Avoid these common time management mistakes

Fall is upon us! With summer having come to a close, your schedule is back in full swing. Now is the time to reevaluate your time management approach to make sure you end 2015 achieving your goals. Make the most of your time, work efficiently and smart, and avoid these all too common time management mistakes.

  1. Skipping prioritization - Sure, that expense report is easier to complete than the comprehensive sales strategy you promised to create, but the expense report won’t move you as far towards your goals. During your most productive times of the day, focus on your most important tasks.
  1. Failing to set daily goals - Be realistic and formulate your daily goals based on your weekly and monthly goals. Always leave room for flexibility, you never know when that elusive client will call with a special request.
  1. Succumbing to distraction - Ever spent the day checking email, reading the news, or surfing the internet instead of working? We all have. No doubt you will get distracted throughout the day, however, it is essential to set aside times when you shut off your email, close your internet browser and tuck away your phone. After your work is complete, reward yourself with a 10 minute internet session.
  1. Neglecting to take breaks - Far too often, I have tried to work through the day without stopping. I end up being less productive, and more stressed. Take time to recharge, grab a coffee or go for a short walk. I think you’ll find these breaks help make your day more enjoyable, and more productive.
  1. Multi-tasking - On paper it sounds like a good idea, but in reality it produces less than stellar results. Check out this article on why you should start single tasking.
  1. Failing to reevaluate your schedule - When you start your day, take time to look at your schedule and run through your goals. If you no longer need a meeting, cancel it. This will help you prioritize, schedule breaks, set daily goals and avoid having to multitask. If you are flexible, you’ll be better equipped to handle the unexpected client call at 4:45pm on Friday.

Hopefully, being aware of these common time management blunders will increase your productivity and help you close out those 2015 goals!

Play Nice

One thing I find interesting about a peer advisory group is how CEOs “play" together.  Their behavior during an eight-hour Forum Day is indicative of how they interact in other relationships of their lives—both professional and personal.  This is particularly evident when a member is seeking wise counsel by presenting to the Convene Team a business opportunity/challenge. Is a CEO member distracted by email and telephone, multitasking while thinking/saying he’s paying attention to the discussion at hand?  Does she jump to solutions and give advice prematurely?  Does he strive for deeper understanding of the issue behind the issue?  Is she bored with the conversation, visibly disengaged?  Does he enjoy telling/hearing his own “war stories” without regard for the others in the room?  Does their sharing serve to sharpen the focus on the subject or does it derail the conversation?  Do their statements reflect a true understanding of the person and subject?

I’m amazed at how often members are unaware or defensive of these behaviors.  The Forum Day provides a place where we can speak truth with grace into other members' lives.  That may include calling out behavior that is condescending, arrogant, defensive, prideful, unproductive, or offensive.  When this is done in an environment of safety and love, the experience can have profound impact on the CEO's life.  I encourage members to utilize and embed the processes they learn at Forum Day into their own meetings and conversations.

St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:3, “I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than one ought to think;” and in verse 12:16, “Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation.”

The prayer of St. Francis of Assisi asks, “…Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled to as console; to be understood, as to understand.”

As Christian business owners we are called to stewardship of our companies and employees.  Our duties as servant leaders include listening to our people, seeking to understand their issues, working with them to find solutions, and in that process helping them to grow and excel in their work.