Five Must-Know Time-Management Tips
As your day starts to unwind—or screeches to a halt—it can be tempting to wrap up your work, grab your bag and keys, and head for home without a thought about tomorrow. But decades of experience in coaching effective leaders has taught us that there’s incredible value in planning for each day. Good planning habits supports time-management and organizational skills. And it’s something disciplined leaders learn to do, practicing this habit like clockwork. Whether late in the afternoon or at some point in the evening, they create focus around what’s on the next day’s agenda and complete a few simple but powerful activities that boost their odds of calling it a success. Target to spend no more than 15 minutes on this:
Click here to download our free time-management checklist.
1. Review the calendar. Nothing can throw your day out whack like an unexpected calendar event, particularly when the only reason it’s unexpected is because you failed to look at your calendar. Avoid this blunder by always reviewing your calendar(s)—you may have more than one calendar, and some may not be syncing with each other, setting you up for missed meetings, scheduling conflicts and more.
2. Better tomorrow’s time-management. This may mean emailing someone to reschedule a meeting because you know those attending aren’t prepared and it’s likely to be unproductive—a time waster. Or, it this could mean scheduling in some badly needed planning time for yourself so to be more effective with any number of your responsibilities. MAP offers a free time-management checklist. Download this checklist and use it to improve productivity, achieving more time-management goals not just daily but weekly, monthly, annually and more.
3. Establish three daily goals. You can do this! At the close of each day, select three, broad goals to work toward tomorrow. For example, it could be “work on performance feedback reviews,” “address software issues” and “plan next week’s offsite meeting.” The daily goals will change, but build discipline around this activity to give you focus and direction. Consider yourself successful if you succeed at even just one of these goals.
4. Create the day’s activity “hit list.” The day is like packed with to-do, big and small. Quickly jot down or type up whatever those are, getting this list out of your head and onto paper or stored somewhere visible for the next day. Writing them down gets them out of your head, where they’re just rolling around, likely causing some worry or stress. Once you’ve got them down, try to shrink that list by about 25 percent and then prioritize them. Circle what really needs to be done—target circling just 20 percent of whatever is vital or critical to your goals. If you get more than that done tomorrow, great!
5. Spot opportunities to delegate. Who can help? You’ve got this long list of to-dos, some of which you know only you can get done the right or best way. But much of what’s on that list can likely be delegated to others, so do it! Effective leaders know the value of delegation and make it a habit, not simply so they can accomplish more but so to empower staff and develop their direct reports.
We want to know: What other time-management tips have worked for you?