There is no need for people to sacrifice their well-being or their careers according to Ilaria Pareto. Ilaria is a personal development coach who helps people to manage their time better. She helps people achieve their goals, and the key to that is to start believing in yourself and recognising what you want and who you are as a person and as a leader. Ilaria has advised you to help you manage your time better and reach your goals.
Advice to managers that struggle with time
It is common to feel the weight of time, and it can be overwhelming. It can make you feel stuck in one place, and sometimes, you cannot even see the future. When you find yourself in this situation, you should take a step back and understand your relationship with time. Understand what is stopping you from doing the thing you want to do or need to do, but also recognise the opportunities you have with extra time on your hands.
Do a “deep dive” because time is not the issue. It is about how we relate to time and our tasks and responsibilities. Self-awareness is the first thing to focus on because if you are aware of how you spend your time, then you can start taking the next steps to improve your time management.
Tips to help with effective time management:
Do a weekly time audit - it will help you see how you manage your time weekly. Look at what is distracting you during the week and see what you are spending your time on and where you are wasting your time during the week. This will help you to be more aware of your daily routines and habits that impact your time.
Start thinking about time in a different way – effective time management starts with letting go of your control. Managers are often busy executing tasks and controlling the situation at hand. Decide to spend your time investing in your team and building a relationship based on trust. If you invest in your team and trust each other to do the given tasks effectively, you can start letting go of a bit of control. How you delegate and manage your team can also save you a lot of time or waste a lot of time, so take the time to strategize and think of the bigger picture.
Change your attitude from reactive to proactive – it is all about organisation and organising yourself and your time. See if there are opportunities to do things differently. For example, set out time, which can be one hour a day, to plan and organise strategically. If you are organising and planning your day, think about how you want to show up as a leader and set the intention around that. You should first think about being and then about doing. After you’re done thinking about the day and the tasks ahead, do a “brain dump” – put the things that are on your mind on paper. Then highlight everything that you have control over and let go of everything else on the list that you do not have control over. After recognising what you can influence, prioritise the things you do have control over because you should not aim to do everything all at once. It will be easier and more effective if you break it down into more actionable steps. Lastly, take these actionable steps and schedule them – time block your tasks so that you’ll be sure to do them. This small habit will make a big difference over time.
Stop multitasking - multitasking takes up more time and slows you down which will make you less productive. It is not about the amount of stuff you do, but rather the quality of the work. Use your time effectively to focus on one task at a time. Use the Pomodoro technique – schedule your time to focus on one task for a certain time (around 25 to 30 min) and after the time is up, take a five-minute break. Repeat this 4 to 5 times and take a longer break thereafter. This technique will help you to focus more, and in turn, be more effective with your time.
Don’t plan for the best scenario - when you plan you usually plan for the best-case scenario because you think this is how it should happen, or this is how you are going to successfully execute a task. Rather do this when you plan: think about what can go wrong and have a Plan B or Plan C. This will help you to be more prepared for situations which will allow you to be more proactive instead of reactive.
Think about this: if you are reactive 80% of the time, then how are you affecting yourself, your team, and your customers? How effective can you be if you are reactive most of the time instead of proactive?
Find something that grounds and calms you so that you can feel more productive and work more effectively. This can be a 5 min break, a phone call, or listening to the news to help you ground yourself. It is important because time management is not just about managing and planning your time, but also about your mindset and controlling your emotions, and your ability to bounce back.
Focus on being process-driven - there is so much we have to do every day, and we focus on just getting things done. But we should think about the value and the effectiveness of the processes we are going through and doing every day. Focus on the bigger impact the process or task has and not just what is in front of you. This will help you to save time each day. See what you can streamline and batch together (if the tasks are similar) or see what you can make a standard procedure. Once you invest your time in making standards, your life will be easier. Ask yourself what the purpose of the task is and whether it is impactful and if it is even needed. See if you can optimise it or let it go.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day and while managing this time correctly may seem like a challenge, it can be simple if you follow these tips today. Changing your attitude today will make the world’s difference tomorrow.