It’s common for leaders and entrepreneurs to feel like they simply don’t have enough hours in the day. They may have lofty goals, and they may even have a plan to execute those goals. What they don’t have? Time.
There’s no way to give yourself more than 24 hours, but what you can do is align your goal-setting and time management skills, ensuring you actually have enough runway to get those goals off the ground. Let me offer just a few tips.
Aligning Time and Goals
- Use the SMART approach. First, make sure you have the right system for setting clear, reasonable goals. I recommend the SMART approach, which means setting goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-sensitive. This basically keeps you from biting off more than you can chew, and from selecting goals that are just too big or esoteric.
- Remember the difference between urgency and important. As you prioritize each day’s goals, remember that some things are urgent (i.e. they need to be done now), some things are important (i.e. they have a lot of value), and some things are neither, or both. Using those classifications can help you make wise decisions about what needs to get done when.
- Audit yourself. One activity that can prove helpful is auditing your own time management, spending a week or so logging how you spend your time and how well you achieve your goals. This can give you a level of self-awareness that leads to some practical changes.
- Do the big stuff first. I’m a big believer in spending your morning hours doing good, creative work, because that’s usually when you have the most drive and energy. Put off administrative stuff, like answering emails or taking conference calls, for the afternoon, at least when possible.
- Leave time for yourself. Schedule some down time for exercise or simply for mental health breaks. This isn’t wasted time! On the contrary, it’s an important way to use the rest of your time much more effectively.
The bottom line for leaders is that you can set realistic goals, then achieve them—but it comes down to picking the right goals and exercising the right time management disciplines.