3 Ways to Better Leverage Your Time

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Time is always a valuable resource, and its value increases with increasing levels of leadership.  Since you cannot add hours to the day, the question is how to best leverage that available time.  

Before making decisions on your use of time, first understand the actual worth of your time.  The way that most people do this is to calculate an hourly rate based on salary.  However, I encourage clients to calculate an hourly rate based on organizational revenue.  After all, if your job is to lead and grow the organization, your worth should be measured relative to organizational goals.  This number will be much higher than a salary-based rate.  It reflects the real impact – the leverage – you have on the organization, providing a tangible incentive to shift to more transformational roles.  Simply stated, if you spend your time doing $20 per hour tasks, you will not achieve your growth targets.  Further, as those earnings grow, your hourly rate also increases, so the work you do must continue to increase in value. 

Here are three practical tips for how you can increase the leverage of your time:

  1. Audit your time.  I know one CEO who keeps a time log in 30-minute increments on his Outlook calendar.  When he first started doing this, he was shocked to find that trivial matters consumed over 50% of his time.  How much of your time is being consumed by low productivity activity?
  2. Begin each day by jotting your 3-5 most important priorities for that day on a note card.  One of our clients is the CEO of a $100M company who does this with great success.  He told me, “Putting my top priorities on a simple card that I keep in my shirt pocket frees me from thinking about so many to-dos.  I know that if I get these done today, I will have done the most important things to drive the company to its goals.” 
  3. After logging your time use each week, identify the least productive use of your time and delegate that responsibility to someone else.  It sounds easy, but it takes a lot of dedication.  Another client of ours has been working at this for a year now.  Every week, he finds at least one more “normal” activity that should be delegated.  His senior leadership team helps him.  He routinely asks them what he is doing that they should be doing.  The first time he asked, the number of activities he needed to delegate amazed him. 

For a much more extensive discussion on this topic, check out my recently published article, “Leveraging Leadership.

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