How To Protect And Manage Your Time As A Business Leader

How To Protect And Manage Your Time As A Business Leader

As a business leader, it can often feel that time can run away with you. From meetings to staffing responsibilities, months can very quickly fly by with little time for rest or to focus on your own personal vision. 

What’s more, it’s essential that you, as a business leader, make the most of your time to ensure you’re using it efficiently and effectively. Plus, as with anyone else in your business, it’s key that you have the opportunity to rest and ensure you’re on track to meeting your personal vision, as well as your business goals. 

So, how can you best protect your time? We’ve outlined some tried and tested methods to ensure you’re working as efficiently as possible. 

Time Protection Methods

Business experts and moguls across the world have, at one time or another, had to start prioritising their time and making difficult decisions about what deserves their attention and what is an inefficient use of their time. 

It’s never an easy task, and often it can be hard to let go of certain things within your business, especially if you’ve had to adopt a number of roles to build it up to where it is today. However, if you want to start driving change and growth, you need to protect your time and start thinking about the bigger picture. 

With that in mind, we’ve gathered a number of time protecting techniques that have become famous for their effectiveness and their ability to allow you to step back and think big. On top of this, we’ve rounded up our top tech recommendations to help you protect your time effectively, and automate your efficiencies. 

Utilising technology: 

Slack: This is a popular communication and collaboration platform that enables teams to communicate effectively in real-time. You can utilise Slack to streamline communications through organised discussions in relevant channels, and reduce the need for excessive email exchanges. By centralising conversations and integrating other tools and applications, Slack will help you and your teams work in a more focussed and organised way..

Boomerang: As an email management tool, Boomerang provides several time-saving features to help you make your inbox far more efficient. You can use Boomerang to schedule emails for later delivery, set reminders to follow up on important messages, and snooze emails to deal with them at a more suitable time. These functionalities will help you maintain control over your email flow and prioritise tasks efficiently, without wasting valuable headspace on all these smaller tasks. 

Monday: Monday is a popular project management tool that enables you to plan, track, and collaborate on various projects with teams and clients. It provides a visual interface where leaders can create and assign tasks, set deadlines, and monitor progress. With features like automations, integrations, and customisable workflows, Monday empowers you to streamline your work, delegate effectively, and provide you with enough oversight to ensure projects stay on track.

HubSpot: Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, like HubSpot encompass sales, marketing, and customer service functions all into one place. Business leaders and sales managers can utilise HubSpot to centralise customer data, automate marketing campaigns, track sales activities, and enhance customer support processes. By consolidating these functions within a single platform, you can gain insights into patterns, trends and stock levels, improve decision-making, and streamline customer interactions.

Time protection techniques

With these technologies at your fingertips, you’re one step closer to working in a more efficient way that protects your headspace and frees up your time to work on high priority, bigger-picture work. 

On top of there, we’ve highlighted some of our favourite techniques you can utilise in your day-to-day working life to further protect your time. 

Time Blocking: Time blocking is a technique where specific blocks of time are allocated for different tasks or activities. By creating a structured schedule, you as a business leader can prioritise and allocate time for important tasks, meetings, strategic thinking, and personal activities. This method helps improve focus, reduces multitasking, and ensures that essential work goals are achieved. Cal Newport, author of “Deep Work,” advocates for time blocking as a powerful productivity strategy for focussing and prioritising what’s most important and removing unimportant or unnecessary activities. 

Eisenhower Matrix: The Eisenhower Matrix, also known as the Urgent-Important Matrix, is a prioritisation tool developed by former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It categorises tasks into four quadrants: Important and Urgent, Important but Not Urgent, Urgent but Not Important, and Not Urgent and Not Important. Business leaders can use this matrix to identify tasks that require immediate attention, delegate or eliminate non-essential tasks, and focus on important but non-urgent activities that align with their personal vision and long-term goals. In fact, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey, recommends utilising it for effective prioritisation of time and resources.

Urgent Important Matrix

Pomodoro Technique: The Pomodoro Technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo, involves working in focused bursts of time followed by short breaks. The method typically involves 25 minutes of intense work followed by a 5-minute break. After completing four work intervals, a longer break of around 15-30 minutes is taken. This technique helps enhance concentration, prevent burnout, and maintain productivity throughout the day by utilising time in an efficient and structured manner. If you often find yourself distracted by emails or other tasks, consider turning off your notifications during these work bursts. The majority of urgent tasks can be dealt with within 30 minutes as per the pomodoro cycle. 

Delegation and Outsourcing: Effective delegation is essential for business leaders to free up time and focus on high-value tasks. Identifying tasks that can be delegated to capable team members empowers them and ensures that responsibilities are shared. Additionally, outsourcing non-core activities or tasks that can be handled by external experts can help you optimise your time and leverage specialised skills. By doing so, you can concentrate further on strategic decision-making and critical aspects of your work that align with personal vision or business growth.

Prioritisation and Focus: Setting clear priorities and maintaining focus are vital for efficient time management. Business leaders can benefit from techniques such as the “One Thing” method, popularised by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, which involves identifying the most important task that aligns with long-term goals and dedicating focused time to accomplish it. By eliminating distractions, avoiding multitasking, and directing attention towards high-impact activities, leaders can optimise their time and achieve work goals effectively.

Personal Wellbeing Practices: To maintain productivity and support your wellbeing and personal vision focus, you should incorporate practices such as regular exercise, adequate sleep, and mindfulness techniques into your routine where possible. Research shows that these practices can improve cognitive function, reduce stress, and enhance overall performance. Prioritising personal well-being allows leaders to sustain high energy levels, make better decisions, and align work with your personal vision.

Why it’s important to prioritise your time

There are undoubtedly a lot of demands on your time as a business leader. And, from staffing concerns to performance issues, it can be difficult to assess how you most effectively prioritise where and how you spend your time. 

Some things will need your attention immediately, whereas others, like taking annual leave and focusing on yourself, might take a backseat. 

Far too often this can happen and, with this, you may start to see negative results. 

By prioritising your time well, you can increase your productivity as a leader, and give yourself time to make the most effective decisions, without being distracted or pulled away by matters that could be delegated. 

You can also give yourself the headspace to think about the all important big picture of your business and your personal vision too. You can think strategically about where you are, where you want to be and how you can get there. 

And, when it comes to your personal vision vs your business vision, it’s absolutely key to make sure you don’t get caught up in the operational, and focus on achieving your goals. This will bring both business and personal reward with it. 

Furthermore, a leader can set a powerful example for their staff, in terms of prioritising workloads and taking time to focus on wellbeing and work life balance. And, when staff follow this habit, and ensure they are achieving a rewarding balance, you can see spikes in innovation, productivity and satisfaction at work too. It’s all part of creating a strong work culture. 

If you think you might benefit from some support in aligning your personal and business goals, or moving your business forward, get in touch with the team at Ascentis. We specialise in helping business leaders realise their vision and move towards it.