Time Management: A Core Leadership Competency

Share This Post

In last month’s blog we talked about emotional intelligence (EQ) as an important and highly sought after skill in leaders. This month, we’ll continue our exploration of core leadership competencies with a focus on time management.

As you cultivate emotional intelligence and develop self-awareness, you’ll become more aware of what obstacles interfere with your time management.

  • Is it lack of focus?
  • Unclear priorities?
  • Are you easily distracted and running around to put out proverbial fires?

Moreover, as you deepen your self-awareness, you can build upon this key aspect of self-management.

While many time-management systems have been developed and popularized, they are not one-size-fits-all. Below, we take a look at several approaches, geared toward different goals and personalities.

#1: The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo, is a system in which you set a timer for 25 minutes and work only until the timer goes off. Then you pause for a 5-minute break – set the timer! – before resuming another 25-minute session.

After repeating this four times, you take a longer break of 15-30 minutes. This approach often works well for those whose energy naturally comes in waves or who are easily distracted. It offers benefits such as promoting focused effort while also preventing mental exhaustion through regular breaks.

Additionally, the use of a timer prevents distraction and keeps you on track.

#2: Time Blocking

Time Blocking is a time management system that involves scheduling specific blocks of time for different activities. Rather than relying on a to-do list or reacting to tasks as they come up, this system allocated time for various activities.

Some benefits of this approach are that it helps create structure, allows tasks to be organized strategically, and minimizes distractions by focusing on one task at a time. It also can allow you to visualize your workload and better manage yours and others’ expectations.

#3: Eat That Frog!

“Eat that Frog!” is a time management approach popularized by author Brian Tracy in his book by the same name. In the book he writes, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.”

The core concept is that by accomplishing the most challenging task on your list (the “frog”) first, everything else will feel easier by comparison. This approach has you tackle the most daunting task first, thereby creating a sense of accomplishment.

Benefits of this approach are that you prevent procrastination around difficult tasks by prioritizing them and you capitalize on the momentum created.

#4: Urgent-Important Matrix

The Urgent-Important Matrix, originally called the Eisenhower Matrix, is a time management tool that categorizes tasks based on their urgency and importance.

This tool was developed from a quote attributed to Eisenhower, who said: “I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important, and the important are never urgent.” While some tasks exist that may be both important and urgent, they are in the minority. The four quadrants of varying sizes represent the following categories: important and urgent, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, and neither urgent nor important.

This time management approach can help you prioritize what’s truly important to you rather than reacting to the “tyranny of the urgent.” This can minimize the time you spend on non-essential tasks.

At the end of the day, having an approach to time management that works for you is key to having a healthy relationship to time. We encourage you to check out a few of these resources and let us know what approaches or resources have helped you the most!

As always, if you’re feeling stuck the path to better time management, we’re here to help.

More To Explore

Resilience in Leadership

Resilience: The Essential Skill to Avoid Burnout

So far in our Core Leadership Competencies series, we’ve considered the proficiencies of emotional intelligence and time management. This month we’re going to look at

Are you and your team reaching your full potential?

Contact us today.