Time management is one of the most critical skills you can learn in business. Those who master it command more respect, get better results and deliver more to their organizations than those that do not.
While many people think that time management is all about prioritizing tasks or setting goals, mastering a few key elements and taking consistent action over time.
Monitor how you use your time; it’s essential to track how long it takes to accomplish tasks and the amount of energy expended doing them.
If some things take more effort than they should, you’ll want to consider dropping those activities in favor of others that do not require as much physical and mental energy.
Here are five proven time management tips for business leaders that can help you get more done faster.
5 Practical Time Management Tips for Business Leaders
- Stop Wasting Time with Technology Distractions
- Prioritize to Get the Most Important Tasks Done
- Break Down Big Tasks into Smaller Parts
- Keep a Clear Sense of Your Main Goal
- Take Action
1. Stop Wasting Time with Technology Distractions
Many people approach their responsibilities like a game of whack-a-mole — in other words, they address each new thing that pops up in their inbox.
Instead, focus on how you manage your attention throughout the day; you’ll be more effective if you identify distractions and then set rules to avoid them (i.e.., no social media or email during meetings).
We waste time looking for things we don’t want, which means we’re wasting time on the clock just as much as when we’re not at work. – Tim Ferriss (personal productivity guru and best selling author)
2. Prioritize to Get the Most Important Tasks Done
When faced with a long list of projects, tasks, and responsibilities, you might be tempted to check everything off your list, but this is likely to result in mediocre performance on all fronts.
So instead, rate each task by its value (how it will impact the business) or its urgency (when it needs to get done).
Then focus exclusively on the essential items on your list for at least 90 minutes, using regular time intervals like 30-minute blocks or hourly sessions if possible.
You should start with your top two or three priorities, and make sure you get them done. – Ric Edelman (financial author and advisor)
3. Break Down Big Tasks into Smaller Parts
One of the biggest mistakes people make while pursuing a goal is trying to do too much at once.
Instead of thinking big picture, focus on what needs to be accomplished today or this week. Then break those tasks down into manageable components and schedule time for each task.
As you make progress, you’ll feel motivated to continue until you’ve completed the task — and learn from your mistakes as well as your successes along the way.
Break down large tasks into small manageable daily targets. – Brian Tracy (professional development author and trainer)
4. Keep a Clear Sense of Your Main Goal
Your number one priority should always be the most important thing that gets done in a day or week; everything else falls into place after that.
If you don’t prioritize, then everything on your list will be urgent and essential — and you’ll likely waste time disciplining yourself to complete tasks on schedule.
Once you determine your top priority, write it down at the beginning of each new day so that it becomes a fixture in your mind.
The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. – Stephen Covey (business author and motivational speaker)
5. Take Action
Time management is useless unless you use the information to take action towards improving productivity.
So if you’ve done all of these things but find that your time is still slipping through the cracks, then it’s time to take action.
Your priorities determine your actions. – Tony Robbins (motivational speaker)
Begin by asking yourself questions like “Have I scheduled my priorities?” or “Do I have a clear sense of direction?”
If so, then begin taking small steps each day to reduce distractions and complete high-priority tasks. The more often you practice good time management habits, the easier they will become.
Everyone wants to be more productive, which is why we put together our top five secrets to time management.
However, it’s essential to realize that what works for one person might not work for another.
That’s why the most effective plan is always the one you make yourself — so don’t hesitate to customize these tips (or anything else you read on the web) as needed.
Also, remember that everyone slips up now and then; it’s how you recover from those mistakes that matter.
For example, if your priority list gets too long and daunting, break down big goals into daily targets and start with your top priorities first thing every morning.
If you fall behind schedule or feel like you’re wasting time, then take action by using what you’ve learned to improve your performance.
I hope this article has helped you find a new sense of direction. Now make it happen!
What are your top tips for time management? Let us know in the comments below!