to managing time effectively.
#1: Once You Start, Don’t Stop.
Once you start on a task, don’t stop until you are done. If the task is too big to be completed in one sitting, break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks.
We have a tendency to drift away from our work by browsing emails or checking social media. Such time is wasted.
Besides that, we also waste additional time trying to get warmed up and focused on the task again. All these translates to significant chunks of daily time.
All these can be saved if we stuck to a task till completion. When you start, finish it.
#2: Make A List.
Make a list in the morning as part of a daily ritual. This list keeps you focused, so you won’t spend time wondering what you should do next.
Keep the list short – to about 6 items. Too many will make you feel overwhelmed. At 6 items, you will find tremendous motivation to cross off these items and get them completed.
#3: Allocate Time To Task
On average, each person has about 5 productive hours in them daily. So ensure that the work adds up to approximately 5 hours. If you can do more, go ahead.
However, a warning not to expect 8-9 productive hours of work. The likelihood is that you’ll sprint for one day and collapse the next. It’s always better to work in a more sustainable fashion.
#4: Set The Day’s Schedule.
Use a spreadsheet and start allocating slots to your to-do lists. Leave 30 minutes between your major activities as you’ll definitely need a break between those.
Schedule some relaxation time so that you can take a breather too.
Remember, be realistic and start small. Don’t try to be the perfect planner from the start. It’s always better to leave some gaps for flexibility and overdeliver.
Put the toughest activities on the time you are most productive, whether morning or night. Find the time where you have the greatest focus.
Leave the lazy afternoons for simpler tasks like clearing your email inbox or other simple administrative tasks.
This takes some experimentation. You won’t get everything right from the start, but the most importantly is to start trying.
Getting The Focus Right From The Start.
Why waste time planning all these? – It seems like precious time you can use to work and get other things done. Is it really necessary to plan?
The answer is a simple yes. Starting your day right is powerful. You get a level of focus in your tasks and you cause others to work around your schedule. (rather than vice versa)
To lead an organization, you must first lead yourself. To lead yourself, you must lead your time. Use this simple framework to take control of your life.
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About the Author
Ethan Lin is the founder of www.leadershipgeeks.com and www.personality-central.com.sg. He has a passion to empower and develop people. Professionally, he is a corporate trainer focusing on sales training, leadership development and team building with his company Personality Central.
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