If you were asked what made your job harder, would you answer that there’s never enough time?
This is a common theme we hear. Leaders within organizations are constantly faced with the challenge of managing their time. Pulled between the responsibility of producing and helping support those they lead; leaders often look up at their clocks and realize the day is almost over, and they haven’t checked one thing off their to-do list.
This is not just frustrating, it burns people out.
So what is there to do?
First, make your to-do list manageable. In the Fierce Delegation Model, we make it simple by creating a Five Things To Do check-list. Write down five things that you need to do, not everything on your plate, just five. Aim to have them completed by noon and if they’re not, don’t go home until there all checked off. Write down your next five things before you leave for the night, so you’re focused when you come in.
Second step is to make time to complete your list! I mean physically block time out on your calendar. If your goal is to have your items finished by noon, don’t accept appointments from 10-12. Learn to say no. Give yourself permission to own your time and use it effectively. This will make you a stronger leader because when you’re in meetings with others you won’t be thinking about everything else you need to get done! Effective time management helps you practice the Fierce tip of the week: be here, prepared to be nowhere else.
Thirdly, recruit help from others. You are not the only leader whose time is being eaten up by putting out fires, or overloading yourself with too many things on your checklist. Like trying anything new, having a buddy helps keep you on track. You help hold each other able.
Lastly, spread the wealth. If you have too much on your plate - delegate. Delegate to develop those around you, not just to get the things you don’t want to do off your plate. This will ensure delegating and dispersing responsibilities will be eagerly welcomed by your team.
Time is precious, and there will always be more to do. Being an effective leader requires you to take charge of your calendar and use every moment the best way possible. Your sanity and your team will thank you for it.
Is time management an issue for you as a leader?