Time Management In Leadership
My experience of time management in leadership as it pertains to managing operations is similar to what I would think going crazy is like with a dash of confusion. There are many strategies to time management, and all revolve around feeling like you have a hold of things that are happening around you. Here we will explore different strategies that we can use in order to feel as if we understand the happenings around us.
There is a reason why prioritize is first on the list. I believe properly prioritizing engagements is the single most important skill to acquire, understand, and master as it relates to time management. Prioritization has to do with understanding all of your engagements, assignments, and activities, and then coming up with a sensible list of their order of importance. I believe that this can be done either purely mentally or on paper.
If you opt to not use pen and paper, your task will be a bit more taxing. I personally use a fair mix of both of these methods of prioritization. Some days are less demanding than others, and on those days I will recognize the opportunity to avoid carrying around a clipboard with scribbles of tasks-to-do and other notes on it.
If you are in a position of leadership where you are aware that new tasks, requirements, or expectations are present, than I would highly recommend that you utilize some sort of note taking mechanism in order to keep your affairs in order. Remember that the key here is that this is a fail-safe and is never considered overkill. I would only opt to not use visual assistance and lists in events where you are completely comfortable with what is on your task list.
The goal here is to be able to maintain an inventory of things that need addressed and be able to rank these engagements in a list of most important to least important. As new developments occur over time, items can rise or fall on the list. Remember a bump to one engagement requires a dump to another.
Stress management is incredibly important to time management. One would think at a glance that these are not ties together, however, that thought is incorrect. You will find that as you allow your stress levels to rise, your grip on events and how timely you handle them becomes erratic and uncontrollable. This is the last thing you want if you want a controlled delivery of tasks and actions throughout a period of time. If you allow your stress levels to increase to a certain point, all grip of time management will be lost and you will be completing due tasks at the mercy of the grip of stress on your mind.
The simple resolution to this is to learn stress management techniques. The deeper resolution to this is to learn your body and your mind. This requires a bit more time and a bit more study of ones self to discover stress triggers and positive responses to techniques to combat stress.
Once you begin to identify your stress triggers and combat stress with the proper techniques that your body and mind responds to, you will notice an increased ability to focus on proper time management as a leader.
Being Realistic About Expectations
We all have superiors. We all have expectations. We need to be realistic when we are matching expectations with reality, and we need to be able to give honest feedback on our barriers of meeting expectations.
Often our explanation of expectations not met will be explaining how the process of our prioritization of tasks changed over a period of time that we were charged with meeting certain expectations. This explanation will outline events that were bumped up on our prioritization list and the contra-events or activities that were dumped down and our reasoning in making this change in priorities. Good feedback here will allow our managers to troubleshoot situations that are outside of our field of influence, or give us feedback on how we should have prioritized differently. Open and honest communication is key here in order to reinforce or correct our time management decisions. Keep in mind not managing stress levels will wreck this entire process.
Some Specific Focal Points On Time Management
There are a host of things that we should be paying specific attention to while we keep all else in mind. At the top of this list we must consider unforeseen circumstances and events. Sometimes things just happen that require our time to be allocated to an event, activity, or engagement that we did not plan for. Plan for unforeseen engagements as there will always be some that pop up. If you are a floor level manager assisting in troubleshooting, unforeseen engagements may be the largest block of time that you allocate out of your period of time.
When dealing with associates that create engagements or events for you that do not appear at the top of your priority list, do not brush them off. Make sure you take the time to explain to them that their issue is an issue that will be addressed, just not now. If you are able to delegate the handling of their engagement out, do this immediately, so that you will not have to revisit this later as well as write it off of your engagements or tasks list.
Sometimes you just have to push. When you have a lot to do and a little time to do it, occasionally we must turn up the heat to get things done. Finding this drive within yourself is incredibly helpful because it can get you rolling and keep you rolling. This does not mean recklessly acting, such as flailing in a brawl, however, this means confidently drawing upon your own motivation to succeed and using that to boost your speed, performance, and mood to a level that allows you to shine. Some people are naturally able to turn up the volume on their ability to push. In individuals that naturally have this ability, they are usually recognized as high performers when in reality they just have a frequented push that gets noticed.
A Word On Delegation
Delegation here can allow a leader to appear to accomplish more than he is actually accomplishing because of his skill in using people. When one has twenty things to do with nineteen positive delegatory relationships, the leader can delegate nineteen while taking care of the twentieth and seemingly accomplish twenty things at once. This is a sort of pinnacle of leadership because amazing unaccomplishable tasks can be completed in a relatively short amount of time compared to the expected amount of time to complete the set of tasks. If you are a leader and have a team and are not aware of the power of harnessing and using delegatory authority, I would suggest that you practice leveraging some of your relationships with your team via leadership in order to grow as a leader.