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We are excited to be back with our first Giants Weekly session of 2021. To kick start the year, we were joined by Merryn Clancy to uncover how to carve out time to focus on what matters. Merryn took us through effectively defining your purpose, actionable strategies for your Monday morning routine, and how you can empower those around you. Watch Merryn’s presentation in full below, or read on for our key takeaways.

Watch Merryn's presentation in full here.

Defining Your Purpose

“Time is a nonrenewable resource.” In her first job Merryn had no clearly defined goals or way of knowing what was mission critical. This meant her time was spent on whatever short term task cried the loudest. To value our time, we need to define our purpose. To do this, be clear on what your role is, what your goals are and what is in the way of you achieving those goals. This process allows you to allocate your time each week based on how much it aligns with your purpose. Priorities are simply the tasks that are impediments or things in the way of achieving your goals. Without purpose, time allocation is tied to notifications, calendar invites and other short term problems. Defining purpose enables you to take time away from these things and focus on what high level actions you can do to add value to the company.

Monday Morning Routine

Determine your own priorities before anything else, says Merryn. Effective prioritisation is a skill and there are ways to improve. The fundamentals Merryn recommends are:

  • Create a task for every single thing you need to do, think about and need to follow up on. Be it a 15 minute email or reading an article, include it in your task list.
  • Have a single list that contains all those tasks, Merryn recommends Asana as a project management tool.
  • When you arrive on a Monday morning you should have 95% of your tasks ready for the week. Merryn carves out two hours at the beginning of every week - before any meetings or reviewing Slack - to review and schedule these tasks.
  • Merryn uses the following headings to organise her priorities: recently added, focus, today, early this week, late this week, next week and backlog. By being a slave to your calendar, you are a slave to no one else but yourself.

Empowering Your Team

After you have set your own priorities, it is time to empower your team to do the same. A tool Merryn uses as an executive is weekly accountability meetings, in the form of a 20-40 minute 1:1 with each direct report on Monday. Be overzealous in your commitment to this meeting, says Merryn. Additionally, always have a shared written agenda and write down all action items. Here is a template that Merryn uses:

Effective time management allows you to focus on the things that matter. The cornerstone of this is having a system that you use day in and day out. In the words of Merryn, “consistency is 90% of making this work.” Make sure to register for the next Giants Weekly session of the year with Shaun Restorick-Barton.