From Time Management to Time Leadership – 5 Time Management Tips
Time is of the essence. Time is money. Time is even more important as a resource than money. You can always earn more money, but time is limited, every way you spend it is away from something else.
I don’t want to waste my time. I don’t want to waste my customers, friends, colleagues or family’s time. Therefore, I started investigating how to manage time. Maybe I could become a time leader, not just a manager?
First time management related article that pops up in Google is titled something along the lines of “Work less, play more” -sounds good, eh?
Their first point is a great first point for me as well, and I am almost sure if you are reading this, you have started thinking about this step too. One has to
1. Make a conscious decision to manage your time.
Otherwise, others will manage it for you. From a self-leadership point of view, I also love tip #6 from the Toggl article, because the way you talk to yourself defines your perception of the world.
2. Make a “done-list” instead of the traditional to-do-list and cross over items as the statement becomes true.
It alters your way of thinking about the list, as the items are not statements screaming at you about all the things you haven’t accomplished, but instead statements that you can mark ready and be proud of having accomplished them.
People who know me know I love Youtube. So, the other morning I decided to go around and search for answers for my time management question there. I ran into this video, which again got me thinking about the power of our thoughts and self-talk. It is completely pointless to think in a way of “Why don’t I have time to do this and this and this”. Instead we could
3. Ask ourselves proactive questions such as “What could I do during this 30 minute time slot of train traveling in order to be productive?
Now, let me tell you a story: Me and my colleague had been learning from each other’s by doing an activity I call pair sourcing. As we had dedicated an hour for this exercise, we both noticed an incredible difference in efficiency compared to a normal workday which typically includes some sourcing. We realized there is no way we just magically improved this much all of a sudden, but instead the performance improvement came because we had booked a time to focus on sourcing together. In short, we had an
4. Allocated time slot for an activity.
During this time, I believe both of us would have been embarrassed to do anything else than sourcing and I had a timer running so we had a sense of urgency. This relates heavily to the Pomodoro technique, which got a lot of votes when I asked my LinkedIn network what works for you with time management. The idea is to devote 25 minutes to a task that is worth it. Set up a timer and afterwards take a 5 minute break. After 4 Pomodoros, take a longer break. This lets your brain rest.
Last I would like to remind myself and you about the fact that ime is a valuable resource to other people too. And we know that both you and I are (of course) kind people who want to be mindful of other people’s time. So lets
5. Prepare for meetings, make an agenda for them and show up on time.
I know I can sometimes be terrible with being on time, but something that has helped since my family grew with the twin boys is that I always plan to leave 15 minutes before I would leave if I just count the travel time. That is approximately the time it takes to find parking and put together our twin stroller. Perhaps for work related meetings 5-10 minutes is enough, but anyways, always rather early than late.
For my time management experiment, I tried a time tracking app, or actually a few of them. But to be honest, so far, my experience has been negative. It’s an interesting way to review how one spends time, but I doubt I could do it long term. I got my colleague involved in this experiment and she had a great point “Starting a timer every time you start a new task feels quite stressful” like one would have to think about how they use every second of their work time efficiently.
How about you, what do you like to do in order to organize and manage your time? Have you tried time tracking tools, Pomodoro or lists? What works best for you and why? Is time even a manageable thing?