Are you Letting Other People Control your Time?
One reason I am hired by companies and organizations to coach their employees is to help them manage their time. It is easy to assume that if someone has been working for ten or fifteen years they have figured out how to do this already. Not so! Managing your time effectively so that you consistently meet deadlines and give people the confidence that you are on top of things is not easy to do. Time management has so much to do with the way that you communicate with your colleagues and clients. And because much of the way you communicate is habitual, this means you will need to step back, assess and evaluate your communication, and actually change it. Sound overwhelming? Here are some areas for making changes that ultimately will improve the way you control your time instead of allowing others to do so.
Calendar invites – instead of accepting them automatically, ask the meeting leader if you can skip it this time or just attend the agenda items that involve you directly.
Email – stop answering every email without prioritizing them first. Of course you always will need to respond to “fires” from senior leaders, your manager or clients. However you can organize your email using flags, colors, or folders to increase your efficiency. And this will force you to be more thoughtful about your email. If you don’t know how, then take an Outlook webinar.
Deadlines – most deadlines are made up and can be negotiated. Develop the habit of asking for a different timeline if you need it or delivering portions of the task or project. Just be sure that you follow through on meeting the deadline.
Delegation – if you are fortunate to have direct reports or a team think about what you can delegate every day. Doing something simply because you always have is not a reason to keep doing it. And remember that delegation is more about career development than it is about moving work off your plate.
Instituting any of these ideas means that you will need to slow down, contemplate, and keep doing it so they become productive habits.