As a business executive, you understand that time is a precious commodity. Managing it effectively can be one of the most crucial elements of achieving success, and juggling the many demands on your time can leave you scattered and unfocused. However, by streamlining your day-to-day process, you will increase your productivity, lessen your stress level, and improve your bottom line.
Here are 10 time management tips that today’s business executives can implement right now:
Despite what you might think, you cannot - and should not - do everything. The “to do it right you must do it yourself” mentality is not efficient and not productive. Even the most talented executives can get burnt out and make mistakes. Doing too much may end up causing more problems than it solves while also wasting your time. If you are concerned that only you can perform certain tasks, then delegate simpler tasks to others so you can focus your energy on the larger things.
2. Hire the right people
It will be easier to delegate tasks if you trust those to whom you are delegating. Hiring the right people is crucial to ensuring that you can sleep at night knowing things are being done properly. You have high standards for yourself, so you should also have high standards for who you hire.
3. Cut down on time-wasting activities where possible
There are many ways in which business executives can use resources to cut down on wasted time. For example, you can significantly cut down your business travel time by using a private chartered plane for your intra- and interstate travel. You can also maximise your productivity by doing work on your flight. Take advantage of the “quiet” time where you won’t be inundated with phone calls or assistants. The extra cost can pay big dividends down the road.
4. Plan ahead
Plan as far in advance as possible. Some executives swear by planning a year in advance. If that isn’t realistic for you, try planning even just a month in advance. Knowing your goals ahead of time will allow you to map out a road to reach them. You can then more effectively plan out your days, as you will have a timeframe for when certain tasks need to be finished.
This may sound counterproductive, but it’s important to find some time to shut down. Recharging your batteries is imperative to your success. Just as a car cannot run on fumes, neither can you. Finding time to unwind and replenish your tank will make you that much more efficient during your working hours. If you find you have trouble sleeping because you are thinking about work, then try some relaxation techniques before settling down to rest.
Do what is most important first. The beginning of the day is often when we are at our most focused and engaged. Try to take care of what is most important during those morning hours, and you will not be worried or thinking about it for the rest of the day. A good executive knows what is most important, and ensures that it is taken care of well. As we mentioned, you can always delegate lower priority tasks.
7. Do an audit of how you spend your time
Keep a record of how you spend your time. Having this data will allow you to look back on how you manage your time, and let you know if there are any inefficiencies or room for improvement. You may surprise yourself with how much time you spend doing things that are of little to no consequence.
8. Carry a Dictaphone, or have a recording app
You can use your smartphone or a Dictaphone, but always have something on hand to record your thoughts and ideas. Set aside some time every week to go through those recordings and file them. Many great ideas get lost simply because they were never recorded.
9. Use technology to your advantage
There’s no reason not to remain connected in this day and age, other than when you’re having a time out. If you need to meet with someone, whether on the other side of the city or the other side of the world, then Skype with them from your office. If you have a deadline but also have to be in another city for a wedding, you can work on your laptop while you travel. Technology can help us do more with our lives in less the time.
Whether it be in your business or your personal life, outsource the things that can be done by somebody else. In your personal life that might mean using a meal service or hiring someone to do errands for you. At work, it might mean contracting out social-media specialists to populate your webpage or run your social media accounts. Your time is much better spent doing what you do best, and having the experts work on the rest. There may be an additional cost, but the return in time and money will be well worth it.
Those who can learn to master effective time management will reap significant benefits. Even implementing a few of the above tips will go a long way to helping you manage a busy and demanding work and life schedule.