These days, time is the ultimate luxury. We executive leaders easily fall into the trap of living on our gadgets in an effort to streamline our lives and buy more time. We try so hard to make our lives easier, but sometimes we end up just living our lives faster.
If you want to buy back some real time, instead of losing yourself in it, follow my five simple steps to a more productive professional life:
- Unplug. It’s not easy to gain the right perspective if we spend most of our day in the middle of an information stream. Take an hour or two and cut off the info overload. Tell everyone that you are unavailable, shut off all your gadgets, go somewhere private, and take some time to think about what is important and what is not. What are your goals? Where are you going? What will it take to get there?
- Prioritize. Once you have your head cleared, you need to figure out your priorities. Ask yourself this question: What task can I do that will get me the most return on my time investment? Think about the project that will make the biggest impact on your business. Make a list of these types of tasks and establish them as your top priorities. If you have a list of things to do everyday, and one or two of them are truly essential, do those items first thing in the morning.
- Delegate. Look at your list and identify what is not essential. Which items can you drop or delegate to someone else? Then, as you focus on your essential tasks, check back on that list periodically. You may realize that the less essential tasks are really unnecessary ones.
- Simplify. Do not rely on a bunch of gadgets, or the latest and coolest applications to manage your time. A simple notebook and a simple to-do list can work wonders. Forget about the tools and think only of the tasks at hand. If you are too focused on the tools, you may not actually be getting anything done!
- Focus. Most of the time multi-tasking is a waste of time. You cannot get things done when you have 10 other things vying for your attention. Focus on the essential task in front of you, to the exclusion of all else, and you are much more likely to get it completed, in less time, with less effort.
Streamlining your professional life is easier than you think. Don’t be afraid to cut the “fat” from your schedule and be ruthless about it. In everyone’s schedule there are unnecessary things sucking up time. Get rid of them and take your time back!
What time suckers have you found in your schedule?
Howard Shore is an executive leadership coach and founder of Activate Group Inc, based in Miami, Florida. His firm works with companies to deliver transformational management and business coaching to executive leadership. To learn more about executive leadership coaching through AGI, please visit activategroupinc.com, contact Howard at (305) 722-7216 or email him.