It's About Time
"I opened up my calendar on Monday morning and saw that I had 37 meetings this week."
A client said that to me last week. Another one said,
"I need to find some time between meetings to actually do some work".
A topic that comes up time and again with clients and my team is time management. Over the next few weeks I'll share with you some of what has worked for them - and me - over the years.
Starting off today with how to prioritize what you're doing, we'll explore how to better arrange your day and week, reduce context switching, and ensure you plan time for personal as well as work-related activity.
Before we get started on this topic, a quick note on experimentation. For all of the things I'm going to share with you, I'd encourage you to try them out. Experiment with them for a few weeks or a month. See how you get on. Then adopt what works for you, or adjust accordingly. Some things will work...and some won't. However, I'd recommend you give them a try for a decent amount of time.
After all, as Marshall Goldsmith said, "What got you here won't get you there".
So, first things first, are you doing the right things?
Well, what are the right things? The answer depends on your role and your priorities at any given time. For example, it could be any of the following:
· Planning and strategizing
· Communicating with stakeholders
· Leading your staff
· Working with customers
· Dealing with administrative activity
How do you know what you should be spending your time on? The Eisenhower Matrix is a simple decision-making tool that considers the Urgency and Importance of your activity.
Consider your meetings and tasks through this lens. What activities are urgent? What are important? Then do the following, in order:
1. Focus on the important and urgent tasks. Do these first.
2. Schedule the tasks that are important - these things need doing, but not necessarily right away. Put them on your calendar, and stick to them.
3. Delegate activities that aren't important for you. Give these to a team member. In the case of meetings, particularly recurring ones, consider whether you need to go to every iteration. Could a team member go instead of you, and provide you with a quick summary in your next 1:1?
4. Delete this stuff...it's neither important nor urgent and it's not worth your time.
This simple tool can help provide clarity when you're feeling overwhelmed with everything that is on your plate.
Next time we'll look more at the structure of your weeks and days. In the mean time, give this a go, and let me know how it works for you.