At Haus of Coaching, we meet professionals all the time who are overwhelmed – in fact, pretty much everyone I know feels that they have too much to do, and too little time to do it. Time is a finite resource though, and you can’t create more of it: it’s all about what you choose to do with the hours and minutes available. 
 
Effective time management looks different for everyone. We work with many leaders to help them to find ways that are right for them to get more done - and to support their teams to become more productive too. Better efficiency, better work-life balance, and less stress for everyone. 
 
In this blog, we’ll explore some of the strategies that could help you reclaim your day, and even help you to say “no” more often... 

The Mindset Shift 

Before diving into specific tactics, it’s crucial to adopt the right mindset. You have a certain number of hours every day, and it’s up to you how you use them. Embrace the idea that you have control over your actions and decisions; because when you believe that, you’ll feel empowered to take charge of your schedule, rather than being a passive victim of tasks, and the time constraints you have around doing them. 

Prioritisation: at the Heart of Self-Management  

Not all tasks are created equal, and you don’t have to do everything this minute. If you don’t know where to start with prioritising that list, or if you like to put a bit of science into these prioritising decisions (and who doesn’t like to justify these things with a bit of logic?), you could try using the Eisenhower Matrix. This files your tasks into four quadrants: 
 
1. Urgent and Important: Tasks that require immediate attention. These are critical for short-term and long-term goals - there’s a high risk that if you don’t do them today, there will be a lot of issues to deal with tomorrow. 
 
2. Important but Not Urgent: Tasks that help you to achieve your overall goals, strategy and purpose, but don’t need to be done this minute. Focus on these to keep the wheels from falling off in future. 
 
3. Urgent but Not Important: Tasks that demand immediate attention, but don’t contribute significantly to your goals. Delegate, outsource or minimise these where possible. 
 
4. Not Urgent and Not Important: Tasks that do not add value and can be eliminated, put on the “nice to have list”, or significantly reduced. 
 
Getting this more objective perspective on what’s really important to you, and the reason you’re doing your job, is a perfect way to start deciding where to allocate your time on a given day. 

 The Power of Planning 

Now you’ve got your scientifically-prioritised list of tasks, you can plot them into a plan – because planning is the cornerstone of effective self-management. Business and project planning software can be especially helpful for this when you’re delegating certain tasks out, and organising what needs to be done, when and by whom. Put aside some planning time in your diary every week, so you can go through this prioritisation process, allocate time for your priorities, delegate, and anticipate any obstacles. 

Learn to Say No 

“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.” Warren Buffett 
 
Warren Buffett has it right – learning to say “no” is the key to reducing that task list, spreading yourself too thinly, and succumbing to overwhelm. That’s what makes the difference between successful, and very successful: the focus, time and energy to devote to what’s important. 
 
Overcommitting dilutes your focus and reduces the quality of your work – and adds to the tasks that are likely falling into quadrants 3 and 4 of your matrix. Evaluate each new request against your priorities and existing commitments. Politely declining protects your time, and allows you to give those precious hours to the tasks that will achieve what’s important. 

Energy Management 

Your productivity is heavily influenced by your physical and mental wellbeing. Give time to activities and habits that replenish your energy: exercise, fresh air, adequate sleep, and healthy eating will all fill up your wellbeing meter. By managing your energy levels, you can maintain consistent productivity throughout the day – and taking regular breaks during the working day to recharge is a really simple way to start doing that. 
 
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that can help you do just that, and many people find it effective for enhancing their focus, and boosting their productivity. It involves working in blocks of 25 minutes, known as “Pomodoros,” followed by a 5-minute break. After four Pomodoros, take a longer break of 15-30 minutes. This can keep your levels of concentration high, and reduce the risk of burnout – especially that exhausted brain feeling. The whole idea is that if you work in short, intense bursts, you can accomplish more in less time. 

Find your Unique Mix of Solutions 

Mastering the clock is about making deliberate choices with your time, and these are just a few ideas that have worked well for some of our clients. There is no magic bullet answer here: every client is different, and finds a unique approach that works for them – that’s why a coach is more useful than a time management training course. The right mix of strategies is different for everyone, and working with a coach is best way to discover what’s going to work for you. Contact Haus of Coaching today to discover the unique time management formula that will work its magic on your time, energy and productivity. 
 
Contact Haus of Coaching today to discover the unique time management formula that will work its magic on your time, energy and productivity. 
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