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How Great Leaders Manage Their Time

Time Management For Leaders

Managing time gets challenging as our career progresses and we take up more responsibilities. Five ways we can manage our time like a successful leader:

  • Plan realistic reactive time.
  • Don't respond habitually.
  • Avoid the 25-minute meeting rule.
  • Carve out your best 'brain time'.
  • Answer a 'Yes' with true Intent.

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How Great Leaders Manage Their Time

How Great Leaders Manage Their Time

https://www.forbes.com/sites/rebeccanewton/2016/07/13/how-great-leaders-manage-their-time/

forbes.com

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Key Ideas

Time Management For Leaders

Managing time gets challenging as our career progresses and we take up more responsibilities. Five ways we can manage our time like a successful leader:

  • Plan realistic reactive time.
  • Don't respond habitually.
  • Avoid the 25-minute meeting rule.
  • Carve out your best 'brain time'.
  • Answer a 'Yes' with true Intent.

Plan The Unexpected Important Stuff

About 40% to 60% of our day is taken up by important stuff that needs our attention but is not on our daily calendar. 

Planning our day accordingly, keeping about half of it free for these 'out-of-calendar' activities, is realistic and sustainable.

Ask For Time

Instead of committing to getting the requested assignment done as soon as possible, factor in some buffer time and ask for a couple of days or a week. 

This will help you get the work done along with any 'reactive realities' that come up, and it's a win-win if you get it done before the deadline.

Dynamic Meetings

Rather than having habitual meetings, make them dynamic and result-oriented. 

Focus on the problem, and ensure there is a continuous follow-up, giving people space to brainstorm and come up with solutions.

Your Best 'Brain Time'

You need to figure out when your brain works best and get heavy work done in those productive hours. 

These windows of 'brain time' cannot be wasted with meetings and chores that end up wasting your time.

The Value of Time

We normally get frustrated and can have a frowning expression when we are interrupted while being busy. When saying a 'no' can be impolite, a better way is to say 'yes' and then asking respectfully to fix a time to discuss.
The best leaders know the value of time and are proactive and purposeful in handling their daily calendar.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The Pressure Of Time

Most leaders have familiar approaches to managing time: setting goals, planning, delegating, tracking commitments, and creating to-do lists. While these approaches do help in self-organization, the...

Sustainable Productivity

Instead of increasing the number of productive hours, we can focus on getting the right things done in a timely way. We also need to restore and balance ourselves, our colleagues, family and environment, instead of a neurotic or pathological focus on deadlines.

Find out what's truly important to us and use the finite resource of time wisely.

Phantom Workload

Phantom workload looks like real work but results in massive unproductivity and even conflict in an organization. The pressure to meet unrealistic expectations causes a vicious cycle of further workload.

Leaders need to take a hard look at what is being avoided or not addressed. Facing difficult tasks that were 'swept under the carpet' earlier strengthens them further to make hard decisions and face difficult people and situations.

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Get an early start on the day

Early hours are important because they tend to be free of most distractions and give you an opportunity to get focused

An early start will allow you to squeeze in more time...

Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Breakfast is a crucial part of getting a strong start each day, especially if your morning routine includes exercise. Add a balanced, protein-rich breakfast to your routine and reap the health benefits, such as:
  • Balanced blood sugar levels, which helps maintain your energy throughout the day
  • Improved short-term memory and mood
  • Faster recovery and renewed energy after workouts
Better use of the commute to work

Some of the ways you can be productive during your commute include:

  • Catching up on podcasts or listening to business-related audio books
  • Hands-free calling to get a head start on critical or time-sensitive issues
  • Reading and responding to emails (for those who use public transit)
  • Researching and preparing for presentations

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The 2 kinds of work :
  • Deep work”: using your skills to create something of value. It takes thought, energy, time and concentration.
  • Shallow work”: all the little administrative and logist...
Cal Newport
Cal Newport

"The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive. "

Cal Newport on time management
  • Don’t schedule distractions. Schedule deep work.
  • Keep a scoreboard for deep work: The point is to shame yourself if you’re not up to snuff.
  • Stop saying “yes” to unimportant stuff;
  • Have a “Deep Work Ritual”: Hiding in a conference room and throwing your phone into an abyss is a good one.
  • Ask your boss how much time they want you spending on deep vs shallow work: If they say “100% shallow”, feel free to ignore everything above.
  • Mindfulness at work
    Mindfulness at work

    Means being consciously present in what you’re doing, while you’re doing it, as well as managing your mental and emotional state. 

    If you’re writing a report, mindfulness requires...

    1 min/session

    That’s the minimum required for a mini-mediation.

    Just focus on your sense. You don’t need to close your eyes. You don’t even need to be sitting down.

    Use Mindful Reminders

    You can use interruptions as hooks to make you more mindful.

    Every time your phone rings, take a mindful breath. Every time you hear the ping of a text message, pause to be mindful of your surroundings rather than immediately reacting by checking the message. 

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    There are 4 strong personalities...

    ...that stand out for their ability, both positively and negatively, to impact team dynamics, especially when it comes to meetings: the Challengers, the Analyzers, the Implementers and th...

    The Challengers

    The big idea people, who love going against convention. They are the people that blurt out mid meeting "This is a stupid idea. I've got something better we can try instead."

    They can deliver the great idea that unsticks a team's thinking, but when the team has been developing that other idea for a long time, and some team members are deeply invested in the work that's already been done,  the team dynamics can quickly sour.

    The Analyzers

    The content experts, analyzers don't know everything, but what they do know, they know extremely well.

    When a team is dealing with a challenge that matches the Analyzer's area of expertise, you're on the path to solve the problem. But when the team focus strays from the Analyzer's areas of expertise, they get bored, lose interest, often affecting a dismissive attitude that can drag down other team members.

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    1:1 meetings
    1:1 meetings

    1:1 meetings matter. It is important to nurture that essential employee-manager relationship. But it still not easy to get right.

    Under pressures, managers are still juggl...

    1:1 category

    The goal of an effective 1:1 is not an update from your direct report or for you to lay down some instructions. It's a conversation. It's a chance to hear about your direct reports' ideas for your product, their career goals, and possibly their opinion of their performance.

    Keep a list of three potential topics ready for discussion. When they say they have nothing to discuss, you can jumpstart the conversation with one of your items.

    Manager's best tool

    Your most precious resource is your own time and energy. When you spend it on your team, it helps build healthy relationships.

    Your job as a manager isn't to give advice or 'save the day.'' It's to empower your reports to find the answer themselves. If you want to understand what's going on, ask. Let her lead the conversation while you listen and probe.

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    Completion bias

    It's where your brain specifically seeks the hit of dopamine you get from crossing off small tasks and ignores working on larger, more complex ones.

    Small wins and motivation

    Out of all the things that can boost our mood and motivation, the single most important is making progress on meaningful work.

    Just like we love crossing small tasks off our to-do list, being able to see that we’re even one step closer to a big goal is a huge motivator. The problem is that these “small wins” are hard to measure.

    “Most of us make advances small and large every single day, but we fail to notice them because we lack a method for acknowledging our progress. This is a huge loss.”

    “Most of us make advances small and large every single day, but we fail to notice them because we lack a method for acknowledging our progress. This is a huge loss.”

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    The time-blocking method

    Simply means planning out your day in advance and dedicating specific hours to accomplish specific tasks.

    Doing this requires determining in advance what you will accomplish and exactl...

    The most important task method (MIT)

    Rather than writing out a massive to-do list and trying to get it all done, determine the 1-3 tasks that are absolutely essential and then relentlessly focus on those tasks during the day.

    Once you determine your 1-3 most important tasks, they are scheduled first in your day. You then make progress on essential items before you get bombarded by distractions. 

    The Pomodoro Technique

    Is all about working in short, massively productive, intensely focused bursts, and then giving yourself a brief break:

    • Choose a task
    • Set your timer for 25 minutes
    • Work on the task until the timer ends
    • Take a short break (around 5 minutes)
    • Every 4 Pomodoro sessions, take a longer break (15-30 minutes).

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    Time blocking
    Time blocking

    It's the practice of planning out every moment of your day in advance and dedicating specific time “blocks” for certain tasks and responsibilities.

    When you fill your c...

    Time blocking and focus

    By scheduling every minute of your day you not only guard against distraction but also multiply your focus.

    Also, focusing on one task at a time can make you up to 80% more productive than splitting your attention across multiple tasks.

    Cons of the time blocking practice
    • It takes a lot of time and effort.
    • Few of us (if any) have the same schedule every day.
    • We’re bad at estimating how long tasks will take to do.
    • Constant interruptions and “urgent” tasks can destroy your system.
    • Flexibility is key in most workplaces.
    • You can lose sight of the bigger picture if you focus just on each day.

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    Scheduling your day

    A good daily schedule is a blueprint for a successful life. 

    Knowing what we’re doing and when empowers us with a sense of purpose, meaning, and focus.

    Scheduling styles
    When it comes to our daily schedule, most people fall into one of two camps:
    • The Overscheduler: Their days are determined from the moment they wake up to their evening routine.
    • The Minimalist: They’ve got one or two recurring events, but a whole lot of white space so they’re “free” (at least on paper) for long stretches of work.
    Your most important work

    The most successful people consistently get their most important work done first.

    Build recurring time for your most important work in the morning, before you start anything else. Your energy levels are naturally higher in the morning, but completing a meaningful task first thing has also a domino effect that pushes you through the day.

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