In the modern working world, the one thing there never seems to be enough of is time. While technology has massively improved the productivity of the modern worker, the constant interruptions from emails, text messages, phone calls, and every other notification have created an environment where most of us feel like we're constantly scrambling to get everything done and never have enough time to do it. As a business leader, time management is one of the most important skills you can develop. Here are a few simple time management tips that have served me well in my career as a dentist and as former CEO of Heartland Dental.
First Things First
One of the most important lessons to learn for time management is not to get trapped in small-scale, low-importance tasks. Many people organize their priorities based on urgency: if something requires attention immediately or in the next few days, it goes to the top of the list, even if it isn't crucially important to the company. The problem with this is that for most business leaders, the list of minimally important but urgent things is almost endless. If we allow ourselves to focus only on what's urgent, we'll never have time for truly important, long-term tasks – and often, those make the highest impact on the business. Prioritizing your daily to-do list based on importance, instead of urgency, is a great strategy for maximizing your productivity and managing your time.
Plan At the Beginning and the End
Most people realize that a little planning can go a long way, but all too often, we forget to incorporate this wisdom into our daily routines. One of my favorite strategies for staying organized and productive is to take 5 to 15 minutes at the beginning and end of each day to plan. At the end of the day, before heading home for the night, I'll do some thinking and lay out a list of my top priorities for the following day. The next day, I arrive at work a few minutes early so I can lay out my to-do list and get myself oriented for the day. I find that this small time commitment to planning is a great way to keep my head clear and my priorities in line for the workday.
Block Out Distractions
Without a doubt, one of the biggest saps of productivity is distraction. It's almost impossible to get things done when you have a constant barrage of emails and other messages coming at you. To prevent this, set aside some time every day – a good chunk of a few hours if you can – to work completely undisturbed. Turn your phone to Do Not Disturb mode, close email, and just work on what's in front of you. Setting aside this time for "deep focus" will greatly improve your productivity and help you get more done in less time.
Time Management is Key
No matter what industry or role you work in, time management is a crucial skill to your long-term success. I've found these techniques to be highly useful in my own career with Heartland Dental, and I hope they aid you in managing your time at your own organization. If you'd like more insights like this on business, leadership, and the dental industry, I encourage you to subscribe to this blog. Until next time, I wish you luck in managing your time and moving your career forward!