Time Management: It’s not just about you

By Ken Schmitt, Founder and President, Sales Leadership Alliance and TurningPoint Executive Search

There is no shortage of information regarding the importance of time management. There is not a professional out there who doesn’t know the value of a well-managed calendar and organized inbox. What many leaders fail to recognize, however, is that their time management trickles down to those around them. How you spend your time impacts how your team spends theirs.

In a professional culture that promotes collaboration, it’s imperative that the leadership embrace that team spirit. Although they may not always be involved in the day to day operations of their team, management drives productivity and morale. If they are unavailable, tough to pin down, distracted or disrupting momentum progress is negatively impacted and frustration mounts. Therefore, when mastering the art of time management, leaders must take into account all who will be impacted by their plans, not simply their own schedules.

5 Tips for Team-Centered Time Management

zero time1. Realistic Priorities: There isn’t a leader out there who doesn’t begin his or her day without a long To Do list. There are always meetings to attend, phone calls to schedule and a mountain of paperwork to be climbed. While prioritizing that To Do list is often driven by urgency and deadlines, it’s important to factor-in the “who” as well as the “when.” In order to accomplish your goals in an efficient manner, everyone on the team needs to be able to work efficiently. Are your priorities manageable given their schedules, other responsibilities and expectations?

2. Effective Scheduling: On its best day, technology is designed to make our lives easier. On its worst day, technology can be the push professionals need to lose their minds. When a team or project meeting is required, using a consistent scheduling process will make the job easier. Whether it’s an official Google invite or a simple group email, ensuring that each person receives the pertinent information and understands how to respond and add it to his own schedule is respectful of everyone’s time. Honoring projected start and end times is imperative!

3. Clear Goals: We’ve all sat in meetings that droned on and on as those in attendance discussed interesting yet irrelevant issues. In addition to adhering to a specific schedule, each meeting should be spent meeting reasonable and achievable goals each person is aware of before the meeting begins. This will help each person stay on task and focused on the prize: productivity and moving a project forward.

4. Location, Location, Location: Not every meeting has to be face-to-face. With the advancements in technology, a productive meeting can be conducted between people in different states and even different countries. However, just because you can meet virtually doesn’t mean you should. There is value in an in-person meeting. First and foremost, it cuts down on the amount of distractions and multi-tasking. In addition, sharing space enhances collaboration and builds team spirit. A productive meeting is accomplished when the best “location” meets everyone’s scheduling needs and workload and ensure productivity.

5. Distractions: The latest research has shown that multi-tasking has become nothing more than a distraction. The more we multi-task, the less we actually accomplish and, in turn, the busier we become. Because our schedules and To Do lists are packed until they are bursting at the seams, it is natural to try and kill many birds with one stone. It’s awfully tempting to return an email or even checking your Facebook page while someone else shares their progress on the current project. You may be checking-off several things on your To Do list (or taking a much needed break) by multitasking, but clearly you are distracted and not focused on the task at hand. Although we feel the pull to be efficient and use every moment to its fullest, there are few things more disrespectful and counterproductive than using scheduled time to accomplish goals that are not on the agenda. As leaders, it is our job to show our team that we respect their time, their work and their ideas. If a meeting is scheduled at a time that best suits everyone’s calendar with a clear start and end time, in a format that addresses the needs of the meeting as well as each person’s location, and the goals are clearly outlined, meetings should move along as efficiently as possible, leaving you plenty of time to return those emails and update your Facebook status.

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