How To Better Manage Your Time As A Leader

I remember being amazed at plate spinners growing up. These men and women would keep plates spinning on poles for an extended amount of time. They wouldn’t fall off but be kept going by the constant movement of the performer. 

Their act looked fun. I wanted to attempt it, but any time I tried to spin something on a pole or my finger, I couldn’t keep it up.

Many leaders feel that way these days. They have so many plates spinning that there’s no time to relax. It’s constant go, go, go.

Busy street scape. Cars are moving and their movement is blurred. Lots of colors. People are standing around the edges.

Photo by Dan Freeman on Unsplash

What if there was a better way? What if you could better manage your time so that you had more time to do things only you can do?

Sounds like a dream, right? It’s not. It’s possible if you apply the time management tips I share in this post.

How To Better Manage Your Time As A Leader

Before we get into the tips and tricks, I want you to take a look at a plate spinner performance. You’ll see the person move from plate/pole to plate/pole. It’s frantic. It induces anxiety. It’s not what we should chase after.

So, what can we do to reduce the anxiety, the stress, and the feeling there’s not enough time? Let’s try these tactics to get you to manage your time effectively.

Prioritize your tasks:

Everyone comes at you with a new project, idea, or hustle to back. They think their tasks and ideas are your problem. They’re not.

You need to learn how to clearly define and prioritize the tasks you hope to accomplish. You can use a tool such as the Eisenhower Box to achieve this. 

The Eisenhower Box is a system where you create four boxes in a 2×2 matrix. On the left side, the top box is marked Important. The bottom box is marked Not Important. On the top row, the left box is marked Urgent. The right box is marked Not Urgent. 

Place your tasks in each of the boxes. Important and urgent tasks go in the top left box. Not Urgent and Not Important go in the bottom right box. And so on.

You can now visualize which tasks you need to tackle now, which tasks you need to tackle soon, and which tasks you don’t need to worry about.

Block off time for uninterrupted work:

We can struggle to be effective in our productivity because we’re constantly being interrupted. This could be the ring, ring, ring of your cell phone, knocks on the office door, or email notifications. It’s hard to be effective when you’re being interrupted.

You have to learn how to block off concentrated time for the work you need to accomplish today.

Use your calendar to block out the time. Make it so that your organization’s receptionist can see your calendar and play gatekeeper. Turn off notifications on your phone or laptop. 

By blocking out time to concentrate on the work at hand, you can accomplish more in a shorter period of time than with distractions.

Learn to say no:

I used to be a yes-man. I thought I had to say yes to every opportunity (don’t get me wrong, I still like to say yes to things). But I found that by saying yes to everything, I was saying no to important things. It killed my time management because I now had more things to fit into the same amount of time that I had before.

Become a no-man. 

Look at the opportunities presented to you. See how they align with your priorities. You may even use the Eisenhower Box I mentioned earlier to see where these activities would go.

Saying no isn’t a bad thing. You don’t need to feel guilty about it.

If there’s anything that I learned from saying no, it’s that someone else now gets the joy of saying yes. 

Review and adjust:

We’re constantly changing the things that we do. Our tasks and priorities change. That means we have to make time to review and adjust our time management techniques.

Look at your calendar. See what needs to be changed. Look at your techniques. Are there things that are working? Keep doing them. Are there things that are no longer working? Try something else.

Our time management journey isn’t static. It’s always changing. It’s fluid. You’ll find what once worked no longer works. What once didn’t work now fits in with your style.

Be willing to review and adjust.

Follow Me