Oops, another missed deadline.
And one more…
In fact, 56% of project managers say they often miss or exceed deadlines in their projects. Another survey shows that 82% of employees don’t use any approaches or systems to manage their time.
In case some of these statistics may be true about you or if you generally struggle to do everything on time, you’ve come to the right place.
To help you out, we’ve collected the six best practices of time management used by CEOs and other managers in their daily work.
But first, let’s start with why it’s important to learn how to manage time and do everything punctually.
Why you should manage time effectively and be punctual
Good time management skills and tactics can help you do the following:
- Reduce procrastination and stress
- Promote self-discipline
- Maximize productivity
- Improve work efficiency
- Discover new opportunities
- Reach bigger goals
Now, let’s move from “why” to actually “how”.
Mastering time – Here’s how leaders do that
Follow the most effective time management tips from founders and managers that allow them to get things done in a structured and timely manner and be highly productive at work.
1. Plan ahead and schedule everything
Let’s talk about X-year plans and single-day planning.
Long-term + short-term planning
Planning is crucial for managing your time, seeing a broader picture of your future, and achieving both short- and long-term goals.
How far in advance should you plan?
Short-range plans typically cover time periods of 12 months or less. Long-range planning can vary from a minimum of a year to five or even ten years.
No matter whether you consider a shorter or longer perspective, you should know how to properly set goals. Try the traditional SMART method or agile goal setting as an alternative.
Slicing your day into separate tasks is one of the best strategies to do everything on time and achieve your goals successfully. Moreover, 10–12 minutes of planning done every day can save you roughly two hours of your time (Brian Tracy, Eat That Frog).
Here’s what Anthony Martin, Founder and CEO at Choice Mutual, says about organizing a workday routine:
2. Use task prioritization techniques and delegate as much as possible
If you deal with whatever task comes up first, we’ve got some bad news for you. It’s the least effective method to manage your tasks and time.
“By prioritizing workload, you can make sure you meet deadlines and complete both important and less important tasks on time,” states Max Wühr, co-founder & CGO of FINN.
Max Wühr shares a list of tried-and-tested task prioritization methods:
- The Eisenhower Matrix
- The 100 Dollar Test
- The Ivy Lee Method
- “Eat the Frog”
- The ABCDE method
- The Kano Model
However, there’s a great concern about task prioritization.
How to prioritize work effectively when everything is important or when your to-do list never ends?
One-word answer: delegation.
You shouldn’t shy away from it, because it’s paramount to leadership success. Look into some delegation strategies for leaders.
3. Allocate time for breaks
What about a couple of coffee breaks, for example?
“After creating a list of your daily assignments and prioritizing them, you should also squeeze some breaks in between,” recommends Jesse Hanson, Content Manager at Online Solitaire & World of Card Games.
It’s vital to have a dedicated break area in the workplace, too.
4. Block out distractors
74% of employees report being constantly distracted at work.
Smartphones appear to be among the most harmful workplace distractions. Two-thirds of workers spend around an hour per day checking their phones, and 65% of them claim Facebook is their #1 attention thief in the smartphone. Not to mention chatty coworkers and noisy offices in general.
How can you minimize distractions, if they pop up from everywhere?
Let’s look at some techniques to block out distractions preferred by CEOs and entrepreneurs to remain concentrated on work and do everything on time:
- Noise-canceling earbuds – Dmitry Bagrov, MD at DataArt UK
- “Do not disturb” mode – Will Woodhouse, founder of FixMyBrokenMac
- Turning off Slack notifications and batching talks with colleagues into slots twice per day – Piet Morgan, founder and CEO of Hammerhead
- Powering devices off altogether – Joe Welstead, co-founder and CEO of Motion Nutrition
If you can’t resist the temptation, simply add “distraction” to your schedule and get distracted only at a certain time of the day.
5. Create a motivational reward system
“Rewarding yourself even for the smallest achievements can go a long way,” as Logan Mallory, VP of Motivosity, puts it.
Logan Mallory shares the three fundamental rules:
- Rewards shouldn’t negate your accomplishments
- Reward’s size should correspond to the amount of work: a smaller reward for a smaller task, a larger reward for a larger one
- Rewards should be immediate
Based on the research, when people get a small but instant reward, they experience greater motivation and enjoyment in their work in comparison with those who wait longer for delayed rewards.
If you lead a team, consider some relevant recognition and reward ideas for your employees as well.
6. Forget about multitasking
Multitasking is a myth and a poor time management habit.
Scientists report: it actually makes you 40% less productive and increases the number of mistakes you make, because your brain can’t process everything simultaneously. It rather “hops” from task to task very quickly. Multitasking hurts brain health and lowers your IQ by 15 points, other studies prove.
Carson Lang, Co-Founder and COO of Test Prep Insight, explains how to ditch your multitasking habit:
Resources and tools for better time management
Grab some useful materials to assist you in organizing your time more efficiently.
- Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy
- The Twelve Monotasks: Do One Thing At A Time To Do Everything Better by Thatcher Wine
- The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington
- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
- The Power of Discipline: How to Use Self Control and Mental Toughness to Achieve Your Goals by Daniel Walter
- Do What Matters Most: Lead with a Vision, Manage with a Plan, Prioritize Your Time by Rob Shallenberger and Steve Shallenberger
- Time Management Central (TMC): to-do lists, time files, forms, and exercises
- Clockify’s Resource Library: statistics, regulations, guides, templates, fun time management games, memes, quotes, etc.
- Time and Attendance by IFP: guides for team leaders and managers on tracking employee time
For tracking and auditing your time, take advantage of the following time management software and tracking apps:
- DeskTime, etc.
Get everything done on time
Doing everything on time can be quite a challenge.
Unless you know some useful tips and tricks on how to organize your work better.
Now that you have received those from C-suite managers and leaders, you can make the most of your time and lead yourself and your team to success.
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