A leader at the top of their game has a lot going on and a lot they’re responsible for. Often it can and will all get done. Because, the thing is, if you’re a good leader you don’t like leaving stones unturned. But here’s the ugly catch about doing everything, if not managed well your tasks could run the risk of leading you straight into burnout town. And in burnout town, survivors are few and far between.
Let’s have a look at a few simple ways you can steer your course to a healthier way of working, all the while maintaining your influence and leadership.
Schedule every last minute
Seems pretty obvious, but if everything has its allotted time, it will get done. Take time to draft up a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule for your tasks. Even schedule in time to write your schedule. Schedule time daily to deal with unscheduled things too.
One of the most important things to schedule time for business development or creative brainstorming. You’ll never find the time for this unless you schedule it in and it’s super important.
Sounds restrictive, right? But that’s where you’re wrong. By scheduling your tasks, you get them done. Leaving extra time for things that might crop up or even more time for yourself.
Start your day a bit earlier
Even if you’re not a morning person, challenge yourself to start your day just a bit earlier, an hour or even half an hour earlier can give you the time to get yourself into a good space before you get to the daily tasks. If that means exercise, meditation, breakfast, extra time with your kids, partner or pet. It could even mean you get to work earlier and have a coffee at your desk before you start work. And then start work at the same time every day. Not a minute later, not a minute earlier.
When scheduling, set your times for reading and responding to emails. It might be half hour first thing in the morning, again just after lunch, and one more quick check before you call it a day. Spend the appropriate time responding then and there, and anything you don’t get to, schedule to address in your next allotted email time. Don’t read and respond in the moment or you’ll honestly never get anything else done.
Once you have been holding space for emails routinely, colleagues and clients will get to know your rhythm and you won’t feel so pressured to respond quickly. Remember, you are managing your time, not everyone else’s.
Suss out your productivity highs
The thing about time management is just because you’re being strict with a routine, doesn’t mean you have to be toeing the line of a routine that doesn’t suit you. Suss out when is your most productive times, your most creative, your most social, and your least productive, and manage your time and schedule around that.
For instance, don’t schedule meetings in the afternoons if that’s when you are feeling a bit introverted. Make that the time you check your emails. Or if you have productivity spurts on Mondays but are crap at focusing on Tuesdays, then schedule meetings on Tuesdays and spend Monday locked away getting reports done.
You may not have the luxury of being entirely flexible, but at least knowing how you work will give you a better chance at making the most of your time when you spend it on something.
Time to hone this skill
These are just a few pointers, but I think you get the drift. That the more hours you have control over, the less hours you are going to spend “working”––and that includes the time you’re not actually getting anything productive done except driving your burnout closer.
Time management is a skill and it can be learned, so whatever you do, don’t think it’s “not you” to be so routine. Try it first. Trust me, it will give you time you didn’t even know you had!