Real Life Time Management Tips, Strategies and Resources

WHAT DO OTHERS DO? WHAT CAN I LEARN FROM THEM?

How do leaders manage their time?

By adding more value to their lives and professional activities.

You’re doing a good job managing your busy schedule. But there are moments when you feel like you could do an even better job if you knew how to improve your time management techniques.

So you start reading books. The books give you the time management tips, strategies and resources you are looking for. And they even work, sometimes, and most of the times, not that much.







But there is still this nagging question:

What is the time management tip that could make your time management strategy the perfect one?

What do others do?

We have asked 19 business leaders and entrepreneurs these 2 questions:

A. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your company?

B. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your life?

 

 

They will be talking about business development, understanding the needs of their customers, networking, reading, learning, improving themselves so they can better improve their business, “me” time, family time, quiet time, “off-the-grid” time, health, balance, and, quite unexpected from busy people, physical exercise.

Because the answer might be that, instead of squizing more activities inside your day, you should be selective with the activities you focus your attention on. And by selecting the most important activities, and doing them on a regular basis, you could add more value to your life and professional activity, than by just mindlessly adding more activities to your to-do list.

Think of this as time management tips with a twist.

 



 

1. Susan Goldsworthy

Founder, Goldswolf & Associates

 

A. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your company?

Continuous, connected, curious learning – gifts from caring, daring & sharing with others.

B. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your life?

3Ms – Mini Mindfulness Moments

 

2. Guillaume Pahud

CEO and Founder, Dot Stories

 

A. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your company?

The main activity that brings value to the company is the social media – posting, looking at what people and prospects are saying online.

B. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your life?

I go out and run – I try to stay fit and go out running a few times per week.






3. Arnaud Barray

Ambassador and Partner, uKonect

 

A. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your company?

I think about our product and what problems we are solving for our customers. It helps me to make sure we have a market and to see if our product is fit to answer the needs of our users.

B. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your life?

The activity that I do on a regular basis is networking. Whether online or through events or meetings you learn from people and it is a way to improve yourself and your business. Meeting new people will always bring us more opportunities.

 

4. Tafsir Ba

Co-Founder, Wild Dots

 




A. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your company?

The biggest problem I face is the fact that, too often, one ends up drifting into non added value tasks that drown resources without generating opportunities.

I step back every morning and look at the big picture of my business (numbers, next projects, strategy) and ensure that my top 3 weekly priorities/activities/tasks are the ones that are going to contribute to my long-term business goals (which I align on a 2x a year basis). So that helps me re-focus

B. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your life?

Exercise and talking to my wife about my goals. Exercise for the obvious reasons, but talking to my wife helps me bounce and refine my thinking and usually helps me clear my head. She grounds me and helps me reconnect with the outside world.

 

5. Will Hogg

Managing Director, Founder, Kinetic Consulting

 

A. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your company?

Two activities are at the core of Kinetic’s business and therefore demand the vast majority of time:
(a) business development – acquiring new clients or expanding our work with current ones;
(b) flawless delivery – being our client’s “best employee” in order to live up to the promise made in the sale. Versus those, and building capability in others to do so, the rest is a lesser priority.

B. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your life?

I try to “sharpen the saw” with 3 activities: time with my children; reading a book a week; exercising 6 times a week (including a mountain trip at the weekend if possible). That recharges me personally.

value adding activity - the busy lifestyle

 

6. Silvan Krähenbühl

Co-Founder, Gymhopper

 

A. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your company?

I think Sales is the activity that adds value to the company and helps it grows. That can be sales done in person on my own or setting up a sales system to scale.

B. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your life?

Regarding my life it’s definitely hitting the gym and sauna 4 resp. 1 time a week and getting 7+hours sleep every night.

 

7. Florian Tosello

CEO, FirstPoint

 

A. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your company?

Within the agency, we have a real concern to deliver quality to our customers. Very often, my team and I strive to look at our current processes, and try to optimize them especially to add “safeguards” that prevent future problems.

This clearly contributes to providing stable and quality services, which makes happy clients. It’s just an example of many things, but I think this has a huge impact.

B. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your life?

I am a particularly passionate entrepreneur and spend a lot of my time thinking about the development of our business. The only time I can really free myself is when I do sports (running, fitness, skydiving), and I think it’s an essential activity to keep a good balance. But the main thing for me is travelling.

Since I’m young, I’ve had the chance to travel a lot. I think that’s what really allowed me to be open minded.






 

8. Hervé Muyal

Co-Founder, BIGVU

 

A. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your company?

When you launch a new product, service or company, the whole team is focusing on their respective tasks in order to boost our productivity and deliver the best possible product.

For being the “guy on the ground” dealing with customers, prospects and investors, I provide my team with a clear feedback on what are the real expectations awaited from our solution.

It allows us to make sure that we build something that makes sense, not only for us and what we believe but also for who we are building it.

B. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your life?

Disconnect.

In order to have a clear and sharp mind for my work, I disconnect from it when possible during weekends. It means I don’t even turn my notebook on to answer emails or prepare tasks for the coming week.

I leave house for a day-long hike in the mountains, which allows me to fully recharge my (mental) batteries and start over with a peaceful mind.



 

9. Marie-Axelle Loustalot-Forest

Digital Strategy Associate Partner, IBM

 

A. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your company?

Public speaking (I love it)

B. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your life?

Lots of reading on non-business topics (history, sociology, philosophy, literature, etc.). And yoga. And my family.

 

Further reading: Learn how to stay focused when the number of attention hijacking activities is on the rise. Lack of focus is not only one of the main causes of stress (and the stress statistics worldwide are quite alarming) but it also has an impact on creativity and ultimately our general sense of happiness.

 

10. Miranda Ademaj

CEO/Co-Founder, Skënderbeg Alternative Investments

 

A. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your company?

I like spending my time reading about philosophy. Albert Einstein famously said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.”

This quote highlights a skill that philosophers have to master: the ability to break down complex problems into simpler ones. As an entrepreneur, you’ll have to solve complex problems early and often. You’ll have a leg up if you can break them down into digestible pieces, rather than trying to solve them all at once

B. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your life?

Even when we’re busy, we make time for the crucial things in life. We eat. We go to the bathroom. We sleep. And yet one of our most crucial needs – exercise – is often the first thing to go when our calendars fill up.

Exercise is an effective stress reducer. It pumps feel-good endorphins through your body. It helps lift your mood.



 

11. Alex Bigler

CEO/Founder, #hashtag Recruitment

 

A. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your company?

Networking and Business Development

B. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your life?

Having my own business.

 

12. Bora Karamustafa

Vice President, Global Business Operations, Zaluvida Group

 

A. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your company?

Team meetings to share, discuss, debate and make decisions

B. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your life?

Exercise, especially running and yoga.

 

Further reading: Having no visibility over the way we will spend our time on the short run has a tendecy to let us feel overwhelmed. And that creates stress. In addition to better organizing our agendas, some good stress relief techniques can provide the much needed help (with an welcomed energy gain).

 

13. Kelly Hungerford

Founder,CommunityWorks

 

A. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your company?

One of greatest time eaters is meetings and many companies don’t require meeting agendas. I find agendas super useful though for saving time and keeping meetings effective.

I create agendas for meetings of all sizes (big, small, formal, less formal). It’s one of my best kept secrets for saving time during the day.

Agendas are a great way of keeping people coming to meetings too — when they know they will get out on time (or even before) they don’t think twice about attending.



B. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your life?

I take a lot of short breaks during the time to keep my mind focused and my energy going. When possible, I try to take a break every 45 minutes for about 5 minutes.

That allows me to clear my mind and helps me focus. If I am really struggling, I turn off the laptop and take a longer break.

We all have unproductive times of the day or simply days where we can’t get anything done. I can sense pretty quickly if I think my wheels are just spinning or if I am truly stuck.

So instead of forcing productivity (which really doesn’t work) I treat myself to time off. Shutting down for a few hours, or even a half day, restores my energy and also allows me to really think about why and where I am struggling.

When I go back to the task at hand I usually finish it faster with a clearer mind. Making time to take time for me has helped me balance my schedule and my life without guilt. I wouldn’t change it for the world!

 

14. Jean-Paul Gaillard

Chairman & CEO,Ethical Coffee Company

 

A. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your company?

Well, on a daily basis first, whatever the amount of work, I always take at least one hour or two to take enough steps backwards to keep the big picture in mind so as to also keep our strategic objective in mind.

It is very easy to get distracted by doing a lot of “makes you feel good things”, which in fact do not add much value. One has to be self-secure enough to take this step backwards and permanently keep the big picture in mind so as to do the right things instead of doing things right.

In the same line, on week-ends or vacations, or, taking a day off, I get the time to do the necessary strategic thinking without disturbance from day to day things that go around the Company.

This said, it is of utmost importance to be well surrounded. The quality of a COO, as well as the quality of a CFO, are key aspects. So are other C level positions holders that I surround myself with.

Once the strategic objective is permanently on the top of the mind of what I would call “the soul of the company” or its DNA, operations are smoother and, most important, use resources for doing what the Company is meant to do for its Shareholders and Stakeholders.






B. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your life?

I love my family. Teaching things and experiencing along with my son is a major element in my life balance.

Even if a life is “busy”, one must keep that in mind. I was very often surprised by the common sense coming out of discussions with my 12 years old son. In addition, I am blessed with a wonderful and charming wife who, I feel, really understands me.

Reading (mostly history and geopolitics…, some thrillers…) also helps. In the first case, with history and geopolitics, this brings me close again to big pictures type of strategy. Thrillers are a good kind of “empty your brain” type of reading.

One should never forget to allow oneself to daydream. Daydreaming, in my mind, is part of what allows to ensure that one’s head is always calm and in top shape to face whatever challenges I have to face. Be they big or small, a good and fit head makes it that one always feel secure, ready to move and calm at the same time.

 

15. Ioana Hardy

Founder, FAST FORWARD

 

A. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your company?

Planning ahead. As the founder of a brand strategy agency I am wearing many hats and my to do list increases every day. Without planning ahead I would find myself in a constant firefighting mode. By planning ahead – monthly and weekly – I make sure that I focus my energy on the activities that move my business forward.

B. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your life?

Take time for myself. Every single day I take time to slow down and focus on myself. It can be reading, meditating or just walking our family dog – it really depends on where I am and how manic my day is.

 

16. Daniela Rusu

Founder, Quantum Communications

 




A. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your company?

Learning is one of my greatest personal and business values. Every day, I learn a new thing. I may read about a new tool or technique, listen to an inspirational thought leader or master coach, or share with a colleague in the field what works best and the lessons we’ve learned.

B. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your life?

On a personal note, I learn and develop myself nearly on a daily basis. I also practice mindfulness in various ways that match the time and kind of day I have. Sometimes I meditate, sometimes I do a self-visualization to clarify my purpose and intention for the day, or I simply sit and enjoy a moment of quiet time with a candle, a few crystals and beautiful music.

 

17. David Delmi

Founder and CEO, HARDAH

 

A. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your company?

The one activity that I do on a regular basis that adds value to my company is…reading! I read a lot of books and it gives me a lot of great ideas for my business.

I’m reading business books of course, but traditional book as well. The more you read, the better you understand the world, the better you will understand your customer and your business, your market.

B. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your life?

The one activity that I do on a regular basis that adds value to my life is prioritizing goals and tasks. The useless things I can left them out. The important one I need to do them right now. Prioritize your tasks and you’ll be able to have a more organized and healthy life.


 

18. Nicole Picthall

Founder and Buzzfinder, Lobotobee

 

A. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your company?

I break my day in two and go for a walk with my dogs. This allows me to get out of my head and let go for a while. It’s a way of finding clarity and getting my energy level up for the afternoon.

B. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your life?

After everyone has left the house, I take my time to get ready for the day. I sit down for breakfast and plan my day, keeping in mind what needs to be done for the rest of the week and finding some slots for everything. If I have a really busy week ahead, I try to find the things that could potentially wait a little longer so that I don’t feel too overwhelmed with what I have on my plate.

 

19. Kirsten Paul

CEO, Glorius

 

A. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your company?

For our clients and business partners spread out all over the world I try to call our VIP connections just to follow up with them every now and then. It is all about personal connections and how much you like, honour and respect a person in business life. I want to show how much we care.

With partners and clients in Europe, China, the US, South America etc. a personal chat is essential. I just wish I had more time.

B. What is the activity that you do on a regular basis that adds value to your life?

I’m working 24/7 since 25 years. Sometimes till early morning hours, due to different time zones and excessive travels to expos etc. So I had to learn to take off most of the weekends, at least one day, no phone calls, nothing.

I need this time for my two beautiful girls and my husband who don’t see me too much… we then try to escape into the countryside and live pure family time.




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Photo Credit: Estée Janssens

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