How To Manage Your Time Better as a Leader
There seems to be no shortage of responsibilities facing our leaders today. From looming deadlines, time management, recruiting skilled employees, to managing their team, leaders must make the tough decisions when it comes to protecting, growing and investing in their business. The list goes on. However, you can make it easier on yourself as a leader by making sure you manage your time efficiently, by “working smarter, not harder.”
We all have different traits and qualities (good and bad) that make us who we are as leaders. Some leaders may shine when it comes to time management skills and others not so much. Are you the type of leader who has a desk that is covered with paper, pens, scattered coffee cups and an overflowing bin? Or do you file your paperwork in a filing cabinet? Or do you keep electronic copies saved to a hard drive?
Now, are you failing to meet deadlines or feeling stressed out all the time? If your answer to that is yes, then your methods aren’t working and you need to brush up on your time management skills. Having good time management is vital to running any successful business and dealing with employees. If you can’t manage your time well, things will fall apart and your team will lose sight of their goals and direction. However, if your team members can see how well your time management skills are working for you, they will follow suit.
Good time management can also help to relieve stress and maintain a healthy work/life balance. If you learn how to prioritise, you will meet deadlines more quickly, your mood and mental health will improve and you will maintain a positive working environment with a productive and motivated team. No one wants to work in a highly stressful workspace, not even the leader.
The easiest way to learn how to improve yourself as a leader is to start small and learn how to manage your time first.
1. Organise your work space
Working amongst a clutter of paper, pens, old coffee cups and post-it notes, can make you feel frustrated, disorganised, stressed and less-productive. Don’t let your messy desk get in the way of meeting deadlines. Stop wasting an hour trying to find important papers and spend 10 minutes a day cleaning up your work space. Making sure you work in a neat environment means that you can find things easily and prevent yourself from accidentally drinking from that 2-week-old coffee cup.
2. Hold regular meetings
Holding regular meetings will help remind your team members (and yourself) of your goals, purpose, vision and direction. You don’t have to hold meetings every day. I recommend holding one meeting at the start or end of each week just to catch up with your team members, sort out any issues, talk about important projects and brainstorm ideas. Just make sure you set a time limit for the meeting, so you’re not sitting there talking for hours.
3. Stick to your deadlines
Are you tired of seeing your workload stack up and stressing out over deadlines? Then make sure you manage your time well. Before taking on a project, you need to ensure that you have enough time during your workday to complete the project, as well as your other projects. Think about how long it will take you to do it, commit and do it. Don’t spend too long on other projects or chatting with your colleagues.
4. Set clear goals
Your team members like to have a purpose or goal to work towards at work. So, make sure you are setting clear and concise goals for your employees to achieve. You can record these goals on post-it notes or make up a flyer to put on your desk. Or put it around your office or in the lunchroom to motivate employees.
5. Get a diary
Yes, I know you probably already have your appointments recorded in your online calendar or you have a really good memory. But there are many benefits to having a diary to record your appointments or goals in. Leaders already have so much to think about, so keeping important details in your diary will allow your brain to relax and destress, not to mention if technology fails you have a hard copy.
6. Plan for the week ahead.
Getting your priorities straight for the week ahead is essential when it comes to managing your time better as a leader. Make a list on Friday of what you need to do for the next week and then add to it on Monday when your mind is fresh and ready for the working week. Make sure you know which tasks on the list need your urgent attention and which you can hand in when you have ten minutes to spare.
7. Healthy habits
Developing healthy habits like organising your workspace, eating well and bringing in your own lunch will help you manage your time better and work more productively. Don’t forget about or skip your lunch just because of an important project. Remember to manage your time on a day-to-day basis, save some time to have lunch and work on your projects. This will help when it comes to your mental health, as well as time management. I love the book Atomic Habits by
8. Delegate and encourage teamwork
Great teamwork can be extremely beneficial when it comes to time management, especially if you have a big project that is due. Leaders can delegate work to certain team members to ensure that the project is done on time. By encouraging teamwork, you will allow team members to speak up if they need more help with doing their part of the project. There is no harm in asking for help.
How do you manage your time as a leader?
Here are some great book recommendations –
How to focus on what matters every day
Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
By Sonia McDonald – CEO of LeadershipHQ And McDonald Inc. Leadership Coach, Global Keynote Speaker, Entrepreneur, CEO And Award Winning Author.
Sonia McDonald is changing the face of leadership across the globe. She believes we should lead with kindness and courage, from the heart, and is known for her mantra ‘Just Lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her transformational coaching, leadership training programs and cultural transformation for organisations and encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped thousands of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.
Sonia is a founder and CEO of McDonald Inc., LeadershipHQ and Global Outstanding Leadership Awards and 2022 Courage Conference. For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of leadership and she is beyond committed to her mission around building a world of great leaders.
She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realise what it takes to be a truly great leader. She has been recognised by Richtopia as One of the Top 250 Influential Women across the Globe and Top 100 Australian Entrepreneurs.
Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is a leading coach, an award-winning published author of newly released First Comes Courage, Leadership Attitude and Just Rock It! and has become an in-demand keynote speaker on leadership, kindness and courage.
Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, kindness, empathy and courage as well as building outstanding leadership across the Globe.