Don't we all wish we could waste less time and get more of the important things done? Even the best of focused-minded professionals can find themselves sidetracked with time-killers like emails and responding to internal memos. This is why time management for leaders is so important!
Managing to stay on top of priorities is the number one feature of being productive. But isn't that really easier said than done? Here are 12 habits that, when maintained in the long term, can make you and the people around you more productive:
Time Management For Leaders: 12 Habits Of Productive People
- Free yourself from email. Take a cue from comedian, actor, and author Aziz Ansari who said his "email is dead" because "if you just focus on the work you're doing instead of focusing on [email] for like two minutes and then getting distracted to answer some question that isn't pressing at all, you do a worse job". Instead, Ansari found that he was able to focus much more efficiently on the important tasks of filming and editing his television show by redirecting important inquiries to his assistant who filled him in at the end of the day.
- OHIO, or "only handle it once". If you can't kill your email altogether, then go by the OHIO strategy and respond as soon as you see it and that's it.
- Set a system for success. Establish a system for responding to emails, phone calls, and other routine tasks. Maybe you have an assistant like Ansari who'll only update you on the important tasks, or maybe you schedule an hour block in your day, whatever you choose, do it on a set system and schedule to prevent yourself form being sidetracked in the middle of more important tasks.
- Selective perfectionism. You're at the top of your field because you're great at what you do and a part of that likely comes from a sort of perfectionism in your industry. While that's important is many avenues, when it comes to lengthy work reports and other mundane filing, keep it brief.
- Being productive > thinking about productivity. The most productive people aren't that way because they're writing down and checking off every extra task they get done. Rather, productivity should become a second nature.
- Be conscientious. Conscientious people are organized, disciplined, and achievement-oriented. For instance, if you're writing a proposal letter, get your first draft done, let it sit for a day, and then go back to refine and enhance the details. Conscientious people strive to produce great products but don't agonize over every little detail.
- It's all about the work done. You are not in a race. What takes some people a day might take others a couple hours. But focusing on how many hours was spent is too often a step in the wrong direction. The goal of a leader should be to inspire people who're passionate about their jobs. Neither the leader nor the employees can do that if productivity is only defined by time on the clock.
- Shared accountability. Enact self-imposed accountability by telling others about your goals to help you stay on task.
- Plan out all scenarios. Before you start, anticipate your distractions and have methods in place to keep them from occurring.
- Change anxiety into excitement. Performance anxiety is debilitating. But change that anxiety into excitement can reduce the nervous feelings and amp up your resolve.
- Pump yourself up. Self-mobilize yourself by asking yourself how you can do the next task.
- Order matters. Have a to-do list? Productive people know not all items are weighted the same. Start off with an easy task to give yourself a feeling of momentum and then move onto tougher tasks before swing back easy.
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