For a business leader, time management is especially problematic given their wide-ranging responsibilities and limited hours in the day. Lost time is not only never found again, but not managing it strategically harms the executive’s well-being, effectiveness and organizational performance.
A recent Harvard Business School study followed, around the clock, 27 top-performing CEOs of publicly-traded companies worth on average $1.3 billion, Inc. reports. With the help of their executive assistants, over 60,000 hours were tracked across a period of three months.
In part, the purpose of the study was to analyze the raw data of actual time allocation and provide recommendations on how to increase time efficiency.
Here are six findings in the study to help boost efficiency:
1. Schedule downtime and regular activities—A 10-minute break here and there gives you time to catch your breath, review what’s next and center yourself before moving forward. Additionally, schedule all the regular activities you do like getting the mail, walking the dog, picking up the dry cleaning, going to the gym or picking up the kids. When these recurring tasks are accounted for it will help with allocating the time left.
2. Include buffers between meetings—Remember to add time between appointments to account for delays.
3. Master the art of delegation—Planning and creating a vision forward for your organization is more important than overseeing day-to-day decisions.
4. Set yourself up for tomorrow, the day before—Prepare for the next day at the end of each day. You’ll sleep better if you’ve already recorded your thoughts and agenda.
5. Include time to develop yourself and your team—Invest in leadership development. Start by identifying areas where you and your team can improve.
6. Use email with caution—Email is a huge time suck. The best policy for most internal questions that arrive by email is to address them face-to-face or by phone, when possible. Take time to walk through the company facilities as often as possible so you can answer those emailed questions. These friendly visits also let everyone know the communication lines are open. Read the full story.