“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” Zig Ziglar
Having worked with leaders of all types in the United States and countries around the world, I have yet to meet a single leader that did not want to improve their time management skills.
Even those that report they are organized and viewed as people who “get things done” are quick to admit there is always room for improvement.
3 Aspects of Time Management
There are a few facts to consider as we examine the best way be time efficient.
First, it is a fact that we all have just 24 hours in each day, and no matter how we try we cannot beg, borrow, or steal one second more.
Manage Priorities & Make Decisions
Second, excellent time management is a matter of managing priorities and making choices, not counting minutes. We simply cannot do everything we wish to do and must make choices about how we spend our precious hours.
The way we spend our time should align with not only our work but our life priorities, or in the end, we will have no joy in either world. Designate work time and personal or family time.
Be open to compromise so that all of your values are addressed and priorities are met.
Focus is Key
Third, hours and priorities are meaningless if you cannot remain focused.
With all we have competing for our time these days the most important component of time management is focus. Focus, focus, focus to ensure that the time you do have is used effectively and efficiently.
Say “no” when that is the answer that serves your priorities best. Avoid time “sucks” like the endless, meaningless emails, social media, or time-consuming games and apps on your tablets and computers. Surround yourself with people that inspire you, not those that drain your energy and steal your inspiration. Any of these things can blur your focus.
How to Improve Focus
Here are a few tips to help you focus and hone your time management skills:
• Be very clear on your goals and intentions. I recommend you write them down. Make it a practice to review them daily. Post them where you can see them if that is a reminder for you.
• Break larger tasks into smaller steps and focus on each step until it is complete.
• Reduce distractions. It is impossible to focus if the phone is ringing and people are talking and emails are flooding your inbox, or your staff is interrupting for questions. Eliminate as many distractions as possible.
• Create the right environment. Being too hot, too cold, not having enough light, or a variety of other environmental issues can distract you. Make your work area comfortable and stimulating.
• Have a “go to” person. If you get stuck or wander off your focus, talk it out with someone who understands your goals. Be careful not to linger too long in the conversation as it can become an excuse or a distraction.
• Practice good self-care. Get enough sleep. Eat right. Move! Avoid overuse of alcohol or stimulants like energy drinks or caffeine. All of these will contribute to a clear mind which is essential for focus.
Challenge Yourself to Boost Time Efficiency & Focus
Start now! Begin today accepting that you cannot do it all and should not even want to. Instead, commit your time and attention to your priorities with focus!
Coach’s Challenge: Review your plans for this year. Prioritize. Decide where to put your focus in the weeks ahead. Make it happen!
Coaching for Business Owners & Leaders
Sherry Jordan is an experienced coach for business owners and leaders, offering a variety of helpful services including strategic planning for startups, enhancing small business operations, and leadership training for executives.
If you want to hone your skills, become more focused, and improve your time management skills, reach out today. Time efficiency is just one way Sherry Jordan can help you thrive!