How to improve your time management prowess

Posted by Jeremy van der Heiden on October 29, 2015

"There's never enough time in the day" A sentiment we've all expressed at one time or another. When you are diligently focused on responsibilities, it can almost seem as though the clock moves more quickly.

While we all struggle with time management issues, people in leadership positions often have the most trouble. Executives, supervisors and Community Association Managers all face the same scenarios: one phone call or email in the morning can put your entire day off (and we all know 'emergencies' never come one at a time!). You oversee so many moving parts in a given day that it can take up your full 9 to 5 simply handling operations. This leaves little time to complete the responsibilities you planned for your day, leaving those for the night, or worse, weekend.

While you want to keep everyone happy, the sheer loss in productivity is just as bad for your clients as it is for your business. This is particularly a problem in community association management where timeliness is essential.

Previously, we discussed the dangers of burnout. In the article, I stated that burnout occurs due to a lack of coping mechanisms. Today, I aim to show you how time and energy management is the other side of that coin. The coping mechanisms you need to deal with the fire-hose of stress that you so often face.

Time Management Tips

Dan Kennedy, author and strategic adviser, once explained some of the best ways entrepreneurs and other leaders can improve the handling of their responsibilities in a given day, with the goal of reducing how much time it takes to complete it entirely. Here are a few of his  recommendations for you to consider:

  • Organize Your Tasks. 
    Get organized by creating lists that break-down responsibilities, categorizing them by seriousness and effort. For example, Kennedy states that call, to-do and conference lists can be a good way to silo the various demands of the job.
  • Minimize Meetings. 
    Sure to be a fan favorite, Kennedy suggests that meetings should be kept to a minimum. While executives and supervisors have a bit more control over this than CAM managers, you can still reduce the length of meetings by keeping organized before, during and after.
  • Schedule Time for Core Functions. 
    A tougher one, but still good, is Kennedy's recommendation to set aside blocks of time throughout your day for specfic tasks. Devote these 'calendar holders' to core responsibilities. Turn off your phone and stop checking email for this time frame to help maintain your focus. It helps to set aside the same periods every day, allowing yourself to get into a groove throughout the week.
  • Keep Your Data Organized. 
    Finally, he points out that one needs to be especially skilled at organizing information-related assets. Technology can help in this regard. For example, the ability to access important data on your smart phone, you can save time and energy that would otherwise have been spent searching through emails or bulky paperwork.

Organization only works if you follow it, so you'll need to establish your own routine that fits your unique characteristics. But these suggestions should help to get you started. Now, let's get a bit more scientific.

What is energy management?

Harvard Business Review argued that time management might be somewhat of an antiquated process, and that energy is the real matter of note. Your energy dictates how long it takes to complete both simple and complex tasks in business. Simply put, energy is much more difficult to manage than time.

According to the source, when one is tired, they are not optimally productive or efficient. Engagement and accuracy also suffer if the tiredness persists. Chronic energy deprivation can lead to severe loss of effectiveness. This is why you need to balance both time and energy management to strengthen your performance.

Many sources have written about ways to manage and increase your energy. And there are a lot of health and nutrition sources that are happy to take your money. But there is one thing that you can do to improve your energy that's completely free.

Get more sleep.

Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post gives a great TED talk in which she speaks on the value of getting more sleep:

 

Any time you have a high stress leadership position, burnout is a real and present danger. Take these simple time and energy management tips to heart and you may just find that you are better able to cope with the stress that comes your way, and avoid that fate.

 

* image credit Frankleon via Flickr

* header image credit: Pixabay user SplitShire

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