From running a team of employees to seeking new opportunities for the business, leaders must manage multiple projects at once.
Top leaders need to have great time management skills, to ensure they make the most of their time and achieve their goals. There is no shortage of tools designed to help improve time management. But many of these tools assume a person’s basic skill set. Purchasing high-end kitchen equipment doesn’t improve one’s cooking skills. Likewise, using a scheduling app doesn’t mean positive time management outcomes. Luckily for those wanting to improve their time management efforts, there is hope. To ensure you get the most from time management tools, there are three important skills you should build on.
Awareness is simply approaching time management realistically, by understanding that time is a limited resource. We can achieve awareness through objective assessments like a microsimulation or feedback from others. Awareness of your inclinations related to time management, such as multitasking, can also deepen your understanding of where you struggle, but it can also help you see where you excel. For example, awareness can help you know where your peak performance times and energy lulls are throughout the day. Awareness is also about stopping other people’s priorities from becoming yours, and making the right choices when other people bring you problems, issues or tasks they want help with. That may mean learning how to say a positive ‘no’, and how to deliver it in a way that is honest and respectful.
Arrangement skills are about prioritising activities and obligations. For example, knowing what tasks you find easy or hard, combined with your awareness of when your concentration is at it’s peak, will inform the arrangement of your time. Knowledge around urgent vs important tasks is also essential when arranging a demanding workload. Urgent tasks require immediate action, but important tasks have more serious and long-term consequences. And then there are important tasks that are urgent too! To master the skill of arrangement, you need a solid understanding of goal setting, prioritisation, managing interruptions, procrastination and scheduling.
Adaption is about adjusting your time to accommodate interruptions or changing priorities. This skill is tested and developed in high pressure situations, including times of crisis. Adaption is about creating contingency plans and thinking about the best case and worst-case scenarios when planning your time. It is also about identifying time stealers and time wasters, and implementing strategies to reduce or stop their impact. This may mean managing your work environment, which can contribute to time wastage. Adapation is key to handling crisis situations without getting upset, anxious or distracted.
All three skills are as important as each other to overall time management performance. As such, only improving one skill means two-thirds of the skills needed to manage time efficiently risk under-development. Conversely, if you focus on all three, you’ll find that your time management will improve greatly.
Leadership Directions’ mission is to help emerging and frontline managers achieve positive, long-term behavioural change for themselves and their teams. We achieve this through practical high-quality leadership programs, self-directed action planning and embedded learning support.
Do you feel like your time is being pulled in different directions, and you are constantly handling interruptions? The good news is there are strategies you can put in place to adapt your existing time management skills to suit your role as a busy manager. Learn to take back control of your time and lead your team by example, by identifying what is stealing your time and how to focus on your priorities and on what really matter. Discover our 1 day Time Management for Managers Course.
Looking for professional development time management course aimed at individuals? Our sister company Odyssey Training runs live online courses aimed at individuals. Discover Time Management today.