Business leaders have a wide array of responsibilities. Getting it all done while maintaining a focus on the main objective as a business owner or leader – to increase revenue and move the company forward – requires leaders to be vigilant in protecting where their time goes. In addition, leaders also must be able to accomplish their goals while avoiding burnout.
List making is still one of the most helpful time management tools available. Take time either at the beginning of the day, or the end of your day to make a list of priorities to accomplish next. Make sure it is manageable based upon the obligations already on the calendar and contains three to five of the most important tasks that need attention.
While it can be an efficient mode of communication for the sender, email can be one of the biggest drains of time in any leader’s day. To combat this problem, schedule two-three times each day to read and answer email messages. For business cultures that expect an immediate response, use an auto-reply that provides a time frame that the sender can expect an answer.
Other helpful tips to manage email boxes include:
- Create an organization system using labels, folders, and symbols so emails are easy to find
- Delete email messages that aren’t needed
- Unsubscribe from email subscriptions that aren’t read
Meetings are another area that can waste time. However, there are ways to make them more efficient, including requiring an agenda that includes the purpose of the meeting so attendees have some clarity about why the meeting is needed. Some examples might be:
- Gain agreement
- Determine what needs to be done and who will do it
- Brainstorm the next big idea
If at all possible schedule meetings back-to-back during a predetermined time of day. The rest of the day will then be available to complete other tasks and project work. It’s also a good idea to schedule meetings for shorter periods of time. This helps to keep attendees on track and focused. Given the time, people will find a way to fill it, even if it’s with a less important conversation.