Tips For Setting Time Management Boundaries With Others

As managers and leaders, our time is precious. Not only do we face the challenge of organizing our own time, but days are filled with the time of others as well. As a leader, I have an open door policy and also navigate various meetings throughout the day. In this week’s quick tip, we offer two tips for establishing boundaries when it comes to leadership training and time management.

How To Curb Interruptions

Because I have an open door policy, team members drop by my office at various times throughout the day. There’s no predicting what may come up during the day and as a leader, I believe in helping to keep productivity moving along rather than stalling by not making myself available. During the course of a day, I may answer questions pertaining to projects, provide guidance, or help tackle unforeseen issues that arise. Either way, it’s important that I let my team know that although I’m available to help, that I do have my own tasks to accomplish and therefore, my time also means something.

In order to help keep my team on track and things moving along, I preface interruptions with a simple reminder that I’m busy but can spare some time to help. This might sound something like, “Hi! I’m in the middle of something, how can I help you?” or “I’m really busy but have a few minutes, what’s going on?”

By letting my team member know that I’m busy, it automatically cuts small talk and encourages them to get right to the point. I’ve found that by doing this, interruptions typically last only a few minutes rather than consuming large chunks of time in my day.

Keeping Meetings In Check

Meetings take up a ton of time, so it’s important to do everything you can as a leader to set boundaries when it comes to the amount of time you spend in meetings. In addition to organizing and running productive meetings using an agenda, it’s important to set time boundaries right away. Before kicking off a meeting, remind the other party about the amount of time you have earmarked for the conversation. You can say something like, “thanks for meeting today. As a reminder, I have to leave in one hour for another meeting.”

Setting time boundaries at the beginning of a meeting and managing the amount of time you have using an agenda as reference are two tools that help keep time management in check.

Stick To Your Boundaries

I’ve found great success using these two tips when it comes to setting time management boundaries with others. Recipients have been receptive and the sense of urgency helps keep the conversation on track. Being able to set time management boundaries with others helps keep my day on track and allows me to focus on my tasks in addition to spending time with and helping others.