Tips for Taking Time When There’s Not Enough

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Leaders are most effective when they have the ability to step away and reflect, to gain insight from peers and to take precious time to translate the big picture into practical realities. but, how can you take the time necessary when there just doesn’t seem to be enough?

We’ve all heard and read numerous sources on time management and prioritization. Here’s our take on what seems to work best:

  • Know your own rhythms – identify the best times for specific activities and then,
  • Schedule time.
    • Block out time on your calendar for reflection and planning. For some folks it is at the beginning of the day, for others at the end … for some it is once a week – identify a time and routine for reflection and stick to it. Code it on your calendar so that others who may have access to your calendar do not see it as “free time.”
    • Block out time for heavy lifting. What is the project you need to focus on – uninterrupted? Get it on the calendar, and code it as uninterruptible. Can you close your door? Work remotely?
    • Identify a time when your energy is low to do less intense work. Check emails, organize, sort, file, etc. Put it on the calendar, too. Are you able to be interrupted at work with others, or is this what you need to do when everyone else has gone home?
  •  Avoid the illusion of multi-tasking. Be present in the moment to get quality work done and build quality relationships. You will reduce stress, save time and be more productive and accurate.
  • Let go and delegate!!
    • Develop your people by allowing them to do the work they are capable of.
    • Recognize that we sometimes jump in because it is more fun than what we are supposed to be doing — we miss those things that gratified our sense of accomplishment. Nobody can do it as well as we can… especially if we don’t teach, train and trust them. It is just easier than explaining and saves time – maybe in the short-term but not in the long term, and of course, what does it do for your people’s sense of value?
  •  And when you find yourself lost in the weeds, remind yourself why you are getting paid the big bucks!!! To think, reflect, plan, guide, envision… Invite someone along on your reflecting journey – a coach, mentor or thinking partner.

For more information about joining a community of like-minded leaders on a prioritizing journey, visit our webpage about our next event, October 19-21,  the Leadership Intensive, Architects of the Future.