In life, we are given many responsibilities. Those responsibilities multiply as you age, take on new hobbies/projects and get new jobs. And as a busy CEO, they inevitably grow even more. Before we know it, looking at our list of responsibilities can get overwhelming.
Family. Company. Finances. Employees. Resources. Abilities. Time. And the list goes on…literally.
While they are responsibilities, they're also blessings, and it is also our responsibility to be a good steward of these blessings.
Arguably, one of the most difficult things to manage is our time.
Everyone has 24 hours in a day. And each day, we wake up and choose how to spend those 24 hours.
I think it's safe to say we rarely end our days by climbing into bed and saying, "Wow, that was a perfectly scheduled, well-managed day." Many of us often feel like we're running ragged, dividing our time up to so many different people/things and trying to get it all accomplished.
Do you find yourself saying or thinking, "There just aren't enough hours in the day…?" Is it more rare to have a blank date on your calendar rather than one filled up from morning to night? Does your to-do list grow longer as the day goes on?
We must manage our time well in order to keep up productivity and efficiency. And, it is possible.
We can be in control of our schedules. We can manage our schedules, rather than have our schedules manage us. I know it can seem easier said than done.
Let's look at a few practical ways to manage your time well.
- Utilize Your Mornings – I'm not sure what time you wake up in the morning, but the earlier you can wake up before work, the more time you have to get stuff done. I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but this can really have an effect on the remainder of your day. You have to evaluate your personality and see what will benefit you to accomplish in the morning in order to start your day on the right foot. Maybe it's spending time thinking, responding to emails and going to the gym. Maybe it's making a well-balanced breakfast, spending quality time with your kids and setting aside time to blog/journal. It could be meeting a friend for coffee, taking your dogs for a walk or reading a couple chapters in your favorite book. Everyone is different. Find out what you can do in the morning to utilize your time well. It feels good to check things off of your to-do list before you begin your workday.
- Make a To-Do List – You may or may not be a list person, but this is a surefire way to really stay on top of your day-to-day schedule. Use what works well for you: iPhone notepad, sticky notes, a physical journal, alarm reminders. If you take a couple minutes each night to write down what has to be accomplished the next day, you will be able to better manage your time in order for those things to get accomplished.
- Take Breaks – Everyone needs a break. I know your days may seem like you don't have one second to rest, but this is important. Our brains can only focus on one thing for so long. After a certain point, our striving becomes counterproductive because of our state. Don't forget to give yourself some grace and take a second to focus your mind elsewhere. Take a short walk, call a friend, watch a funny video clip, read an interesting article. These will help break up your day, increase your mood and boost your motivation.
- Delegate – This can be hard for some. Why ask someone else to get something done when you can just do it all yourself? However, it is beneficial when you can give some tasks to your employees. It allows you to be more productive and get done what is actually important for you to get done. It builds trust between you and your employees when you delegate an important task for them to complete for you.
As you can see, it only takes a few small changes to make a big impact in managing your time each day. These strategies are essentially tools to help you take control of your day and be as productive as you can.
Which strategy do you think would help you manage your time better?
Ryan C. Bailey is an Executive Coach who helps business leaders develop in-demand high performing teams.