One of the most difficult parts of leading effectively is figuring out how to organize your time. You speak, mentor, and run meetings all day while your desk piles up with paperwork and projects that require quiet thinking time.
Both types of work are infinite, however, as a leader your most important task is communication – so if the tangible tasks on your to do list are pulling you away from essential conversations, chances are your team is floundering.
Time management is the first thing we work on with almost every leadership coaching client, because if you can get how you allocate your time under control, then you can actually think strategically, move forward, and grow yourself. Otherwise you are constantly distracted with urgent things pulling at you from all directions, and you never pull out of the frenzy.
To learn more about coaching, send an e-mail requesting a consultation (20-30 minutes by phone). And feel free to sample some of time tools we use with our clients:
Time Analysis Tool – This is a basic tool that can provide interesting insights into how you are currently spending your time compared to how you want to be spending your time.
Time-Blocking Tips – One of my favorite time management techniques is time-blocking. This is great for people who live by their calendar.
Using Routines to Increase Productivity – If you have some tasks that are fairly repetitive but not particularly interesting (think expense reports, e-mail) this is a great way to make them so automatic you barely notice you are doing them.
Seven Steps to Finding Control in a Chaotic Environment – Really helpful in coping with work environments that are chaotic, crazy, and interrupt driven. Provides a great way to stop and pull yourself together when you are feeling completely overwhelmed.
Tips on Building Habits – If you find yourself procrastinating this short article helps with habit building.
Get Control Now – If you are having an overwhelming day, and don’t even have time to think about what to do about it – this is a quick five step process that you can do in just a few quick minutes, right now, to get on top of everything.
Five Surprising but Effective Time-Management Techniques – if you are ready to turn your relationship with time upside down, here are some unique ideas.
Time management tools can be useful, but they often don’t address deeper internal conflicts that are at the source of the problem.
If you are dealing with:
- A work environment (or boss) that doesn’t respect your time
- A constant feeling of anxiety or overwhelm
- Weeks of working 14 hour days with no end in sight
- Habitually missing deadlines, realizing you are the bottleneck as people wait for your approval
- Canceling non-urgent meetings (to mentor or train your team) in order to catch up
then what you might be facing is more of a values conflict issue. For example, if it’s hard to say no, you may be taking on things you don’t want to do. If it’s important to be available, you probably get interrupted a lot. If you enjoy your creative work, you may be holding on to things others would delegate. If you shy away from conflict, you may have issues that could have been prevented had you intervened earlier. None of these inner conflicts have anything to do with time per say – it just turns out that not resolving them impacts your time.
When we coach our clients through values conflicts they are often surprised that they really can have the best of both worlds. For example, if you want to hold on to your more fulfilling quiet and creative work, that doesn’t mean you can’t lead – we just work it into your system.
If you’d like to discuss the challenges you are having with time, send an e-mail requesting a consultation (20-30 minutes by phone). I’d be happy to listen to your situation and share the approach I would most likely take, including what you can expect, and how it has worked for others.
Meanwhile here are some of my favorite books that help with time management (you can click on the image to get more details from Amazon)