Provocative thoughts on time management- 6 Tips

Provocative thoughts on time management- 6 Tips

March 13, 2016

Written by: Jennifer Jimbere | Productivity & Profitability Coach for Business Leaders

Does time management matter?
We hear so much about time management being one of the critical elements of success. Especially true for people who perceive that they need to run a tight ship.
In my experience, I haven’t actually seen a lot of people, or leaders, actually execute well on time management.
Do you coordinate your calendar and stick to it?
A recent Harvard Business School study found that the “average CEO spends one in three hours on activities that were not planned in advance.” That’s 13 hours per week in unplanned activities, over a complete day of work.
Does this have to do with their time management skills or a lack of correct planning for those unanticipated times?
Here are a few suggestions to support your efforts to increase your time management skills:
1. Build capacity into your calendar for those anticipated times. Good leaders respond and are not rigid. If the above article is correct, then we would need to build in 2.6 hours in a day to ensure we can be flexible when the surprises pop up.
2. “Work is elastic in it’s time.” Stated in Parkinson’s Law, published in The Economist in 1955. Which means if you block an hour to write a report, it will take you an hour to write it. Economy of time is critical to success. If you typically block 60 minutes for your team meetings or 1:1 meetings, the entire time will be used with most teams and individuals. Does that mean that the same could not be accomplished in 30 minutes?  Not likely.
3. Build the skills for focus, the most effective leaders are the ones who are most attentive and focused while at work.  Are you looking to build your listening, discovery questioning and relating skills?  Check out The Coaching Clinic to support your efforts.
4. Do you have re-boot and re-charge stations in your workplace? Working for 45 minutes straight and then taking a 10 minute break can increase the focus and quality of the work produced. If you were able to create these stations, what would they look like in your environment?
5. Have you thought about implementing policies to promote single-tasking and full engagement? For example a “no device” policy during meetings, or a no emails between 10pm and 7 am policy.
6. Let go of less important activities. To build capability and manage time effectively, individuals need to be focused on the highest impact activities for their roles. Look at your teams calendars and see what tasks are not moving them forward towards the achievement of strategic goals.  One of my coaching clients and I looked at her calendar this way for 1 month together and found an extra 8 hours back in her week.

Greater focus + Time Management = Greater happiness

If you are looking for ways to banish multi-tasking, take a look at two previous posts on the topic. Provocative thoughts- 6 Ways to Banish Multi-Tasking and Provocative Thoughts 2- Relax and STOP task switching.  There is more and more evidence coming out that suggests we are not effective when we multi-task.

How would you like to maximize your personal and business performance and increase your optimism?Jennifer Jimbere is the President of Jimbere Coaching and Consulting.
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Image credit and artist: LA artist and old friend Jennifer Verge

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