Even though I am the CEO, I still serve people: our customers first and foremost, but also our team, suppliers and partners. So, yes, I have many competing priorities, every day – just as a small business owner or manager does.
So I have to be ruthless when it comes to prioritising to stay focused and effective. This can mean saying no to people I would like to say yes to. Indeed, as I mentioned above, learning to manage your time well is in part about developing the ability to say no to some things, to avoid becoming overloaded.
Otherwise you can end up wasting other people’s time as well as your own.
And I never lose sight of the fact that other people’s time is as precious to them as mine is to me. This awareness makes the job of prioritising my time seem even more important.
I’ve found that a lot of time management advice is very me-focused. This makes sense, of course, but I believe it’s helpful to also think about the impact of your time management on other people – that is, those you work with or for.
So I try my best not to waste other people’s time. This means, for example, that I am a stickler for turning up to meetings on time, and making sure that they are focused and valuable in some way to all parties involved.
Overall, I spend quite a lot of time planning. As a business leader, part of your job is embodying the brand and showing others the way. This means you have to be organised personally and map as much out in advance as possible. This works for most of the things I need to do, but I maintain a level of flexibility. For instance, I allow space in my diary for meetings to go on for longer than expected.