How Successful Leaders Manage Their Time

Brian Thomas, VP & CIO, Swope Health Services

Brian Thomas, VP & CIO, Swope Health Services

Maximizing time is one of the keys to success for busy leaders. For those who are struggling with time-management, here are some tips for time-management effectiveness:

Utilize Transition Times

If you’re like most people, there’s a lot of down time in your life that you could be using, but aren’t. This time might refer to when you’re waiting at the doctor’s office, taking the subway into work, or even waiting for water for your tea to boil. Maximize this wasted time by using it to make lists, prioritize your daily activities, send emails, or make the call that you’ve been putting off.

Make a Priority List

Successful leaders not only know what they have to do in a day, but they also know how to prioritize those items. Make two lists: one of all the things you have to do in a day or week, and one of all of the to-do items that are most important to you. Then, set up a time-management plan that prioritizes the things that are most important to you. Once these are scheduled, fill in free time with the other things to be accomplished.

Delegate Tasks

Most leaders get to where they are by being Type-A personalities that want to do it all. And while being a go-getter certainly helps you get farther in life, learning when to delegate and disperse tasks out is also a key part of time management. For more menial tasks that don’t require your expertise, allow someone else to get it done for you. Whether it’s answering emails or putting together the menu for your upcoming fundraiser, you don’t need to — nor should you — do it all.

Focus on the Short-term

Sure, long-term goals for yourself, your business, and your family are all important. But in order to reach those long-term goals, you’ll need to establish some short-term ones, too. Setting short-term goals allows you to focus your time specifically on these, maximizing every spare second. Achieving small goals on a daily basis will help you move you towards the direction of reaching your bigger goals.

Eliminate Time Wasters

We all have them — those things that we really don’t need to be doing, but do, regardless sans any personal benefit. This might include using social media, playing a game on your smartphone or tablet, or doodling on a notepad out of boredom. To help you with your time management skills, identify the things that you waste your time on. Then, either make the decision to eliminate these time wasters entirely, or schedule a part of your day that’s dedicated solely to them. If you choose the latter option, make sure the amount of time that you schedule is reasonable, and that you don’t participate in your time-wasting activity during another part of the day.

Time management can be difficult, but is one of the many keys to optimizing success for busy people. To start maximizing your time today, utilize transition times, make a list of your priorities, delegate tasks, focus on short-term goals, and eliminate time wasters from your day.

[This piece was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse by Brian Thomas, VP & CIO at Swope Health Services, an organization that provides primary health care and behavioral health services throughout Greater Kansas City.]

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