Time management is a common challenge that most executives face on a daily basis. Running a company is no simple task, and it can feel like you have a million thing to do as a matter of urgency. Because you only have 24 hours in a day – and we assume you’d like to use some of those hours for sleep, family time, relaxation, and eating – we are providing this quick “how to” guide for managing your time effectively during your work day.
The overwhelmed executive often feels he or she is the best person for any job in the company. This sentiment may or may not be true – but it’s never accurate. If one person were to do every job in your company, the company would forever stay small, and you will never be able to get away from work.
Instead of looking at things from the perspective of “Who in my company has the most extensive skillset/experience to accomplish our business goals,” ask instead “what are the functions only I can perform as an executive.” These two questions will often provide very different answers. The second question will show you all of the functions you do which are essential to your job – and which should be delegated.
Delegation can be hard to do at first. Usually, there are reasons why a busy executive performs specific functions, whether those functions are his or her job or not. You may simply enjoy particular tasks, or it could be that your predecessor “always did that.” However, when you give away tasks and free up your schedule, we are confident that you will find that the benefits of delegation will far outweigh any negative aspects.
Create a schedule and stick to it
Scheduling and pre-planning works differently for different people. Some people want to plan out every hour of their day while others leave some time for flexibility in case a meeting cancels or a fire must be put out. When scheduling out your day, it’s important to examine three things:
- What must get done today – and why is this a priority?
- What do you need extra time for (travel time, prep time between appointments, lunches, etc.)?
- What personal care do you need to make your day run smoothly?
Many executives forget about points 2 and 3, and only concentrate on point 1 when they are creating their calendars. Because of this they may miss a child’s soccer game, have to reschedule meetings, and feel rushed all day long. Scheduling in your breaks, your meeting prep, and your personal life can go far into helping you build and maintain a balanced life.
We all know that the “micro” in “micromanagement” means very small or nitpicky. That’s why we suggest you “macromanage.” The term “macro” means to look at things on a large scale.
Getting into the mindset of macro-management can be difficult. For example, if Denise from accounting didn’t create an invoice correctly, it can be hard to look at the bigger picture or let her direct superior handle the situation. But, if you want your company to run smoothly, you need to let her boss sort out the mistake. However, when it comes to company-wide improvements, like the establishment of a quality control department or the approval of your employee accountability policies, it’s your time to shine.
By cutting out micromanagement and looking at your company as a whole, you will be able to save time while allowing your employees to do their jobs.
Hire people who are smarter than you
There are a lot of ways to add to your personal skillset. These include learning from experts, consulting with professors, getting coaching, and staying up-to-date on the latest technology. Growing a company’s skillset can be looked at in a similar way. Your business’s worth and value can be increased by hiring experts and employing those who are already up-to-date with the latest technology.
When you view your company as a cohesive whole, it only makes sense that the way your business will learn new skills is by adding people with those skills to your growing team. You could take the time to learn each skillset needed in your company, or you could create a brilliant corporation by bringing more and more smart people onto your staff.
Handle what’s in front of you
One of the biggest time sucks is multitasking. This sounds counterintuitive because many multitaskers feel like they are getting several things done all at once. However, this isn’t the case. What a multitasker is doing is splitting his or her attention between multiple projects, which slows everything down.
Try doing one thing to completion, then take up the next task. You may be surprised by how rapidly you can get through a pile of “to dos” using this simple technique.
One the hardest things about being at the top of the corporate food chain is that you don’t have anyone to help you stay accountable. You may make decisions about your management style, your time management strategies and more, but it can be easy to slip back into old habits. That’s why you need an executive coach or consultant to help you establish and implement improvements.
Do you need executive coaching and accountability partnership? Contact us today!