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How productive time management can lead to the rise of women in leadership

Women must make the best of every hour if they want to succeed and make it to the boardroom.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, claims in her bestselling book “Lean In” that Women should understand that we can only do so much in a day. Therefore, we need to prioritize to maximize productivity. Since time is a fixed asset, it becomes a crucial variable which conclusively decides our productivity. So how do master time management?

Knowing “what” to do
Knowing what to do solves most of the time puzzle. Successful women allow time to plan for the upcoming week. Indra Nooyi, the former CEO of PepsiCo, stresses that her daily to-do list has 50 to 60 tasks. Some of these tasks are for little joys such as getting a manicure. Nooyi says that she puts even the smallest tasks on her calendar to ensure that she makes time for it.

Identify your peak energy hours
Successful people identify their most productive hours. This is precisely why they schedule their high priority work during this time and ensure they succeed. Working with your body’s ultradian rhythm rather than against it, is very critical to time management. Understand your own rhythm by monitoring when you feel most active and creative as opposed to the times that you tend to feel dull and tired.

Multitasking – Yes or No?
Many women take pride in multi-tasking. In fact, we even claim to be genetically gifted at it. However, the reality is that frequent multi-tasking can divide attention, making us less focused and efficient at what we are working on. While it might be imperative to multitask, it is also equally important to multitask efficiently. If you are trying to draft an email while working with your child on her homework, that is disastrous multitasking because it will take longer and make you feel less accomplished. However, if you are doodling during a meeting, this helps you concentrate and absorb facts during the meeting rather than drifting away. Pay closer attention to the tasks that you juggle and weed out the ones that do not fly together.

Scheduling real downtime
Most of us think of time management in terms of a military rule. We set up to-do lists and let the calendar take complete control. However, unless you unwind and re-energize, it is easy to feel burned out. Many women also always tend to be available to everybody. This is not only counter intuitive to time management but also hinders productivity due to constant interruptions. the relaxation activity you choose can be any, based on your preferences, but it should give you an opportunity to nourish yourself.

Alter the work day schedule
Most successful women make a conscious choice on what meetings to attend and what to skip. Meetings account for a significant portion of a work day and to prioritize them is critical. If you have a difficult commute, then working remotely on one or two days a week can boost productivity and also personal time. It also provides a respite from the distractions of the workplace.

Paying close attention to how we spend every hour is crucial to designing a sound schedule. If you are not aware as to how long a grocery run takes typically, it would be very difficult to schedule it. Time management is like playing chess. You always must think of a few moves ahead to master it!