time management for executives

Keys to Unlock Time Management for Executives

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If you are a perfectionist, you often want the job be done perfectly. But when it comes to time management for executives, perfectionism will work against you.

Hard-working, high achieving executives with perfectionist tendencies can experience more stress than someone who is not a perfectionist.

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Let Go of Perfectionism To Improve Time Management for Executives

Know that it’s okay not to do it all.

Forget about multi-tasking. Multi-tasking is synonymous with doing several jobs poorly all at once. That’s very frustrating to someone with perfectionist tendencies.

You don’t have to accomplish everything in one day. Instead, concentrate on what’s right in front of you that has to be done first. Get that finished and then move on with the next item.

Give everything you need to do a time limit.

Time management for executivesWhether you’re a perfectionist or not, this is a good rule of thumb for anyone looking for better time management as an executive. Open-ended tasks have a tendency to pile up because there’s no finish line.

So when you look at the whole picture of what has to be accomplished with the time you have, it can feel overwhelming. It’s better to break down the things you have to do to bite-size chunks.

For example, if you have a project that has to be completed by a certain deadline, you need to divide that project up by how long it will take to get the work done.

If the project will take 40 hours to complete and you have two weeks to get it done, you know you have to work on it 20 hours per week or 5 hours per day.

And take into account interruptions and other obstacles that will get in the way.

Don’t schedule anything back to back.

You have to have some time – even if it’s just a few minutes – where your mind can relax and get away. Mental exhaustion is often more draining than physical exhaustion.

Like your body, your brain can’t go full speed ahead on something without needing a time out every so often. In between your to do list tasks, break and do something enjoyable – or do nothing at all.

Organize all your tasks.

Divide all of your tasks up in your personal and professional life by hours, days, months, seasons or year. 

For example, if you know that every fall the gutters on your home have to be cleaned from the leaves that fell, you’ll want to put some time for that task on your schedule.

If you know that every year, there’s a party at work and you’ll need to bring something as well as show up, put that on your calendar, too.

If you own a business that has seasonal items, you’ll want to schedule to take care of releasing those products, press releases or email newsletters ahead of time.

You don’t want to wait until November to talk about November projects.

Look over your to-do list and cut it down!

For starters, you should have one for both home and office.

Most busy female executives end up with poor time management because their to-do list has too many items on it.

That’s because we all like to achieve things and even the possibility of achieving things makes us feel good.

But people often set up tasks that they can’t accomplish because there’s not enough time.  It’s like setting yourself up for failure.

Whittle the list down and if there’s time left over, you’ll feel a bonus that you got something “extra” done rather than failed to complete something imperative.

Get Organized for Better Time Management

Everyone has areas of life where there’s a lack of organization. Whether it’s at home or the office, we misplace things and we can’t find things when we need them because we’re not organized.

But getting organized is a big help with time management.

Declutter your home and office before you attempt to tackle staying organized and managing your time better.

Forget the elaborate systems.

Any system you use for organizing your life that takes a lot of time to keep up with is actually a waste of time. An organizational system should enhance your life, not detract from it.

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You can use simple means such as an expandable folder to keep track of bills that need to be paid or projects that need to be completed. You can use a filing cabinet with hanging folders.

Don’t overcomplicate your organization system. Invest in simple solutions and watch how it transforms the way you manage your time and act in a more productive manner.

Don’t procrastinate.

This is a big problem for a lot of women in all walks of life.

We don’t like to do the things we don’t like to do. It’s as simple as that. No one wants to do the hard jobs that seem boring.

We don’t want to do the job that’s going to take us five hours to complete when the sun is shining and we’d rather kick back and go to the beach or spend time with friends.

When you get the most difficult tasks over with, they’re done and you have that sense of satisfaction that it’s now behind you. One of the biggest time management problems is with paperwork.

If you haven’t switched to electronic file keeping, then it can be easy to get overwhelmed and disorganized just by the volume of documents.

Since you don’t want certain sensitive information stored online, you’ll want to keep that at home.

When you get important paperwork, take care of it immediately. Put it where it needs to go.

If there’s something that requires you to make a phone call before you can put that paperwork away, put the paper in your desk inbox and make a note in your planner to schedule a time to make that call.

Group similar items together at home in order to save time.

For example, when it comes to better home time management, if you have to run errands, group all of the errands that are within the same area together. Try to work it out so that you only have to deal with one errand day a month.

Do the banking, post office needs and any medication pickups on the same day.

Driving can be a big leak in effective time management for executives. And,  since you need to pay attention to driving, you can’t do much else except maybe listen to a podcast or something else you need to listen to.

Do the same at the office.

You can do the same when it comes to work tasks.

Things that have to be done every week can be grouped by days and according to difficulty and length of tasks.

If you know that you need to drop something off at someone’s office and you have a meeting, you can drop the item off while you head to the meeting.

This also helps prevent time wasted chatting when you have to be somewhere.

Have a calendar for both home and office.

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Keep it where you can see it every day. You can put it on the wall or on your desk. The ones with the large blocks that enable you to write appointments in them work best.

This way, you can see your day at a glance and your week and month as well. These larger calendars are better time management tools for executives than the smaller ones you can keep tucked away.

Finding Opportunities to Improve Time Management

You can manage time better by finding lost time. Lost time is that which you didn’t even realize you were wasting in the first place.

It’s almost like keeping change in a piggy bank and one day you realize it’s totaled over $100!

Don’t waste the time that most people do.

Time management for executivesThere are ways to find time that’s often overlooked because people tend to think of time management for executives as being large blocks of time available. But you can do a lot with just ten or fifteen minutes.

Don’t waste the time you have while waiting in a doctor’s office or while exercising. If you like to use a treadmill, you can get one that has a desk so that you can have an integrated fitness and work lifestyle.  Another option is to get a laptop treadmill desk.

Realize that not everything that seems important is.

It only seems that way. Look at your life and stop doing the things that aren’t important that drain your time.

If something isn’t a matter of you being happy and succeeding personally or professionally, then it’s not important.

Run ahead, not behind.

When you get behind schedule, it can make you feel a lot of pressure and it adds stress to your life.

Try to get things done ahead of time because this gives you a buffer in time management.

Delegating is a great way to help with time management.

Most people like to do things themselves because they know then that the job is done correctly. But if you do the things that others can do, it’s draining your time.

For example, some time drains are things like mowing the grass or cleaning the house, scheduling meetings, handling social media updates.

What you can do is to look at how much it costs you do the tasks that you do. If someone else can do them, then you’re not only losing time – you’re losing money.

If you earn $200 per hour, then an hour of mowing the grass costs you $200. But if you pay someone $50 to mow the grass, then you saved an hour and $150 because you gained time.

Deal with emails the right way.

save time when replying to emailsHandling email causes more busy female executives to get off track than any other online task beside social media and online games.

Manage your time wisely with email by setting aside a specific time to deal with email and setting a time limit on how long you’ll take responding to the messages.

If they’re not important, don’t save them to look at later because they’ll only pile up in your inbox. If your budget allows you to, hire an assistant to deal with handling your email.

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