When I’m working with clients, the question of how to develop time management skills often comes up in conversation. It’s a great question! So many leaders suffer in silence thinking that they need to power through and try to squeeze more onto their already overflowingly-full plate. Trust me when I say that every leader I’ve worked with who takes the time and effort to develop their time management skills says that it has been a game changer for their career and their peace of mind.
For each client I’ve worked with, it’s clear that two vital elements separate those who are successful from those who take away only nominal improvements. Those two elements are dedication and commitment to actually learning about what works and realizing what doesn’t. I stress both of these because just knowing that you need to develop your time management skills is one thing, but action is really where the rubber meets the road. In addition, make a commitment to be consistent. Learning new processes and skills will take time, so don’t give up. The new methods you’ll pick up will pay off if you stick with them. Prepare to be all in!
There are a number of effective time management methods that will help to develop your time management. One that I recommend as a good place to start is the practice of time blocking. Time blocking is simply setting aside, or blocking, segments of your day with the intent that you will work only on preselected, specific activities during those times.
If you glance at my calendar, you’ll see two- and three-hour blocks of time scheduled as recurring events. Each of these blocks is dedicated to specific projects that I’m working on. What your dedicated time blocks will help you do is focus your time and attention. As important, it will help decrease the number of decisions you will need to make each day as your workday will be partially planned for you. I protect these blocks of uninterrupted time as if they are Fort Knox. I don’t accept meeting requests during those times; no phone calls; no emails, no impromptu walks to the kitchen for a cup of coffee.
To start, pick a time of the day when you’re most on top your game and block off that time. Then look at your big picture projects—the ones that will really move the needle if you focus your attention on them and move them to completion—and assign it to that block.
Let me know if you try this time management practice. Did it work for you? Are you able to protect that time and does using it allow you to move into a flow work state in which you can make great strides in moving your project forward. I’d love to chat with you, and if you’re struggling with adopting time management practices, I’m here to help. Until next time, be well!