8 Secrets Productive Women Know About Good Time Management
Is it just us, or does it feel like every day, week, and month gets shorter and shorter each time they roll around? While we dream of more hours in the day, there’s some simple, yet genius, time management habits we can incorporate into our day-to-day lives that will save you time, and therefore, give you back those hours you’ve been looking for.
From effective prioritising techniques to genius scheduling methods, we spoke to eight successful business women who shared with us their top time management tip, so we can improve our efficiency—stat. If you’re keen to make the most of your time, you’ve come to right place. Read on to find out how to better manage your time.
“Learn to prioritise and focus on the job in hand. When faced with a million and one tasks, don’t attempt everything at once, in the long run you will end up feeling even more out of your depth than when you started. Give each task your all and ensure your inbox is always empty at the end of each day, that way you're guaranteed to get everything done and nothing is left unanswered.”
“I like to start my day by making sure that my team are briefed on the tasks that I need them to deliver that day. I find clear lines of delegation and setting expectations makes my time management work effectively. I feel the most effective use of my time is if I can focus on what lies ahead, rather than get consumed in day-to-day operations.”
Shelley Barrett, CEO and Founder, ModelCo
“A hugely influential system of time management that I've followed is the Four Quadrants of Time Management created by Stephen Covey. It gives me a filtering system by which to arrange the tasks of today, tomorrow and the weeks and month ahead, so I can prioritise and ensure that I'm working in the most productive quadrant—important but not urgent.
This culminates in my favourite three "R Words": Report, recommend and results. My team knows that in all correspondence, we report the task at hand, recommend the next steps to process this task and then finalise the result.”
Fabiola Gomez, Founder, LUXit
“Working part time as a lawyer and the remainder running a business is certainly a balancing act, but the benefit of straddling the two worlds is magic and something that I wouldn’t easily relinquish. Managing priorities (and expectations), time and my attention is key. As a self-confessed list lover, I regularly use the WunderList App. However, for me, the best way to stay on track has always been to schedule this time into my calendar, like any other meeting. Large or small, I estimate the time likely required to complete the task, together with a feasible time slot to complete it, and add the “meeting” to my calendar. Obviously you have to be flexible with this approach, but I find it keeps me focused and results in greater items being crossed off my list!”
Kate Dillon, Founder and Creative Director of She Lion Group Pty Ltd and National Knowledge + Innovation Lawyer at Gilbert + Tobin.
“For the first few years of my business I tried to do everything for fear that one of my employees wouldn’t do it as well as me. The result was that I was completely under pressure all the time and so much of my days were taken up doing tasks that could have easily been delegated.
I now put everything into training my employees. Its hard work as in the beginning it is faster to just do things yourself but eventually it turns around. I am delighted in my business that now I have staff that manage areas of my business far better than I could. Staff are an investment, you need to put your heart into teaching them as much as you can about your business. I’m now able to delegate to my growing team all day long, which frees up my time to work on growing the business and to focus my energy on to the areas of the business that I do the best. You can’t grow all on your own.”
Bethany James-Best, Founder, JAMES SAID
“Prioritising is key, but it is sometimes difficult to weigh up what is more important—the exam due in the week or the tribunal case tomorrow that I know I could do in my sleep but I should spend some time on it. To-do lists are my best friend. Every day when I get into work I write down what tasks I have to do and as I go I highlight them or cross them off so I know they’re completed. When I start one task, I make sure I finish it. It is so easy to get distracted in between tasks and then not finish them properly or give each task the time it deserves. Closing outlook whilst working on a task is a good habit of mine so I don’t get pulled away from the task at hand when I see new emails arrive.”
Sarah Ferre, Lawyer
“When working, I always drink plenty of water. As I tend to go down the rabbit hole, I make sure I get up from my desk each time I finish the litre bottle. When all else fails, I'm a big fan of Pomodoro technique—there's nothing like an alarm to keep you on track.
I also write down what I want to achieve the next day before I leave my desk each evening and I make sure all deadlines are in my calendar. And lastly, I get up early to get ahead of work flow rather than stay up late—sleep is beyond important.”
Elle Glass, Managing Editor, ARCHFASHION
1. Delete: You can probable delete half the emails you get immediately
2. Do: If the email is urgent or can be complete quickly
3. Delegate: If the email can be better dealt with by someone else
4. Defer: Set aside time later to spend on emails that require longer action
Cathy Seaholme, General Manager, The Body Shop Australia
For more time management advice, shop 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management ($27.)