Imagine paying $200+ per hour to finish a task that could easily be accomplished for just $40 per hour. It seems ludicrous, right? Unfortunately, many Executives find themselves in this exact position without realizing it. When it comes to work, time is literally money. And how you manage your time directly affects revenue and profitability. So, when an Executive responds to their own email—a task that could be done by their Assistant—they are wasting their coveted time and money while weakening their company’s profitability.

This scenario can play out in every part of your business which is why it’s essential for leaders to be uber aware of how time is being spent across the organization. While seemingly a foundational life skill, the implementation of time management strategies among Executives and employees alike can get lost as a business grows and evolves. However, when it’s embedded in the culture of a team from the top-down, time management techniques can be the difference in falling short of annual goals versus knocking them out of the park.

Meet the time management experts

Eryn Morgan, a Kolbe Certified™ business consultant, believes the key to mastering time management strategies for Executives is to find techniques that are practical and actually work. Doing so helps them learn to make better use of their time. Morgan works closely with dozens of business owners to transform them into productive, profitable, and confident CEOs.

But time management techniques aren’t just for Executives. “It is never too early for a start-up to address time management skills and strategies for leaders and team members,” says Elisabeth Galperin of Peak Productivity Coaching and Certified Productive Environment Specialist (CPES). As a professional organizing and productivity consultant for nearly 15 years, and having worked with and studied under Barbara Hemphill and the Productive Environment Institute, Galperin says that time management and developing systems for everyone involved are foundational in building a sustainable business.

So, let’s dive in and better understand how implementing and maintaining strong time management strategies and techniques can affect every part of your business. We’ll focus on three critical areas so your entire ecosystem can start functioning at peak performance:

  • Time management as a leader
  • Time management for your team
  • Time management across the organization

Time management as a leader

“Time is one of our most vital yet non-renewable resources,” reminds Galperin. “In order to make the impact Executives and leaders desire, time must be used strategically.” She goes on to emphasize that when CEOs model strong time (and decision) management skills, those who work with and under them learn by their example. As a result, the entire organization also becomes more productive, elevating company culture.

While it’s easy to resort to "box-checking" or doing activities that don't generate revenue, when you get stuck in that place, it becomes difficult to delegate and allow other people to support your growth. But, “when you can learn to manage yourself from the start, you're able to scale and grow,” says Morgan. Ultimately, time management strategies allow you to work smarter, not harder. They make you a better leader because you have more time to rest and recharge without feeling guilty.

It’s worth stating that "busy" should never be a goal or touted as a sign of success for Executives or their teams. Being great at your job has nothing to do with overworking. Exhausted and “busy” leaders are oftentimes a sign that a company lacks strategy or direction. Taking Galperin and Morgan’s advice to prioritize and celebrate time management will move you from the brink of burnout to the energized leader of a thriving company.

Time management for your team

While adhering to time management strategies yourself is essential, helping your team understand the importance of them will take your organization to a whole new level. Prioritize teaching what time management means to your team and how to practice it. While the term is casually thrown around, many aren’t sure how to implement and stick with time management strategies.

When Morgan is working with a team to enhance productivity, she uses their Kolbe score to find the best time management schedule that will work for them. “Typically it's a blend of my CEO Schedule and the requirements of their business or job that I use to craft a custom approach.”

Other ways to start integrating time management strategies into your team’s everyday work include:

  • Having accountability partners within the team
  • Using a consistent set of tools, systems, and resources for collaboration and productivity
  • Communicating expectations upfront and listening to feedback
  • Pre-planning the day on calendars
  • Focusing on each individual’s strengths and aligning responsibilities accordingly.

Time management across the organization

As a leader, you have the ability to set the tone and serve as an example when it comes to time management strategies and techniques throughout your entire company. Galperin suggests building it into the company culture by making sure time management is part of the dialogue at meetings, annual retreats, etc.

By providing professional development opportunities focused on time management, productivity, and peak performance habits you’re “giving your employees permission to work on their time management skills,” she says. But it doesn’t stop there. “Communicating that this type of ‘work’ is valuable and can be utilized during working hours” is a gamechanger.

Morgan’s philosophy isn’t limited to work. “Honestly, I think it's about focusing on the joy of everything your people care about outside of work that's the key. When you can be efficient and effective during your workday, it leaves you free for your life.” She goes on to explain that when an executive models “being tight with the time they allow tasks to occupy,” the entire organization feels encouraged to do the same. This is how everyone involved can build a balanced work/home life.

Time management techniques

Teaching specific time management techniques will allow your team to quickly put them into practice. It’s important to remember that one strategy won’t work for everyone, so offer several options (and be open to employees identifying their own solutions).

Time blocking

This technique serves as a great way to divide your day into blocks of time. Rather than changing tasks every half hour, time blocking has you working on one thing, such as content creation, for an extended period of time. The work gets finished and you’re not constantly switching contexts.

Task batching

Similar to time blocking, task batching makes sure everything within one area of your work is complete before moving on to the next responsibility. An example of task batching is recording multiple podcast episodes in one day rather than one per week. This allows you to stay in your zone and focused on a single priority.

Urgent-Important Matrix

For those who have a hard time identifying what’s important and what’s not, the Urgent-Important Matrix is the perfect tool. It helps you take everything on your to-do list and categorize it based on—you guessed it—urgency and importance. Feeling paralyzed by the amount of work on your plate is no longer a challenge.

Design your ideal calendar

What do you want your day to actually look like? Contrary to popular belief, you can control your calendar more than you think. The key is designing your schedule upfront and blocking your time based on how you want your day and week to run. If you prefer meetings in the morning, block your afternoons so nothing can be scheduled during that time.

Time logs and time tracking tools

One of the best ways to manage your time effectively is to understand where it’s going. Track the number of minutes and hours you spend on each task throughout the day and evaluate whether that much time was necessary. See if you can do the task faster while maintaining the same quality the next time.

Customized Pomodoro technique

There are all kinds of time management apps to stay productive. With the Pomodoro method, you’ll set a timer for a specific amount of time while you remain actively working on just one task. Once you hear the buzzer, it’s time for a quick break.

Prioritizing in sets of 3

Part of managing your time means eliminating overwhelm. This technique has you focused on three priorities per day that will help you accomplish three priorities per week.

Top tips for managing your time

  • Stay organized with calendars and use reminders to stay on track
  • Pre-plan your day
  • Find the tools that keep your to-do lists organized (a notebook, apps, Trello, Google Drive, Calendly)
  • Start each day with a focus on your own physical and mental health as it will sustain you throughout the day
  • Estimate your time accurately for how long tasks will take
  • Tasks will expand to fill the time you give them. If you give yourself an hour to do something that should really take 20 minutes, it will take an hour.
  • Group activities so you don’t have to keep switching your focus
  • Turn off computer and phone notifications so information can’t find you
  • Use tools and technology to keep you working efficiently
  • Establish and communicate your non-negotiables so people clearly understand what you’re willing to spend your time on
  • Schedule an “unscheduled” day to play catch-up.

In the end, Morgan says, “It's about a self-disciplined approach of focusing on revenue-generating activities that moves the needle. You only need willingness, some scrap paper, and a Google calendar to accomplish that.” And to take it a step further, when you can win over your people they’ll be as productive with their time as possible.

Optimal time management starts with you as the leader and trickles down from there. Finding your own strategies to keep yourself operating efficiently will encourage the rest of the organization to follow suit.

The Experts

Eryn Morgan

Kolbe Certified™ Business Consultant

Elisabeth Galperin

CEO at Peak Productivity

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