Important rather than urgent
A few years ago I was buried in the never ending “Urgent” things that needed to be done, and was constantly busy doing other peoples jobs all day and only after everyone else had gone home and the phone stopped ringing and the email's stopped filling up my Inbox, did I finally get chance to do the important things, my things. Needless to say it was now late and time to go home and help with feeding the kids and getting them to bed. Then I'd find myself working late into the night. I was not really setting myself up for success.
In Stephen Covey's book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," he talks about how there are four Quadrants or Zones where we spend our time;
Zone 1 - Crises management (where people are busy putting out fires and solving other peoples problems)
Zone 2 - Focused Leadership (where we know we should be but are always too BUSY to get there)
Zone 3 - Distractions (dealing with the unimportant time sucks that will not contribute to your success)
Zone 4 - Time wasters (busy doing stuff that will get you absolutely no results)
How do I get started?
Zone 2 is the quadrant of Excellence, the place you want to spend at least 80% of your time; setting strategic goals, working on processes and systems, building relationships, holding 121's with your direct reports.
Reduce or STOP Zone 1 activities. Develop a list of only 3 things that are the most strategically important thing you need to do, schedule time every day to work on these before doing anything else.
Delegate all of the other less important Zone 3 activities to someone who is on a lower pay scale within or outside you organization.
Eliminate Zone 4 activities from your life immediately!!
Good luck, let me know how you get on.