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Leadership and time management

The biggest misconception about time management....

Last week, I was in a coaching session with one of my clients
A fairly senior and seasoned executive in the consulting world
He said “I need some help in managing my time”
“Tell me more” I prompted him
“Well, things are really busy right now. It is a crazy time” he said “I am barely able to manage”
“Looks like a lot is going on at your end” I responded
“Yes, I am taking one day at a time. I am barely keeping myself afloat with my workload” he replied
It was obvious that he was under a lot of work pressure, stressed and overwhelmed
And this is not an uncommon issue....
I coach many senior leaders and most of them are struggling in the area of time management
I am sure you would also be facing a similar challenge every now and then - struggling to manage your deliverables or finding the right work-life balance, right ?  
The amount of time is fixed for all of us – how and what we do in that time is what matters
Most people believe that time management is about time as such
But the truth is….
Time management is NOT really about time
It is about 3 things ( in that order ) :
Decision Making and
Taking Action
And people struggle in all these areas
Sometimes, you have too many things on your plate
And you do not know how and what to prioritise - everything might seem important at that moment
That is where you probably need to reach out to someone to help you prioritise
But for some strange reason, most of us want to fight our battles alone. We do not want to admit that we are struggling


In most cases, I have seen that this is usually an easier win
If you really take a step back and think through, you usually know what is really important and what is not - be it in personal life or at workplace

But knowing what is important and not doing anything about it does NOT help

That brings me to the second point
In many cases, you actually know what to prioritise, but you do not take the decision
This may seem counterintuitive to you, right ?
“If I know what to prioritise, then why will I not prioritise ?”
Simply because you do not want to take the responsibility of those decisions
You want someone else to take the decision for you
Because taking a decision might mean saying YES to something and NO to something else
You may be hesitant to take that call
And the third issue is....
Even if you are able to take those decisions, you do not follow up with actual action on the ground
Either you are not fully committed or the effort to changes seems to be big, so you decide to stay where you are
There is another angle to it
Sometimes, you are not aware of the long-term cost of not taking action
Which means that today, it might seem that the situation is somewhat manageable, but there is cost you are already paying

And will continue to pay if the situation does not improve
All this means is that you stay where you are – struggling to manage your time and take control of your life

Let us take a simple example
2021 - You were so busy with work that you did not get time to focus on your physical wellbeing. Your health suffered as a consequence
This is a common scenario with senior executives
2022 - You want to improve your health
So first step, you want to prioritise your health over some other things
This seems easier and straightforward. We all know health is important, right ?'

Next comes decision making
So what decision do you need to make to prioritise your health ?
You may want to get up early in the morning and go for a walk daily
That is a decision to take to change your sleeping habit and start a new morning routine
Finally, the action taking
Even if you have decided to get up early but do not actually get up and go for a walk, nothing will change
The real action on the ground is missing. You keep procrastinating
Your health will continue to suffer
And you will always give time as an excuse
So remember….
That is the key to better time management
So as you step into 2022, here is something for you to reflect upon, if you are struggling to manage time :
1) Where do you struggle most when it comes to time management – prioritisation, decision making or taking action ?
2) If you know what to prioritise, what decisions are you NOT taking currently ? What new decisions will you take in 2022 ?
3) If you have made some decisions, where in your life are you NOT taking action ? What small and specific actions can you take NOW ?
I would be interested to know what came up for you as you read and reflected on this email
And if you need to take control of your time, drop me a note and we can connect over a quick call

Till then
Stay safe and stay healthy


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