Do you ever wake up at night or have trouble sleeping because you are thinking about what you need to do the next day? Have you ever failed to make your business plans happen because you allow time obstructions to get in the way? If you’ve ever forgotten important appointments or personal commitments, then you need to manage your time better and establish a time management strategy.
Do you manage to read all of your e-mails? Do you answer them? Do you schedule time to work on your business? Have you ever forgotten an appointment with a key customer?
Effective time management requires commitment to a time- management culture. The manager sets the example of this commitment to the schedule. Every activity and task are written into the schedule, whether it is lunch out of the office or a team meeting. If a manager needs to cancel an appointment, he will reschedule it for a later time. If someone cancels a meeting with the manager, he will follow up with the individual to reschedule for an alternate time.
The first step in an effective time management strategy is to use a calendar system that works for you. When you have completed your day of work, spend an additional 15 minutes on scheduling your next workday. Enter every task in your calendar: meetings, events, quiet time in the office, time for planning, social commitments, cold calling, travel arrangements, etc. In order to avoid being overwhelmed, I suggest focusing on realistic tasks and time constraints and to always make time for breaks throughout the workday. Delegating some responsibilities to trusted members of the team is also recommended for a strong time management system. It is important to remember to list all events including personal, family and business appointments. Failure to do so can lead to overlapping commitments.
Once you get into the habit of planning the next workday, it would be good to begin focusing on scheduling longer term goals and tasks and separating overwhelming issues into smaller action items that need to be addressed. Make sure that all goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound). All tasks should be achievable, and strategies should be created to reach desired goals.
In addition to meetings and tasks, a to-do list should be created. Even if you are not computer savvy, it is simple to keep a to-do list up to date. It is recommended to add a daily event in your schedule to work on the list and keep it current.
Once you begin your time management regiment, you will find that having this system in place may ease your mind. You might find that you experience improved sleep and that you feel more relaxed. You can rest assured that your next days’ commitments are listed, and you will remember all important events.
Now is the time to ensure that your employees, family, and friends are respectful of your time management structure, and if they want to meet with you, engage in a phone conversation, or spend time with you, it needs to be on your schedule. It is OK to say no to some meeting requests, or to suggest an alternative team member to take the meeting.
A key benefit to maintaining a disciplined schedule is having time to contemplate key areas of your business and to work on achieving the vision you have created for your organization. You have to find time during the week to take a break from the day-to-day operations of your business and do some creative thinking.
Executive Coaching and Peer Advisory Boards are a great way to keep you committed to your visions, goals and time efficiency. You will gain the benefits of practical advice from peers and business coaching to work on strategies, plans and focus on being proactive and strategic while maintaining accountability to your coach, peer advisors, and yourself.