Please note that the new website reflecting the brand Hamza Shayk will be live in September.

Got Time?

Dear Leaders,

Time management in an organizational setting isn’t just about personal efficiency or productivity. It’s about how an entire enterprise aligns its resources, meets its goals, and creates a culture that values every minute.

In essence, time management isn’t about managing time, it’s about managing choices, situations, and people. You must master your time to maximize your impact.

So, given the breadth of responsibilities and constant demands, how can top-tier leaders like you manage their time effectively?

First, Understand the Importance

We’ve all heard the cliche: being busy does not equate to productivity. Yet, we fall into the trap of conflating a packed schedule with effectiveness. While the two can correlate, they aren’t synonymous. Instead, productivity entails optimizing outputs; achieving more in terms of tangible results rather than just activity.

Because your decisions and actions have amplified consequences, managing time is even more significant. A CEO’s strategic decisions, a CFO’s financial directions, or a COO’s operational guidelines constantly shape the fate of the company. Hence, ensuring that time is allocated effectively to these critical activities is paramount.

Strategies for Time Mastery

1. Prioritization is key. Not all tasks are created equal. Using tools like the Eisenhower Box, which divides tasks into urgent-important matrices, helps you focus on what truly matters. Spend more time in activities that are important but not necessarily urgent, anticipating future challenges and crafting strategic directions.

2. Delegate, don’t abdicate. Delegation is an art. Hand off tasks but ensure you’re giving clear instructions and setting expectations. Remember, delegation doesn’t mean abdicating responsibility. Regular check-ins and feedback loops are essential to ensure delegated tasks stay on track.

3. Block time for strategic thinking. One of the most significant shifts in moving from middle management to executive roles is the increased need for strategic, big-picture thinking. This requires uninterrupted focus. Block out periods in your calendar specifically for this purpose, free from meetings and other distractions.

4. Limit meeting time. Instead of having days consumed by back-to-back meetings, adopt a policy of shorter, more focused meetings. Use tools like agendas to keep discussions on track, and always ensure there’s a clear purpose and outcome defined for each gathering.

5. Use technology judiciously. While tools and apps can enhance productivity, they can also be a source of constant distraction. Choose a few tools that genuinely aid your workflow and be mindful of the time spent on emails and instant messaging.

6. Protect personal time. It’s essential to understand that time management isn’t about squeezing more work into every hour but ensuring a balanced life. Quality time for oneself and with loved ones rejuvenates the mind, providing clarity and improving decision-making.

7. Reflect and adjust. Like any other skill, effective time management requires regular reflection and adjustment. Set aside time weekly or monthly to review your schedule and tasks. Identify what’s working, what’s not, and adjust accordingly.

The Intangible Benefits

Mastering time management offers tangible results, such as increased productivity, clarity in direction, and improved decision-making. But the intangible benefits are just as significant. Leaders who manage their time effectively exude a sense of calm, even in crises. Your teams are less stressed, knowing that priorities are clear. And decision-making becomes more proactive rather than reactive, shaping a company culture that’s forward-thinking and resilient.

In Conclusion

Time, the one resource we can’t renew or buy, remains at the core of effectiveness. As Peter Drucker aptly said, “Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.” For you, dear leader, mastering time management is not just about personal productivity; it’s about shaping the destiny of your entire organization.

It’s a skill, a responsibility, and, ultimately, a marker of exceptional leadership.

Be exceptional.

More Insights

The Art of Curating a Balanced C-Suite Team

Dear Leaders, In the orchestral world, a conductor handpicks musicians not just for their individual talents, but for how they harmonize as a collective. Similarly, in the corporate realm, building a balanced and effective C-suite team requires a discerning eye and a strategic approach. It’s not just about gathering expertise; it’s about orchestrating harmony, synchronization, …


Succession Planning: A Tale of Two Futures

Dear Leaders, Picture this. Your star employee, the one who knows your company like the back of their hand, suddenly hands in a two-week notice. There’s a gasp in the boardroom, a sinking feeling in your stomach. Or consider this. After decades at the helm, a charismatic CEO is ready to retire, but there’s no …


The Allure and Illusion of Vanity Metrics

Dear Leaders, In a world increasingly driven by numbers, it’s easy to get swept up in the allure of vanity metrics. These data points sparkle and shine; they look good in a presentation, give our ego a nice little boost, and seemingly declare to the world, “We’ve arrived!” But beneath the sheen, vanity metrics are …


Leadership and Character

Dear Leaders, Pop quiz: What’s the most underrated component in leadership today? It’s not charisma. It’s not strategy. And no, it’s not even about being a “thought leader” (whatever that means). It’s Character. Character is that silent pulse beneath every decision, every interaction, and every pivotal moment in leadership. It’s the unsung hero behind every …


Strawmanning Our Brilliance

Dear Leaders, Last week, I wrote about how the Steelman technique is useful in conflict resolution, decision-making, and building consensus. This note is about situations in which Strawmanning is essential to, well, conflict resolution, decision-making, and building consensus. It’s also highly useful in keeping our egos in check, bulletproofing the strategic planning process, and simplifying …


Steelmanning: Understand Deeper and Win More

Dear Leaders, As C-suite executives, the ability to present your arguments concisely is crucial. But the ability to understand others’ arguments and craft an articulate response that’s well-suited for a given situation is pivotal to your effectiveness as a leader. Your role entails making high-quality decisions – and fast, resolving conflicts in a way all …


Integrating Thoughtfulness into Leadership

Dear Leaders, Almost by definition, an executive is responsible for serving a group of people. Whether it’s identifying opportunities, problem-solving, decision-making, conflict resolution, collaboration, delegation, etc. – all involve people. And the higher the quality of your relationships, the more effective you are as an executive. Technology makes organizing oneself easier, tasks more automated, reminder …


The Magnetic Power of Executive Presence

Dear Leaders, In a world where leadership is often misunderstood, there exists a rare quality that sets exceptional leaders apart: the undeniable allure of executive presence. Picture a leader who walks into a room, and without uttering a word, captivates everyone’s attention. This enigmatic power is not merely about looking the part or playing the …


Leadership and Power

Dear Leaders, In your current position, it’s how you manage the delicate dynamic of leadership and power that determines your overall effectiveness, especially when dealing with subordinates. By definition, leaders always have a measure of power. But many power holders have no trace of leadership. Leadership humanizes you, while exercise of power, although often necessary, …


Executive Behavior: Challenges and Solutions

Dear Leaders, In the fast-paced realm of C-suite leadership, the battle to navigate behavioral challenges is one that separates the exceptional from the ordinary. Decision-making dilemmas, communication hurdles, delegation quandaries, work-life imbalances, and the imperative of adaptability pose formidable obstacles for executives. Yet, with strategic awareness and purposeful action, these challenges can be transformed into …


Bulletproof Problem Solving

Given today’s fast changing business environment, the Future of Jobs report placed complex problem solving at #1 in its top 10 skills for 2020 and beyond. An effective twenty-first century executive is quick on their feet, possesses learning agility, and attacks emerging problems with confidence. While there are plenty of problem-solving methodologies, one of the …


Don’t Lose Customers, Forge Elite Teams Instead

I’ve been a loyal Starbucks customer for 20+ years, mainly because of the consistency in their service and product. However, one of the locations close to me nowadays is a true test of patience; horrible attitude towards customers, lack of consistency in drinks and, worst of all, employees backbiting about each other, their superiors, and …


Email Etiquette: Taming the Beast

“Because the mail never stops, Jerry! It just keeps coming and coming and coming, there’s never a let-up. It’s relentless. Every day it piles up more and more and more, and you gotta get it out but the more you get it out the more it keeps coming in!” -Newman, Seinfeld Most executives I know …


Benefits Administration

Benefits Administration A company’s benefits package can be a very significant part of its total expenses, but in many companies, benefits are not really viewed as expenses. Instead, because of the need to hire and retain top-quality employees, the benefits package is considered a key asset that must be maintained if not increased. While a …


Cost Leadership

Strong leadership is a prerequisite for good cost management. Cost leadership starts with the CEO or business unit head and cascades down through the top management team. They need to build a tough cost culture and be good role models in their personal behavior. They need two key staff functions to be very active supporters …


Zero-Based Budgeting

“If the company’s problem did not lie in revenues, it could only stem from expenses.” -Carlos Brito, AB InBev Simply put, Zero-Based Budgeting (ZBB) is a radical cost-control program that foresees a complete annual revision of all the company’s spending. In zero-based budgeting, managers are responsible for creating their budget from “zero costs” every year, …


Hiring and Firing

People Cost The cost of people is the most difficult cost to manage. Because it is so tricky it is usually left until last in any cost-cutting program and any discussion of cost management. Why is people cost so problematic? First, people cost is very sticky. Once people are on the payroll it’s hard to …


Supplier Management

Negotiating with Suppliers The approach to negotiating with your suppliers is simple: treat them as your partners, be tough but fair, and don’t lock yourself in a situation that is impossible to walk away from. 1. Understand the balance of power: Understanding and playing the balance of power between buyer and supplier is a key …


Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ Compensation Insurance There are a number of techniques for bringing about modest reductions in the cost of workers’ compensation insurance. Job Classifications: One of the key determinants of the cost of workers’ compensation insurance is the job classifications into which all employees are slotted. An employee designated in a high-risk classification will cost far …