A team leader is carrying stacks of folders home with her. She drags a heavy wheel-bag behind her full of more folders. In her home, she eats her dinner by the computer, looking over reports until her eyes glaze over.
This is just a normal Tuesday night for her!
The next morning, she wakes up tired already. But as she gets dressed, she resolves to get more done today than the day before… she says, “Today, I’ll catch up.”
She gets to the office, sits down, and ten minutes later, there is a knock at her door. A team member enters with his crashed PC. “Oh, no problem,” the team leader says, “I’ll call IT to have them fix it.”
Later that day her colleague comes to her and asks for help with the department meeting presentation. She drops her work and agrees.
Then, some supplier concerns are brought to her attention, and she must smooth things out before her team can make any progress….
…and then before she knows it, the day is over, and she has to lug all those folders home again.
“If only I had more time…” she says on her way to her car. But is it really more time that she needs?
Leaders often find themselves drowning in work and say these very words. “If only there were more hours in the day.”
But sadly enough, time is the only thing we cannot earn or save up. Money can be recouped; energy can be replenished; and we can improve our ideas by learning… but time poorly spent is gone forever.
That is the bad news…
…but don’t worry – where there is bad news, there is good news! And here, the good news is that there is a way we can get better at using the time we have.
Coach and speaker Jamie Cornell has said, “Time cannot and will not be managed, and you will never get more of it. The problem is rooted in the choices you are making with others and your own choices. You choose how to use it every moment of every day…”
Consider this: we wish for more time, but the way that many leaders make their choices, they would not get more done even if they had it.
The value, production, and efficiency we are after are in the choices more than they are in the time. When we choose better, we multiply the value of our time.
This is something I’ll be covering more in my free leadership training in a few weeks. I don’t have the space here to give you all the insights I’d like to, but here are 3 tools you can use to make the most of your time.
The Pareto Principle
You have definitely heard of this principle – it is also called the 80/20 rule. It tells us that 80% of our results come from 20% of our tasks, and vice versa. This is true of many other things, as well – 80% of the work is done by 20% of your team, 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients, and so on.
The key is knowing which activities, opportunities, and players produce the most and investing more in them. For example, find your top-performing staff, spend 80% of your dedicated time with them, and invest 80% of your development budget on them.
These three questions help you get a clearer picture of what you should prioritize.
What’s required of me?
What are the things that only you can do for your organization or your team? What are the things that you absolutely cannot delegate? Where are you irreplaceable? You must do these things.
What gives me my greatest return?
Where is your time best spent, based on your unique skills? Where are you in your element? Do these things as often as you can.
What is most rewarding?
What refreshes you? What gives you the strength to do the other important things? Make time for these things.
And speaking of making time…
You cannot fill 100% of your time. Well, you can – but you cannot flourish with 100% of your time accounted for.
Growth doesn’t happen in action, but in reflection.
We need to pause for breath just to stay sane. That is not only true of leaders – it is true of people, period. Give yourself 20% “white space” to recoup.
Hopefully you are not the team leader I described above. You deserve better, and so does your team. You have so much value to add when you are not struggling to “keep your head above water” – and I would love to help you.
If you are looking for ways to maximize your most precious resource, my free leadership training on June 2 is open to you. Join me and your fellow leaders at 4PM CET for time-capitalizing strategies and other leadership development techniques.
Save your seat today for The 3 Keys to Developing the Leader Within You training.
I hope I’ll see you there!
That’s all for now.
Until next time,
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