Delegate to empower yourself and others. As a leader, you must determine when to delegate tasks and direct your energy elsewhere. Although you may have the skills to design an important marketing brochure, your energy is required for strategic planning and visioning. Delegation enables others to become meaningfully involved and develop their skills and abilities. The process ultimately allows for overall growth and productivity.
Set aside time for reflection. Schedule breaks with time limits when you feel the need to do so. Restorative walks, deep breaths and practicing mindfulness (being present with the people you are with or task you are working on) in the midst of chaos encourages your mind and spirit to re-center; creativity and efficiency will follow.
Handle correspondence expeditiously. Responding to the daily onslaught of emails in your inbox consumes a significant amount of time. Try the two-minute rule: if the email will take less than two minutes to read and respond to, answer it right away. Otherwise, resist responding until a designated period during the day.
Ensure all meetings have a purpose and time limit. Developing relationships with board members, staff, and volunteers is essential to your growth as a leader. Unstructured conversations (conducive to relationship building), however, are not productive for individual or group business meetings. Establish an objective and time frame for each meeting; see to it that each involved party is informed and aware of the defined parameters.
Use checklists and to-do lists. Lists are essential for effective time management. The key is prioritization; in order to be helpful, you must prioritize the tasks on your list. Additionally, large projects should be broken down into actionable steps in order to ensure each project is completed in its entirety.
Schedule important tasks for the right time of day – for you! Your daily tasks consist of routine tasks (answering emails) as well as creative tasks (writing and planning). In order to effectively allocate your time for each activity, listen to your body’s rhythm to determine when you feel most energetic and productive. Schedule your high-value work during your peak-energy periods and leave your low-energy work for periods of “down” time.
Thanks to the resources provided by David Allen, "Getting Things Done" and Michael Bungay Stainer, "Do More Great Work."