Organizational Time Management for Leaders
DECEMBER 3, 2009
Home ELS Home Leadership Development Executive Leadership Training Change Management Learning Products Employee Selection Contact us Dec 03 Organizational Time Management for Leaders By admin Jonette Crowley, principal of Enlightened Leadership Solutions, shares an article she wrote about her perspectives on time management that she uses in executive and leadership training. We’ve all taken various Time Management courses over the years – we make lists, we prioritize A, B, & C; we plan to do important things not just urgent things first. Yet the companies that we work for unintentionally thwart our best attempts to do the right things at the right time. I’ve polled many of my executive friends and clients to see what they say are the biggest obstacles to productivity. Here they are in order of frustration: Planned Meetings (this actually takes the blue, red & white ribbons) Email overload Informal “doorway meetings” Incoming phone calls Of course the culprit in all of this is just way too much to do in too little time (And the company dares to list work/life balance as one of the objectives!) Here are some ideas we’ve come up with so that the organization can support you in managing your time better. We’ll start with the topic of meetings and get to the other categories in later articles. Of course, some of these ideas will need to be modified to fit a particular workplace, but you can get the drift. MEETINGS Have you seen the poster that says: “We’re going to keep on having these meetings until we can figure out why nothing is getting done around here”? Meeting Periods Remember college? Classes were often 50 minutes with a 10-minute passing period. Woe to the professor who tried to keep you late. You were perfectly within your rights to load up your backpack and leave. Remember too, that they managed to get a lot packed into those 50-minute periods? Suggestion: Have all meetings start promptly on the hour and end promptly 50 minutes later unless they are specified as a 2-perriod or 3-period meeting. (3period meetings should be pretty rare). Blackout Times We can’t have work/life balance at 7am or 4:30pm if we offer flex items and continue to schedule meetings. If you’re serious about allowing employees to have a life, all meetings should be scheduled between 10 am and 4pm. The reason we say no meetings before 10 is that every employee deserves to have the first hour of the day to get organized and get a few pressing things accomplished before they are called away. Project Wednesdays How many times do we feel forced to procrastinate an important project because we just don’t have 3 or 4 hours of uninterrupted time to work on it? Here’s the deal! Wednesdays are project days: No meetings, no expectation that phone calls will be returned or emails answered. The office door is closed. If you need information from someone for Wednesdays’ project, you’d better get it handled on Tuesday. The project day is the day you work on your “big rocks”. It only works if it is held sacred by the entire organization or at least a department. Just think of what you could plan to get done if you had a whole day every week to work on something without distraction! Meeting Productivity Some companies require the person calling a meeting to email out or P.A.L. to everyone at least 2 days before the meeting. The P.A.L. clearly specified Purpose Agenda Items Length This helps keep meetings finite and to the point. Promptness must become a cultural norm. A 10-minute late start in a meeting with 12 people is 2 Executive hours wasted, kaput, down the drain… For fun, we sometimes throw paper wads at latecomers. It’s light-hearted, but it works. If the meeting honcho can’t clearly state the purpose and some agenda items, then it’s not likely to be the best use of your time. This brings us to the next point, a radical idea… Meetings Optional Having Mandatory gatherings sometimes allows us to be sloppy in managing the tightness and effectiveness of a meeting; people are there because they have to be there. What if we trusted our employees to know what’s the very best use of their time? If we ran informative, decisive, well-directed meetings, that given their job priorities, people would choose to show up. FORWARD FOCUSED MEETINGS One of the reasons we have so many meetings is that they’re often so awful that nothing actually gets done. Forward Focus™ completely changes the dynamic! Jonette Crowley and the Enlightened Leadership Team Categories : Management Tips and Techniques , leadership skill development 1 Comments 1 Ed Tate December 4th, 2009 at 7:53 am Because of this article, I can see the ‘leaks’ in my own personal productivity. I love ‘Project Wednesdays’ and P.A.L. concept. As a solo-preneur, I have many “phone meetings or conference calls. After reading your article, I need to create “conference call Tuesdays & Thursdays. That is, consolidating my calls to a few days or time periods. Making calls daily at different times stifles momentum. I will apply these ideas immediately. Thanks for the new views on time management. 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