5 Tips to Be an Effective Time Leader
Do you often feel that the day gallops away with you and you don’t get done what you wanted? Do you get frustrated by all the items that distract you in your day? Well, the good news is that you are not alone—but the challenge is that you are being reactive in your business, rather than pro-active.
Great leaders understand that they need to grab the reins and take charge of their business if they are to be successful. They need to lead their day, rather than let the day lead them. And whilst this is easy to say, it's often more difficult to do in practice.
In fact, I didn’t realise how much I let distractions like email and social media run my day until earlier this month. I moved house and didn’t have any internet access for three weeks. My mobile phone signal was just one bar, so I also only had limited internet access through my phone. What a revelation. I got so much done, and this was just highlighted by the day my internet satellite was installed—and I suddenly got dragged back into the distractions of email and social media and had the least productive day ever.
So, here are my top tips to help you create unbridled productivity.
Turn Off All Notifications
I know it sounds obvious and you’ve been told this before, but turning off all the notification settings on your computer and phone can be transformational. Did you know that research by Google revealed that, once you are disturbed from a task, it takes you 20 mins to get back to the level of focus you had before the interruption?
Stop Task Switching
Just figure out how much time you waste daily switching between tasks caused by the interruptions (as noted above). Only work on one task at a time until it's complete.
Block and Tackle
To avoid task switching, block and tackle your day by booking out times in your diary to get tasks done. In my experience if something is booked in my diary, it happens—if it isn’t, it doesn’t. So block time each week for managing your accounts, business development, blog writing, coaching team members, or whatever it might be for you. Research reveals that 90 minute chunks are the optimal time for focus, so break your tasks into this time frame. If you think a project will take longer, then schedule multiple 90 minute blocks with breaks between them.
Track Your Results
Set goals for each day, week, and month, and then be ruthless in tracking these metrics. When you first start tracking your activities, you may well be surprised at what you are doing. Be courageous and stay with it, as the more you focus on these metrics, the more energy you will put into achieving them—and then within a short period of time you will experience rapid results.
Plan Out Your Day
Set an intention every day for what you will achieve that day, and then prioritise your activities so that you achieve this. Your priorities should be the activities that will enable you to achieve your bigger goal and vision, and they should be done first thing each day.
Finally, consider adopting the 90-Day Year Principle where you think about your business as having only 90 days. You then break down the 90 days into 6 two-week sprints. It’s easy to focus on what you want to achieve in 2 weeks, and this then drives your daily and weekly plan. Having a plan makes it easier to prioritise what you want to achieve each day, and if you also have some accountability in place, you will also be more motivated to achieve this.
Just imagine what would be possible in your business over the course of a year if you made just a 1% improvement in your productivity per day. The compound effect would kick in and you would experience a 10x improvement.