Don’t Let Others Take Your Time —
One struggle of being a leader in any organization is finding the time to “get it all done”. Since the beginning of time, organizations have struggled with time management, and have spent millions of dollars on programs, tools, and anything else, that will help their leaders become more effective with their time. Most of the time they involve costly programs, software, or busy planners, to decipher and then implement.
What should we do?
There are a few steps a leader can do to gain full control of their calendar and time, and the best part is: it does not cost a penny! There is nothing to buy, but it will require courage and commitment.
STEP 1. The first step is for a leader to take the “The calendar test” to see if they fall into the “Too busy” trap.
STEP 2. The second step is to identify the important tasks verse the urgent tasks.
STEP 3. The third and final step is to take back the control of your calendar, and to stop scheduling chaos.
STEP 1. Take the “The Calendar test”.
This allows a leader to see if they are spending their time on their priorities or on someone one else’s priorities.
A leader must look at their calendar for the following week, and see if there are many open time slots, and second see how many of their leadership priorities are actually scheduled in the calendar.
Next, the leader must look at the calendar for the week that just passed, and see how many open or free hours they had the past week. Like most leaders they will find they have many open spots in the coming week’s calendar, but found themselves super-busy the previous week. If a leader finds themselves with an empty calendar in the coming weeks, but is always super-busy by the end of the week, it is safe to say that the leader is working on someone else’s priorities and not their own.
STEP 2. Get out of the trap and take control of the calendar.
First the leader needs to identify their important tasks vs. urgent tasks. Important tasks are tasks that have great importance but very few short-term consequences, like employee one-on-one’s, team development, and field visits with employees. These are the most important aspects of a leaders job, but they are hijacked by much less important tasks that are “very urgent”: customer issues, employee problems, boss’s reports, etc. These seemly urgent tasks would be less frequent if the leader focused on sticking to the important ones. (If you work on employee development, then delegation and follow-through are a given, so the “urgent tasks” are easily taken care of.) The key in time management is for a leader to never allow the urgent to take away from the important. Simple, yes, but not easy!
STEP 3: Take back your calendar.
The key here is to know the power of your calendar and then to focus. Many times leaders leave open spots in their calendar because they fully expect to have employee problems and customer problems that they must deal with. This is super-crazy, because when a leader expects to not count on these problems, they will then always show up.
A leader should never create chaos by expecting it; instead a leader needs to fill their calendar full with all of the important tasks working with their employees and their leaders. A simple rule allows any leader to remove the less important and urgent time killers activities: Only do what you can do, and delegate the rest. A leader must prioritize their time, so they can help those they lead become better at prioritizing their time. The way a leader uses their time is a choice — the key is to make the right choice and own the right choice for success!
Final thought: I have met many very successful leaders over the past 20 years, and the one thing that I have always found to be remarkably true and consistent is the most successful and powerful leaders always have time to do the important things. They always have time to take on new projects or give more time to serve others, while those that achieve a much lower level of success and seem to be less happy are always too busy. They want to do more, or give more, but they never seem to have enough time. Learn from the most successful, and own your calendar — and never be too busy to do something that is important!
About the Author: Nathan Jamail is president of the Jamail Development Group, and author of 4 best-selling books including his newest release Serve UP & Coach Down. Nathan Jamail is a leading expert in organizational leadership. Nathan has spent the last 14 years coaching top executives and teaching thousands of leaders around the world on Leadership, employee coaching, selling skills, and cultural development. Nathan’s clients span across all industries from financial services, technology, military, manufacturing, hospitality, and many more. For more information, visit https://nathanjamail.com/ or follow on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.