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Time Leadership

There was a time when I was not very good at time management. I had a bad habit of arriving a little late to most meetings and not being fully prepared. I was not aware of myself but felt the stress. I had to take a deeper dive and look in my own mirror to start my change.


Life and business can be overwhelming. But it is alarming how often I hear business leaders these days tell me confidentially about their struggles to manage their time. Time is one of the scarcest resources that we have. And still, we don’t treat it as such!


There is no easy solution to this. For most of us, it’s a personal journey that we must go through. It’s clear that mastering our own time is critical to enjoying work and life and to be able to continue to do so for a long time.


Let me share some of my personal time leadership tools and suggestion that have helped me and that may be helpful for you too.


  1. Find out what works best for you: segmenting or integrating your time between work and private life. I used to do it segmented and learned over the years that for me an integrated approach works much better. But this is personal! Both approaches have their pros and cons. Try it out for yourself!
  2. Learn to apply the Eisenhower Matrix to your work life. Differentiate every request that you get. Is this urgent -must be done immediately- or important? Each segment requires a different action from you and influences how you spend your time.
  3. Create a daily discipline to start your day. Some suggestions: meditate, eat a healthy breakfast, do something physical like Yoga or a workout. After that, open your calendar and plan the day before looking at your socials/emails. Prioritize for the important one or two things that absolutely need to be done that day. All the rest comes lower.
  4. Start creating much more buffer time in your calendar. I have learned the hard way that going to the airport very early pays off. Same with traveling to clients by car. Almost everything gets delayed and takes more time.
  5. Control your own agenda. We are not robots. If you work with a Personal Assistant, I think that managing your own time (or in close harmony with your PA) is most effective.
  6. Ask yourself if you really must attend every meeting, you get invited for? Start hiring great people, groom them and start delegating much more! Everybody can be replaced!
  7. Block thinking time as important in your calendar. It can be every Friday afternoon. Four hours per week is not too much. Read about your business. Go out and network. Inspire yourself.


And you know, life and work are not perfect. Every now and then things go differently than we expect. I’ve learned some of these things the hard way. If we start applying some of these tools and approaches to our daily life, and stick to them, it’s a great way to increase our impact.


Nowadays I’m almost always on time. It’s respectful to the people I meet with and I’m able to accomplish more.


Hope this inspires.


Paul Donkers

Paul P.J. Donkers is a sought-after global business coach and management consultant. More about his work and projects can be found via and via

Paul and his partners work since decades with leaders to assist them create more value. If you want to have a confidential conversation, just reach out to us via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

By Paul Donkers

"my purpose is to help improve strategy execution, to create high performing teams and coach for effective business leaders"

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