Let‘s talk about time. Who feels they have excess time available?
In last week’s article, we discussed time’s impact on feeling overwhelmed. Time is in short supply with ever-increasing demands looking to take it over. Time is the most precious commodity in our lives. Once it is spent, it is gone forever.
One of the biggest drains of a CIO’s time is meetings. Research has shown CIO’s and IT leaders spend about 60% of their time in meetings, another 35% tackling problems, and only 5% presenting ideas and strategies.
The ideal day optimizes time to allow for focus on innovation, strategy, and people development while minimizing the amount of time needed for operational challenges and exceptions.
It is very easy to become overwhelmed with the demands on your time. How can you manage the things coming at you and take control of your time? The key comes down to understanding how and where you spend your time.
How many of you have ever heard of or seen what I like to call the Four D’s? Dump – Do – Delegate – Defer.
The best way that I’ve found to understand how you spend your time is to list all the functions/tasks that you perform. I find creating a spreadsheet matrix works well.
The most thorough approach is to track your time in 15-minute increments across two weeks. I can see your eyes rolling on that one. At the very least, sit down and start listing everything you do, every meeting you attend, every report you create, review, or approve. List everything. It often helps to see the input of your assistant or right hand. And don’t forget the mundane tasks.
Once you have done this, you can go right into assessing your time with an open mind and raw honesty. You are only kidding yourself without completing this step.
I like to start by asking myself, “What things consume my time with little to no value?” If you listen to Peter Drucker, “What do we need to stop?” Whatever those things are, they are great candidates for tagging as “Dump.” You don’t have time to do things that add little to no value.
What are the things I must do MYSELF! Here you need to keep an open mind with raw honesty. If you really are the only person who can do it, then tag it as “Do.”
What things can I defer? And if I can defer, until when can I defer them.
What things must be done AND can they be delegated? Delegate them SMART!
Specific – Be specific as to what exactly you want them to do.
Measurable – Agree to what successful completion of the task means. Ensure you can measure a good job done.
Achievable – Ensure you set achievable goals. If you don’t, you risk morale running low and ineffectiveness spreading amongst the team.
Relevant – The task/goal must be relevant to the team or individual and in line with their development needs.
Timely – Every goal or task must have a target completion date upon which you will measure the effectiveness of the goal. Always ensure that the person or people undertaking the task understand the time span and by when the task should be completed.
Once you have your list defined, take action against your plan. Refine the list as items are identified or removed. If you follow this technique as laid out, I trust that you will take control of your time. Let us know how it works for you!
Until next time, have an effective week!
ITeffectivity LLC was founded in 2013 with the mission of helping IT Leaders bring order to their ever-changing world. Since then, Mary has advised over 80 leaders as well on behalf of Fortune 100 firms to small non-profits. Discover your possibilities by scheduling a complimentary strategy session with Mary Patry.
IT Executive Advisor and Leadership Coach
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