Robert-photo-w-icon-150-4-7-10-FINAL4-150x150Every leader grapples with time management. Whatever your plan for the day, it’s soon altered by circumstances. And when the opportunity arrives to regain control, there’s a choice to be made – business or busyness.

Checking email, opening mail, etc. are the first things many of us do when we get time. But countless hours are wasted on uncomplicated activities that demand your time and compromise your productivity. It’s easier to move from one simple task to the next rather than following up with key customers, reviewing your key performance indicators, or finishing that plan.

These tips may help you quickly shift back to productive activity:

Who holds you accountable? Asking this question often helps reset priorities. If you’re not investing sufficient time to build your business and execute strategies, then who will? If you are a business owner, then consider hiring a mentor or trusted advisor who can accelerate your progress and hold you accountable.

How is your plan progressing? Make your plan status readily visible so it is one of the first things you see when you return to your desk. Having a multi-year plan is vital, but the power of planning lies in the details, the integrated actions that enable strategies to succeed. Your annual plan is likely divided into monthly or quarterly goals. Are the goals clear including a deliverable, a due date and person responsible for achieving each goal? Focus on accomplishing your 90-day objectives and the year will fall into place. Regularly check the status of the interim action steps that have been specified to achieve each related 90-day goal.

Beware perfectionism. It’s unlikely that those who have been assigned goals will accomplish them in just the way that you would. So beware of paralysis in decision-making, project launches and document approvals that arises when your way is the only way. For you to be able to focus 80% of your time on the 20% of productive effort that drives your success, getting comfortable with the consequences of delegation is essential. Mistakes will occur, but that is how your team learns and grows.

Are you spending 80% of your time growing your business?

How can you improve your time management?