By Marija Kojic
One survey shows that people spend 2 hours and 2 minutes every day procrastinating. At the end of the week, this number builds up to 10 hours and 10 minutes a day–the time we could be spending on meaningful work instead.
But, how can we make the most of our time, and ensure we don’t procrastinate?
To help you stay on track with your work, and manage more in less time, here are 4 ways successful business leaders manage their time:
Delegate and eliminate what you can
Tackling all your company’s problems seems like a great way to keep everything under control – but it’s an ineffective way of spending your time. When you micromanage like this, you’re halting everyone else from making any real contributions, and helping with the workload.
The answer is to delegate the tasks you can to other team members and let them take on some of the responsibilities. Also, consider whether you should eliminate some of the tasks altogether.
To figure out what tasks to delegate and eliminate, first, list them all in one place. Then, consider them based on their urgency and importance:
- If a task is important – do it yourself. Just make sure you do the most urgent task first.
- If it’s urgent, but not important – delegate it to the right team member
- If a task is neither urgent nor important – eliminate it from your to-do list
Track time you spend on activities
The road to better time management starts with knowing how you spend your time, so tracking the time you spend on activities with a free time-sheet calculator is recommended.
Once you know where, and for how long you waste time, you’ll know how much time you can allocate to more important activities. You’ll also gain insight in whether the time you spend working on certain activities pays off, in relation to the amount you earn for them.
Once you know how much time each activity takes, you’ll have a better understanding of how you should allocate time, in relation to the hourly rate you charge for separate activities. Always aim to spend more time on more profitable activities.
If you find that you spend 3 hours every day on meetings, emails and phone calls, know that this is the time you could spend on more profitable activities. By doing so, you’ll make the time you spend at work more efficient.
Perfect your email management
This shows that emails consume a lot of our time, so if you want to perfect time management, first you have to perfect your email management.
The best way to do so is to:
- set times when you’ll check emails, such as early mornings and before you finish work – resist the urge to check your inbox every few hours
- prioritize your emails, don’t read and answer them at random – select your priority emails, and focus most of your inbox time on them
- delete old emails, and archive those you may want to revisit later – this way, you’ll make your most important emails stand out
- Write email templates – use them for recurring emails
Make meetings more efficient
Meetings are important to streamline work inside your team, but they can easily slip into an unproductive chat. To avoid this:
- Set clear objectives and goals–this way, the meeting is less likely to go off track.
- Determine the time you’ll spend on the meeting in advance. Rather than opting for a clean 30 minutes, opt for 15 or 20 minutes–when you allocate less time for a meeting, you’re more likely to focus only on your agenda. But, if you set 30 minutes, and finish in 20, you’re more likely to continue talking about unimportant matters, just because you have time.
- If you have more than one meeting in plan for the day, schedule them all one after the other. Make sure that you pick out a specific time of day for meetings, preferably a time when you’re less likely to focus on your most important tasks.
Managing your time better is possible, you only have to know the right hacks, and use the right strategies.
Make sure to streamline your inbox management, as well as plan out your meetings.
Track the time you spend on activities, to gain valuable insights in how you spend time, and whether your work pays off.
Also, always eliminate and delegate the tasks you can, to leave room for more important activities.
Marija Kojic is productivity enthusiast who works in the IT business and frequently writes about business topics.