8Get Intentional About Time Management

The ability to get things done is the hallmark of a great leader. How well do you, the individual leader, execute day by day? Do you meet deadlines? Do you move projects forward quickly or are you a bottleneck? Do you give most of your focus to the most important things—or do you frequently let meaningless tasks eat up your day?

What we’re really talking about here is time management. The scarcest resource for any leader is time. We have 24 hours a day, we spend maybe 8 to 12 of those at work, and it’s how we put those hours to use that determines what kind of leader we are—not to mention what kind of parent, spouse, partner, and friend. We need to get intentional about time management practices if we are to break the (sometimes unconscious) habits that are holding us back.

Great time managers are usually better leaders. Obviously, they are more productive. They make fewer mistakes and have to do less rework. (It reminds me of a saying I heard somewhere: If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, you don’t have time to fix it!) They are able to spend more time on learning, strategizing, and being well prepared—which creates more opportunities. And, of course, they get to spend more time coaching and mentoring—which helps employees become higher performers—which helps the company thrive.

The good news is that time management is a skill and it can be improved. When people tell me they need more I time, I always say what they ...

Get The Busy Leader's Handbook now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.