Effective Time-Saving Tips for Business Leaders

Of all the resources available to business leaders, the most precious by far is time. Time is a resource that can’t be replaced, renewed, or replenished. For all of us, there are 24 hours in a day, and how we manage the time we have determines how effective we can be in our personal and professional lives.

Here at Baillie Lumber, we’re continually seeking ways to make more efficient use of our time. This objective furthers our overall mission of providing quality products and services to our customers and doing so in a cost-effective manner.TimeSavingTips

Here are some tips we found useful when formulating your own approach to time management:

Reduce distractions. In the workplace, distractions of one kind or another are usually inevitable. Your phone rings, a supposedly “urgent” email demands a response, or someone knocks on your office door begging to take up some of your time.

Rarely are these distractions or interruptions genuinely important. What ends up happening is that your time gets used up attending to these situations, rather than being used for more strategic purposes. As Business Know-How notes, “Regaining your concentration after an interruption wastes a significant amount of time,” so “locking your door and disabling your phone” may be necessary at times. “The more you can concentrate on work tasks, the faster you’ll complete them.”

Become better at saying “No.” Often with the best of intentions, business leaders and managers are quick to take on additional tasks or interrupt what they’re doing to respond to an inquiry or complaint, rather than staying focused on the task at hand. But “every time you say yes to something … you’re actually saying yes to multiple obligations,” states Business.com. For example, by agreeing to serve on a committee, “you also said yes to attending several meetings, making phone calls, and attending to other to-dos leading up to the big event.”

Practice offering a polite “No, thank you,” when a relatively unimportant request hits your desk. People will get the message that addressing strategic tasks remains your highest priority.

Identify your most productive time of day and make the most of it. From business leaders to front-line staff, every individual within an organization has a time of day when they are most productive at their job. Don’t squander that time (whether it’s a few minutes, an hour, or longer) on unnecessary or trivial matters. As we have noted before, by rearranging “your daily schedule to leave that most productive time of day open,” you allow “your creativity to flourish.” And that creativity can yield untold benefits for the organization.

Go deep into your work. Minimizing distractions and carving out a stretch of focused time is a great start, but your overall objective is still to do your best wherever your skills, knowledge, and experience are most needed. This is what author Cal Newport calls “deep work”—that is, “professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that pushes your cognitive capabilities to their limit.” That may sound a bit abstract, but when you’re “in the zone,” you’ll know it—and, likely, will generate more efficient and beneficial results.

By incorporating these time-management tips we have found that they had a positive impact on our hardwood lumber business. Whether that has been our sawmill managers being more productive, our lumber traders more efficient and our customer service representatives be more helpful, time management can make a big difference throughout your organization.

When business leaders feel swamped in the course of their work-days, it’s often because of poor time-management. By incorporating these and similar time-management skills, you can tackle the most vital challenges your business faces and allow others to maintain control of day-to-day operations. In these situations, everyone benefits from this wiser approach.

What are some methods you have found effective for improving time management? Let us know! We would love to hear your thoughts.

Brett Del Prince
Baillie Lumber
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