What does your calendar look like?
Is it full of meetings or do you have time available for completing tasks and planning?
If you're stuck in meetings all day, every day, it's time to consider whether those meetings are productive and if you need to attend each.
While you probably can't clear out your calendar tomorrow, here are a few tips to create more breathing room in your schedule.
Tip #1: Don't attend (or lead) a meeting without an agenda
If a team member requests your participation at a meeting, ask for an agenda to understand the purpose of the meeting and whether you should attend.
By asking for an agenda, you're encouraging others to consider who needs to participate in each meeting, what topics should be discussed, and what decisions need to be made.
Tip #2: Every meeting should result in action
Many meetings are discussions or brainstorming sessions, but even those require follow-up. Designate someone at each meeting to take notes and record action items.
This person should email the notes and action items to those in the meeting within one business day and follow-up with each person assigned a task to ensure the tasks are completed by the agreed upon deadlines.
Tip #3: Reevaluate your meeting schedule
Consider the meetings you have coming up within the next month and determine which of those meetings you need to attend. Ask yourself the following questions:
a. Am I a decision-maker for this meeting?
b. Has someone else been invited to the meeting who has similar ideas, opinions or authority and can contribute just as well as I could?
c. Can I send someone to represent me?
Tip #4: Cancel or decline meeting invitations when applicable
Based on your answers to the questions above, you may decide you don't need to attend a few meetings. Talk with the person running those meetings to confirm whether your presence is needed. Whenever possible, decline invitations and ask to be included in the distribution of meeting notes if needed.
Tip #5: Replace meetings with time scheduled for specific tasks
Once you have some white space on your calendar, block off some time for you to do more value-added activities.
Don't block off every bit of whitespace, but at least an hour each day (maybe broken up into 15-30 minute increments) to walk around the office, think, plan, complete various tasks, etc.
Take control over your schedule and be intentional about how you allocate your time. Delegate authority whenever possible and allow your team to share more of the load.
Let them shine and provide yourself with the time and energy to lead your team to even greater accomplishments.