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Time Management


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Leadership Insights:

Leadership Tips: Simple, on-the-job self improvement ideas to strengthen your leadership skills

Stress: A dozen strategies to reduce on-the-job stress

Leadership Articles: Leadership and team development insights by Jeff Appelquist

Time Management: Strategies and activities to help business leaders manage their time

Leadership Styles: Overview of the frameworks, theories, and styles of leadership

Leadership Power: Six types of power for business leaders

Delegation: Understanding the skill of delegating effectively

Decision Making: Understanding sound decision making

Personalized Growth Plan: Design and begin a personalized leadership growth plan

Communication Tips: Leaders know how to communicate effectively

The Power of Praise: Meaningful praise is a powerful and important motivator

Understanding Feedback: There are five main categories of feedback 

Leadership Responsibilities: A team leader's responsibilities to his or her team

Leader/Team Tension: Leader behavior that can weaken team cohesiveness

Management Framework: A process outline for achieving results

Strategic Planning: Determine where your team has been and where it wants to be

Talent Development: Guidelines for developing the talents of your team members

Engagement Misconceptions: Twelve misconceptions about employee engagement

High-Power Leadership: When does leadership power become counterproductive

Time Management:   Learning to invest your time rather than just spending it

Recognizing that time is our most important resource, Thomas Edison wrote that time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose. Peter Drucker summed it up for business leaders when he said that until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.

So if you feel that you have an unwanted disconnect between the tasks in your work life and your available time for work, you may want to consider some of the time management strategies listed below.

Twenty Time Management Strategies

Time Management Activity: Identifying Time Wasters

Time Management Activity: Tracking Time


Twenty Time Management Strategies

  1. Learn to say “no.“  You can’t do everything, so if possible say “no.“

  2. Learn to delegate.  Learn to use other workers effectively.

  3. Create goals and prioritize your work so you can meet those goals.

  4. Use a software planner to help you manage your time

  5. Break larger tasks into smaller more manageable chunks

  6. Recognize your limits

  7. Put tasks in priority order.  It is often helpful to label tasks as essential, important, and less important.  Work on getting your essentials done first. 

  8. Manage your coffee breaks.  Avoid times when you know you will get involved in long conversations or distractions.

  9. Be sure to take some time away from work to refresh your mind and spirit

  10. Don’t rush from one thing to the next. 

  11. Be aware of how you use time (see time management activities).  Being aware of time will help you manage it.

  12. Limit or reduce distractions—close your door, silence your phone, shut down your e-mail, ask visitors to check with you later, etc.

  13. Follow a work routine.  One of the best ways to manage time is to have a routine and stick to it when you can.

  14. Reserve your high energy times for your toughest or most challenging tasks

  15. Plan your day ahead of time.  Before you go home at night, get a jump on the next day by gathering needed materials, looking up phone numbers, setting priorities, etc.

  16. Control your telephone and e-mail—put them on hold until it is convenient for you.  Don’t allow them to interrupt your work.

  17. Avoid perfectionism.  Be sure you set realistic and achievable priorities for yourself.

  18. Set time limits for work that you do regularly

  19. Get control of the clutter in your office

  20. Don’t procrastinate—look the tough stuff in the eye and go at it.

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Time Management Activity: Identifying Time Wasters

On the chart that follows is a list of common time wasters.  Review the list and then add others that interfere with your time effectiveness.  At the end of each day for one week fill in the time you spent on each of the time wasters.  Total up the “wasted time“ for each day and for the week.  If it looks like you are spending too much time on non-productive activities, commit to eliminating or reducing at least one of the offending time wasters.

Time Wasters






Telephone interruptions






E-mail interruptions






Daydreaming or trying to get yourself going






Doing things that others should do












Working without a plan






Doing something you should have refused or delegated












Clarifying unclear communication






Searching for items






Unscheduled visitors






Idle chatter






Fixing the problems of others






Trying to do too many things at once






Unproductive meetings






Confusion about what should be done and when






Breaks that are too frequent or too long






























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Time Management Activity: Tracking Time

Does time seem to slip by each day and you end up feeling that you didn’t achieve what you wanted to achieve?  One way to attack this problem is to keep track of your time using a simple time diary.  Here is how it works...

1. Over the course of a few days write down how you spent your time in a pocket note pad.  Use a shorthand like “e-mails: 10:00 am, 45 minutes,“ or “Unshceduled visitor conversation: 2:15 pm, 55 minutes,“ etc.

2. At the end of each day use highlight pens to categorize your time:

Yellow = expenditures of time that were non-essential

Blue = expenditures of time that could or should have been shortened or tightened

Green = expenditures of time that supported your work goals and objectives

3. Take a few minutes to assess your use of time.  Answer the following questions:

  • How did you feel about the day? Productive? Non-productive?

  • What can I eliminate? Shorten? Or tighten?

  • Do I spend too much time on non-essential tasks?

  • Is my work focused on my priorities and goals?

  • What tasks during the day frustrated me the most?

4. After a few days tracking your time, identify one or two things that you are going to change to make your use of time more effective and goal focused.

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