Protecting Your Time: 5 Ways For Leaders To Get The Most Out Of Your Week
As a leader, it’s easy to let your calendar own you.
The more you’re driving, the more things will expand to fill the void. Time is finite and each week you need to move efforts forward gain traction on your most important work. Instead of letting requests dictate your calendar, design your time.
Here’s 5 ways to be more intentional with your week:
1: Decline work and requests that don’t align with your established priorities.
Patty Azzarello’s approach in Rise is rock solid.
I utilize “ruthless priorities”, reconfigure asks to more strategic work, capture everything, and literally have a list of things that I’m not doing. If something new comes in that you really should evaluate, decide what’s going to need to come off the list to make it happen.
Don’t just keep adding things.
2: Don’t accept meetings just because you’re invited.
Require agendas. Only attend meetings to decide, debate, discuss, or develop. Don’t attend FYI meetings (watch recordings at 1.5x or review notes/transcripts).
Guard your time and you’ll get leverage from where you spend it.
3: Audit and time block your calendar.
Review your calendar quarterly/monthly to ensure your schedule is helping you advance your goals.
This gets you the highest leverage. Whether it’s themed days or daily time blocks, group similar types of work and interactions to reduce context switching, define core collaboration hours, and achieve increased focus throughout the week. Once you’ve done this, take inventory 30 days later to measure your impact.
Make space for deep work.
4: Use async communication as much as possible.
Make space for more inclusive contribution, thoughtful responses, and time zone aware communication.
Establish a handbook or source of truth. Batch process emails and slack. Schedule messages during time zone core hours.
Use collaborative docs as the default instead of meetings.
5: When you do need a meeting, design it.
Keith Ferrazzi’s high-return practices like bulletproofing and collaborative problem solving will change the way you spend time together as a team.
Being intentional will increase candor, yield better outcomes, and accelerate innovation.