Thank you for listening to the Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher. For many people, it seems like there is more work than there is time to do it. If you are a leader, time management becomes even more of a challenge because you have to juggle both your needs and the needs of your team members. What separates the good leader from the great leader is how they spend their time. In this episode, Jeff gives practical tips to organize your time, set your priorities, and get the most out of your day.
1. Make a Schedule – and Stick to It
Organize your days and weeks in advance
While surprises happen, they should not take up all of your day.
Start by tracking what you do every day for two weeks. Include meetings, breaks, meals, phone calls, emails, etc.
Evaluate how you spent your time to decide whether you are spending it on the right tasks.
Identify patterns and recurring tasks and use them as a base for your schedule.
I swear by the Outlook calendar. I use it for everything!
Choose a calendar management tool like Outlook to schedule your time and give you alerts about upcoming meetings and tasks.
At the end of each workday, make a habit of writing out your “to do” list for the next day. This will help you prioritize your tasks and hit the ground running the next morning.
Q: How much time do you spend planning how you will use your time each week? If you don’t schedule your time, what keeps you from doing so? How can you address those concerns? What tools are you currently using to manage your time? What do you like best about that tool? How could you use that tool to keep yourself more on task and better organized?
2. Set goals and define them properly
You likely have many goals for your life including work goals, personal goals, relationship goals, spiritual goals, etc.
Everything comes down to priorities, and what you would like to accomplish.
Use the SMART goal setting method to bring structure to your projects and objectives and create a clear path toward success. S: Specific
Be as specific as you can when deciding what you want to achieve.
For example: “Obtain three new million dollar clients in the Pittsburgh healthcare market” is more meaningful than “make more sales.”
What exactly do I want to achieve?
What are the conditions and limitations?
Why exactly do I want to reach this goal?
Avoid subjective adjectives like “more,” “increase,” “better,” etc.
Look at what you can track with numerical data.
Example: Instead of “have happier customers,” you might aim to “increase and maintain a Customer Satisfaction score of above 90%”
Is your goal attainable?
If you don't have the time, money, or talent to reach a certain goal you'll certainly fail and waste significant time and resources.
Make your goal something that will stretch you while still taking into account your current resources. Even if you only get close, it will be an improvement!
Is reaching your goal relevant to you and your organization?
For example, do you actually want to expand your business into a foreign market, have three children a spouse and coach little league baseball?
You decide for yourself whether you have the personality for it, or your team has the capacity to pull it off.
Be sure you know why you want to achieve your goal and how it relates to your company’s mission and objective.
T: Time Bound
Time is money!
Institute deadlines, for yourself and your team, and go after them.
Keep the timeline realistic and flexible, that way you can keep morale high.
Providing time constraints will ultimately create a sense of urgency.
Q: Think about a goal you set that you did not achieve. What part of the SMART goal setting structure was missing?
Find a time management tool that will work for you. You can use a calendar built into your email like Outlook or Google. Or, you can opt for a project management program like Monday, Trello, or Asana. These apps can help you manage either your own time or your whole team’s time. Consider your needs, your level of experience with technology, and your willingness to learn a new tool. Pick something you can stick to and make a part of your daily routine.
Workshop a goal you are working on with your team. Make sure that it follows the SMART goal framework. Ask your for feedback on the timeline for the goal and on whether or not they feel it is attainable. If your team agrees that the goal is achievable, encourage them to make some other suggestions or give some other feedback regarding the goal to make sure that they are not agreeing with you simply because you are the boss. If your team disagrees with some aspect of the goal, take their suggestions seriously. If you maintain your position that the goal is achievable and the timeline is reasonable, consider other ways to boost morale and help your team feel confident about the goal.
What are your priorities? Make a list of your top 5 work priorities and your top 5 priorities in your personal life. Is there anything on this list that you are not actively prioritizing? Ask yourself how you can put more time or energy into that priority. Is there anything that isn’t a priority that you treat as a priority? For example, if you spend Saturday morning taking care of your lawn when you would rather be playing with your kids, could you delegate that task or pay someone else to take care of it?