Winning the Time Management War
In today’s competitive business environment, leaders are trying to do more with less – many are feeling pressure to meet or exceed goals in this challenging circumstance. Sometimes, the key to maximizing your resource is simply maximizing your time.
Having too little time is one of the most common complaints voiced by executives and business owners. And over the last several years, time may be shrinking even more - you may now be responsible for areas beyond your job description, such as human resources, facilities, IT or a host of any other business critical functions.
Being effective is not about getting everything done; it’s about getting the right things done and the right time.
Reallocate your time to higher-level duties to make a more strategic contribution to the company.
Prioritize your time daily and delegate tasks to trusted employees wherever possible.
Use technology smartly to make your day more efficient, and take time away from the office to distress and boost your creativity.
However, how we choose to spend our time can make an enormous difference in the way we lead our companies. Here are some good tips to maximizing your time to focus on the strategy side of business:
To make a more strategic contribution to the company, you must find ways to remove yourself from the daily minutia and “fire drills” that can fill up a day. Ironically, to ultimately succeed in winning the time war, you must assign yourself more work, such as gaining a better understanding of operations, getting more involved in the sales process, or building closer relationships with strategic customers. While it may sound counterintuitive, dedicating yourself to higher-level duties can help you break old habits of getting caught up in other types of work that can be assigned to others.
Take time each morning to consider what you can do to add the most value to your day. If it is participating in winning new business, managing your inventory or motivating your employees, focus fully on it.
This is a classic piece of advice for time management, but is often one of the hardest things to do. We are often ingrained with the attitude that if you want to get it done right, it’s best to do it yourself. When you are running a business, that attitude is just not realistic. For example, try delegating two or three well defined tasks and holding people accountable through weekly "touches". You will be surprised how much space it creates for you.
Technology is supposed to make your life easier, but sometimes, it can be overwhelming. If used judiciously, it can really make your day more efficient. Use tools that give you a view and insights into your business. For example, COMS, GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance’s (CDF) online inventory management tool, offers great insights into inventory and access to Analytics Online, data that will help CDF’s customers make more informed decisions quicker.
Many of us feel guilty when we leave the office early or take vacation. However, time away from the office can really benefit your health by decreasing stress. It can also boost your creativity, as you may think of a new solution or way to approach an existing problem if your mind has time to think freely. While it may be unrealistic to be gone for a long vacation without checking in, even an occasional long weekend “staycation” can be beneficial.
Managing your time is a full-time commitment. But if practiced regularly, you will have more time to spend on what will impact your business the most. Being effective is not about getting everything done; it’s about getting the right things done and the right time. The better you master time management, the more control you will be of your business' destiny.
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