There is nothing worse than a bad manager right?
Shut your eyes and think of one. How mad do you feel right now?
Well, 82% of managers are accidental managers and have not had any proper training. So it is hardly surprising that 28% of workers have left a job because of a negative relationship with their manager, according to the Chartered Management Institute (personally, I’m surprised this isn’t higher).
Many who take up managerial positions do so because they are great individual contributors, not so much because of their ability to lead.
With managers supposedly having a greater impact on our wellbeing than a spouse or doctor, surely it has to be a priority to ensure that managers have the skills to lead instead of just micro-managing someone into quitting.
For managers to be effective, what they need more than anything is the ability to empower, educate and encourage a thriving team, and they cannot do this without creating the space and time in their own working days!
As leaders, we juggle endless demands, often sprinting from one task to the next. (Even if we aren’t busy, we do this willingly, because we are leaders and this is what we do. Right?)
This is why time management isn’t just nice to have, but it’s a vital tool and not just for your resume, but for the sanity of you and your team.
Forget the standard and often glorified image of the stereotypical leader.
True productivity isn’t about cramming more, but about choosing wisely. It’s about saying no strategically, prioritizing ruthlessly, and investing your time in activities that truly matter.
Remember, if you don’t respect your time, no one else will. Saying no isn’t selfish; far from it, it’s essential.
Think twice before committing, and avoid impulsive yeses. Your time, energy, and resources are precious.
Embrace the “slow yes,” carefully analyzing requests before jumping in. If I wouldn’t do it tomorrow, sorry, but it is a no.
Understanding the Eisenhower Matrix
Time to prioritize like a pro; introducing the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, your new time-management BFF.
Dwight D Eisenhower the creator of the matrix (which we will go through in a second) was a former president of the US and Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe during WWII, so we can assume he was a pretty busy man.
“Who can define for us with accuracy the difference between the long and short term! Especially when our affairs seem to be in crisis, we are almost compelled to give our first attention to the urgent present rather than to the important future.”
Let us get into it.
Picture a 2×2 matrix where you place tasks accordingly:
Important & Urgent: These are the tasks that demand your immediate attention. Handle them promptly and efficiently.
Important & Not Urgent: These tasks are significant but don’t require immediate action. Schedule them for later to ensure they receive the attention they deserve.
Not Important & Urgent: These tasks might seem urgent, but they don’t contribute significantly to your goals or well-being. Delegate them to others whenever possible.
Not Important & Not Urgent: These tasks are time-wasters. Eliminate them from your to-do list to free up valuable time for what truly matters.
By using the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, you can prioritize, delegate, and eliminate tasks according to their importance and urgency.
It is a practical way to make the most of your limited time and prioritize what you need each day to be your best self! If you want to take it one step further, push yourself to say no 5 times this week.
No “maybes,” no “I’ll check,” just a polite “no thank you.”
How to be instantly unavailable
Simultaneously, prioritizing your work can be one thing, but our digital, ‘always-on’ world is full of distractions.
Even with all of the prioritizing in the world, a jam-packed inbox can be hard to beat.
New York Times best selling author Neal Stephenson has sold over three million books and is no doubt a prolific fiction writer – his most well known book is probably Snowcrash.
Given his success, he unsurprisingly gets a lot of emails, invites and letters and doesn’t respond to >99% of them.
He is not being intentionally rude or particularly likes giving readers the cold shoulder (sorry, could not help myself), but high quality work requires high quality uninterrupted focus.
It is this author’s belief that the same can be considered for our personal wellbeing – a state of high quality individual wellbeing requires us to disconnect. In more ways than one.
Neal asks: “Would you rather a bunch of well-meaning emails or a novel: A novel which could be around for years and be read by millions?”
He would rather be a good novelist, and hopes that you can forgive him for being a bad correspondent.
Replace the word novel with a different focus.
He says we can do one or the other, not both. Yes, we are not as famous as Neal, but if we are constantly TikToking, Tweeting, Instagramming, Whats’apping, Snapchatting and Meta’ing (that doesn’t have the same ring to it) for hours and hours per week, how are we expecting to do the things we need to do to be our best self?
It is my mission to engage one billion people in the betterment of wellbeing.
Consequently, I have to turn up regularly on social media to engage and grow my audience, in order to reach as many people as possible. I sometimes get up to 30 direct messages per day.
I really do try my best to respond to all, especially people who put in a bit of effort. If only my dating profile was as successful.
I want to help as many people as I can and I always respect the hustle, but if I took every “can I grab 30 mins of your time” request, I would be working 47 hours per day. I simply cannot do it.
Okay, maybe not 47 hours, but yesterday, I added up that I was asked for 4 hours 20 mins of my time.
In addition to working 9 hours yesterday, this would have made for a very long day and would have left little to no time for what I need.
Bonus Tips (if you have a minute, you probably don’t):
- Time Blocking: Schedule specific blocks for focused work on high-priority tasks.
- Minimize Distractions: Silence notifications, turn off unnecessary apps, and find somewhere quiet to focus.
- Delegate Effectively: Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to free up your time for what matters most. YOU CANNOT DO IT ALL.
- Take Breaks: As simple as this sounds, do you actually do it? And I mean without checking your phone? Schedule short breaks throughout the day and take them. No one can work non-stop all day, no one, despite how good you think you are. Step away, it will all be waiting when you get back!
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