Congratulations!

Your elevation means;

  1. Your hardwork has paid off
  2. Your organization has identified your potential to add more value than what you have been doing so far
  3. That not only your technical & job skills are sufficient for you to succeed, but you also have the skills, mindset & attitude to help others success

Obviously, you have more responsibilities now.

More responsibilities mean more challenges.

And in today’s fast-paced world of changes, time becomes even more crucial. There are more demands on your time, while you still only have 24 hourse available a day.

In addition, you are not only responsible for your time, you are also responsible for time of your team members.

Initially, you may be enthusiastic to impress and take up more than you can handle.

This can get a bit overwhelming. This can affect your performance in the long run. After all, you want to be effective & succesfull  leader for a long period to come, not just in the short term, right?

There are many strategies and techniques prescribed over ages, there so many time management apps, sometimes even those can become a bit overwhelming.

Why don’t we start with 3 very simple, baic, but very effective strategies. They are effective not only because they are simplistic, but because they involve a right mix of technique and mindset. These strategies don’t only work at the superficial level, but also impact, change & evovle our habits, resulting into improved behaviour.

Impact of such techniques are long lasting.

We call these techniques “The d-Triangle” at ForwardSprint.

And those three techniques are;

 

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Delete

We assume you have been using some kind of task management tool. It can be an app, a paper based to-do list, sticky notes, but something, to record & schedule your activities.

If you are not using one, please start using it today.

If we have to recommend a few, you can get a list of a few tools here;

But you won’t be able to get everything you do on your to-do list.

Afterall, you don’t schedule Facebook browsing, do you?

Such activites, are mostly mindset problems or issues of habit & discipline.

They are biggest time wasters. They reduce the hours from your day.

You have to identify and remove such activities. You will need to be mindful and first about them. There are tools & apps available which can identify the time you spend on such activities and can proactively warn you about them. In fact, iPhone has one such app built in. No matter how, but you need to get rid of (or at least reduce) such activities. Pay close attention to all such unscheduled activities where you spend time, and if they are not fruitful in any manner, delete them.

But what about scheduled activities?

As a leader, your area of influence has increased. Your touch points have increased. There may be demands from various quarters for your time, for different activities.

Have a close look at such requests. Are there activities where you won’t be adding any value? Are there any activities which don’t add any value? Can you either excuse yourself from such activities?

Probably meetings will be top of such lists. Not all meetings are wasteful, but they might be taking more time than required. Can you think of ways of eliminating such meetings or at least time-box the meetings, but setting appropriate agendas and then ensuring that the discussions don’t go off-the-track?

Think similarly for any activity that can come in your to-do list. Learn the art of saying no when appropriate. Find out way to reduce time spent. A critical, objective look may free up a lot of your time.

Delay

Activities which remain after deletion, need to be prioritized.

But, how you prioritize is very important.

There is reactive prioritization and there is practive prioritization.

You may tend to prioritize your activities in the order that they come. Or you may be working on activities which become absolutely urgent, irrespective of whether they are important or not. (Ref. Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix)

One of the new managers we were working with used to prioritize based on simplicity of the tasks. Simple tasks first, complex tasks later. We don’t need to say that this manager soon got into trouble with a lot of important, complex tasks pending.

Instead of such arbitrary criteria, you should prioritize for effect. Which activities are going to add most value to you, to your team and to your organization? Do those first. Arrange your activities in the order of diminishing importantance.

This way, you will be able to make a difference earlier on.

Delegate

Delegation is not just a time management technique. It is also an excellent way to develop your team.

Identify the activities which can be done by others on your team. This will not only free up your time, but if done rightly, it can mean additional challenge resulting into motivation for your team members.

Of course, you might need to train your team member to do such activities right. But you will find that such training is very fruitful, especially for repeating activities.

But are these techniques sufficient?

These three are very basic, easy techniques, but they are also a must for effective leaders. There are a number of other tools & techniques which can compliment your efforts on these three areas to actually perform such activities. And you should be exploring those on regular basis.

However, your time management efforts do not stop here. Remember, now you are responsible for your team’s time to. You should also teach and encourage them on effective time management techniques.

You can also use automation & intelligent asistants (if they are available for the right job). One of the companies where we were helping improve project execution productivity had a number of tasks for stakeholder reporting. There were quite a few categories of stakeholders and each of them required reports in different formats & frequencies. However, ultimately they used to contain the same information. Earlier, the team used to create each report individually & manually. We introduced automation by using tools like Zapier to facilitate data flow between system, which then generated & distributed the reports automatically at different schedules. This saved around 2 hours every week for the team and helped them spend more time of activities which directly provided the more customer value. The possibilities are endless here.

If you sepnd time on meaningful activities, it will make you happy & productive, your teams effective and add value to your business. Isn’t it what we all want?