Business, Politics, & Society

Anna Wintour’s Time Management Tips

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Dec 19, 2019 • 4 min read

Anna Wintour lives a highly-organized life. The Vogue editor-in-chief starts her daily routine at 4 a.m. and makes the most of every minute of her workday until she goes home at 5 p.m. How does she do it? Impeccable time management skills. Wintour’s time management tips are as essential to the success of a magazine editor-in-chief as they are to any professional looking to reach peak productivity and accomplish important goals.

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What Is Time Management?

Time management is an organizational process of creating a schedule to accomplish certain tasks. It includes prioritizing responsibilities and setting a certain amount of time to work on each one. The goal of effective time management is to get more done in less time.

Why Are Time Management Skills Important?

Successful people are adept at increasing productivity. Time management is one way to achieve this. Designing time management strategies and organizing daily tasks creates a visual roadmap of both short-term and long-term goals and allows for complete focus on specific activities—meaning completing each task takes less time.

Anna Wintour’s 4 Time Management Tips

If she’s not in a meeting, Anna Wintour is getting things done on the go. Here are Anna’s tips for managing your time throughout the course of a day:

  1. Become a morning person. Anna wakes up between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. and reads the British and American newspapers (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian), looks at Twitter and Instagram, exercises (usually tennis), responds to emails, and mentally maps out her day. If you wake up early, you can get a head start before the tasks of the day creep up on you
  2. Keep meetings as small as possible. Arriving at the office between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., Anna’s day typically consists of various meetings ranging in size and intimacy, from one-on-ones with editors in her office to fashion and features meetings with up to 40 people. Anna prefers small meetings—they tend to be the most efficient—but larger meetings are an important time for everyone to get on the same page.
  3. Get work done even when you’re out and about. Throughout the day Anna will often have meetings outside of the office, at the Met or designers’ studios. Even so, she makes a point of responding quickly to emails and queries from her entire Vogue team to keep things moving forward.
  4. Know when to take work home. You’ll need a system for staying on top of things that works for you. Anna, for example, has the “take-home bag”: At the end of each day, the take-home bag is filled with a variety of things that need Anna’s feedback or approval, including a mock-up of the issue that is currently in production. Anna goes through the mock-up every night and comments on it with Post-it notes. She then goes over her notes with the art department and editors the next morning. The take-home bag will also include drafts of articles for upcoming issues, pitches for future stories, photographer or stylist portfolios, invitations, and scheduling questions.
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7 Effective Time Management Techniques

There are several different techniques to get control of your time. These include:

  1. Set clear goals. Goal setting is a necessary part of project management, allowing you to prioritize important tasks and eliminate unnecessary ones that are not relevant to your goals.
  2. Create a to-do list. Write out every small task you need to accomplish. Put urgent tasks first and combine similar tasks. Prioritize important tasks based on goals and deadlines. Make this a routine at the end of the day. Prepare for the next day and gather up any important work you need to review.
  3. Set a time limit. Schedule a window of time for each item on your list. Some tasks, like meetings, might need to happen at a specific time. Schedule everything else by priority.
  4. Stop multitasking. Tackle your to-do list one item at a time. Jumping between two or more tasks creates busywork but is inefficient and takes up a lot of time.
  5. Focus. Give your full attention to the task you’re working on. Procrastination is easy with distractions nearby. Eliminate bad habits, avoid phone calls while you’re working, and close social media sites.
  6. Hire a team of strong people and start delegating. Anna has her own style of how she does things, but putting together every issue of Vogue takes a lot of people. One of the best time management tools is delegating specific activities to a talented group of people.
  7. Don’t forget to take a breather. Include downtime between different tasks. Get up and move, go for a walk, listen to podcasts, and return to your next action item refreshed and ready to go. Make sure you have your own time that isn’t devoted to work.

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