Pretty much every leader I've ever spoken to can relate to that feeling of the walls closing in, with looming deadlines and time pressures increasing, and not having enough hours in the day to get everything done.
In fact, it's such a common issue that Mindshop, in their 2022 survey of business leaders, reported a lack of time as being the #1 barrier to being an effective leader, and we agree.
It's such a costly issue too, beyond the obvious of not getting all your tasks done, as it often results in leaders neglecting their duties to their team, dropping focus, motivation, and morale.
And it's no secret that employees are the greatest asset an organisation has! As they become neglected and unhappy, they will deliver poor client experiences.
And when clients fail to get the results they expect, businesses crumble🏚️
So, leaders really need to manage their time well, to ensure that they are getting their tasks done, whilst at the same time holding their team to account to get their tasks done too, to a high standard.
There's a fantastically simple time management technique that I use DAILY that you can implement straight away to help with this.
The technique is called "MUST, SHOULD, COULD".
It's the perfect tool to use with your daily jobs, but is also a great project planning tool.
In essence, you segment all of your daily (or weekly, depending on your task list) jobs into the 3 categories listed above.
Your MUST tasks are the ones that are critical to business functions, and absolutely need to get done. Think of it like getting a car engine running - without it, the car is useless.
Your SHOULD tasks are ones that aren't critical to business or project success, but will add substantial value. These might include tasks that will help boost the customer experience. In our car metaphor, this could be the air-conditioning.
The COULD tasks are more of a catch-all for all the tasks that don't fit into the other categories. These could be tasks that add some fun, or additional functionality to a project, but don't contribute much to overall success. Think of electric seats in our metaphorical car, helpful to have, but unlike the engine or air-conditioning, easy to live without.
You can also add a 4th section, called "WON'T", where you add all the bits you think of as you're going about your day that you would like to do, but can't, for example if your team is lacking the skills to implement something, but it is an idea worth saving.
Give it a go, and let me know what you think of the technique! It's helped free up so much space for me, since I can really focus on the most critical tasks, and then make decisions on whether the SHOULD or COULD tasks can be pushed back, or delegated.
By the way, we have an award-winning programme that teaches effective leadership skills, so that you can become a leader worth following. It's called the Liberating Leadership Programme, and it will give you the skills, vision, and confidence to develop your team's performance and create relationships based on trust, accountability, and clear expectations.