“All time management begins with planning.” ~Tom Greening
If there is a single complaint that I hear more often than any other from entrepreneurs, it is that they lack the time to do the work required to keep the business successful.
Time is the most critical resource each of us has, and we will never get another chance to live this moment, this hour or this day. As I have gotten older, I have come to realize that using time effectively is the key to success, both as a leader and as a human being.
There is no denying that running a business or managing a department is tough, but using effective time management techniques can free up so much of your time.
If you are concerned about how well you are managing your time, record a time log for three days. For every 15-minute increment, write down what you accomplished, whether or not the time was well spent, how it could have been more effectively utilized and how you felt during this time. A time log is an important place to start since it is impossible to change how you manage your time if you do not know where you have been. Throughout this process, try not to judge yourself. Instead, think of your time log as a basis for improvement.
As with most habits, changing how you manage your time takes practice, and setting goals is critical to this process. Too often, people say they want to improve their time management but try to do so without any goals to guide them. One such goal might be to have two hours of uninterrupted time each day to focus on tasks that are both important and urgent. Another goal might be to delegate specific tasks to a subordinate by a certain date. A third might be to work no more than 10 hours a day.
Where improving time management is concerned, it works best if you first understand where the problem areas are. Next, you will need to set some goals to improve those areas and make a plan with monthly benchmarks to guide you as you work toward achieving each goal. A goal without a plan just is not going to work.
Since adhering to plans by yourself is tough, work with a fellow colleague, family member or friend who can help you monitor your accomplishments on a monthly basis. This provides the system of checks and balances that most people really need to stay on track. Being held accountable is so important to achieving your time management goals.
Now go out, make a time log, and take a moment to evaluate where you are in terms of current skills and overall effectiveness. Set some goals and find someone who can hold you accountable to these goals. More effective time management will make you a better leader and a more complete person.
You can do this!