Managers Need to Manage Time: 7 Great Tips to Do Just That

Who knew that managing time was right at the top of the list for being effective at what you do?

As a manager, the burden is always on you to navigate a wide variety of skills and people. If you think about it, the first task is to become an effective manager of your time. Why? Because if you are always behind and dancing as fast as you can, you will not only lose credibility, you will be exhausted and stressed and probably fail. You will give your employees permission to be that way as well as they look to you to lead by power of example.

Additionally, if you are running meetings that are too long and unfocused or not holding accountability for deadlines, others will not hold themselves to a high standard either.

It goes without saying that we stay busy all the time and lose track of our high value items. There is always something screaming for our attention, and we never lack for things to do. But, do you have any idea which of the everyday things you do actually holds the most value for you or for your organization? Filing has value, as does researching online. But where do these things rank in comparison to planning and conducting an important sales meeting or reviewing the sales projections from the last quarter?

Here are 7 creative ways that managers can better manage their time:

  • Set a great example for others to follow. If you, as the manager, are able to say NO to interruptions and set boundaries, you will model the behavior for everyone around you. Set the bar! Teach people how to treat you by setting boundaries. Of course you want to have an open door policy, and be available - AND at the same time preserve time when you are not available so you can actually get work done. Interruptions are very costly!
  • Get to know your direct reports so that you can work efficiently with their style of communication and operating. This will save you not only time but aggravation, which, in essence, is a huge distraction and time waster.
  • Spend less time putting out fires each day. It is really important to learn to respond rather than react. Putting out fires is often filled with drama. To be more effective, give yourself permission to stop and think about possible solutions rather than just jumping right in to fix the problem.
  • Delegate effectively, and be sure that you have the right people in place to delegate to. This will open up the time you need to effectively handle your priorities.
  • Hire a productivity/time management coach for yourself if time/self-management isn't your strength, and you are constantly feeling all over the place.
  • Communicative effectively. The more clearly people know what is expected and when, the more quickly they can get it done.
  • Remember that your to-do list is not your calendar! Spend time each day (not negotiable) planning and establishing your priorities for that day.

Time is our most precious commodity. Managing time effectively - especially with the tsunami that so many of us deal with day in and day out - doesn't always come naturally. As a manager, the more effectively you manage your own time, the more successful and powerful you will be. It isn't negotiable!

Have a really productive day, and feel free to reach out for a 15-minute, no obligation conversation about your greatest challenge and what you can do about it immediately. Best way to reach me is by email or phone: nancy@nancysnell.com or 212-517-6488.

Warmly,

Coach Nancy

ADHD and the Business Owner: Is it a gift? Or a glitch?

I worked on an article with a wonderful gentleman named Jay Goltz who writes a blog named "You're The Boss" for the New York Times. 

Our article was published years ago, but is still totally relevant and I thought it would be fun to share some of the content with you again.

Excerpt:

It has been recognized that many successful people have ADHD. In many cases, it is a critical ingredient to their success. A lesser known fact is that it can also be a cause of stress, self-loathing, embarrassment and lack of productivity. Like many things, ADHD takes many forms. It can be mild to crippling. It can be a great source of energy, or a great source of grief. I asked Ms. Snell what questions business owners should ask themselves to determine whether they have some form of ADHD. Here are her five questions:

  1. Do you struggle with day-to-day planning, project management and follow-up?
  2. Do you lack the systems, discipline and focus to manage your workload?
  3. Do you procrastinate too much and fail to accomplish things that need to get done?
  4.  Do you feel you’re not as effective and productive as you would like to be?
  5.  Are you easily distracted?

Interesting. While I would say that I can relate (to some degree) to all five of those issues, I have concluded that Ms. Snell was not sent on a mission to save me. I was, however, intrigued that someone could make a living being an ADHD coach. I wanted to know more, for two reasons. I realized that if I could improve on any of the five issues, it could be very helpful. I was also intrigued to learn that ADHD is a serious problem in business — that she has clients who are really in pain. I asked her to give me examples and to give us a primer on how she coaches people for better performance. Here are two examples:

  1.  A vice president of an advertising agency who was having a hard time focusing. The stress from being chronically late to meetings, procrastinating and from constantly having to make excuses was getting to him. He didn’t like his job but couldn’t get organized to look around. Ms. Snell helped him put systems in place and identify habits that were counter-productive. She found he frequently forgot to return phone calls because he called his voicemail from his car where he couldn’t write down a message. She worked with him to find a different approach. My reaction? Part of me thinks a grown man shouldn’t need to be told how to take phone messages, but another part of me understands that we all do things that we know aren’t smart, including me. According to Ms. Snell, he applied what he learned to every aspect of his working life and has greatly reduced his stress. He also found a better job.
  2.  A chief executive of a 70-person hedge fund who was bothered that he was constantly getting distracted in meetings — even meetings that he was running. Ms. Snell found that these “distractions” were often, in fact, very important ideas or revelations that could be valuable but needed to be managed. She developed a system where he would have two pads of paper with him at every meeting: one for meeting notes and one for everything else that came to mind. This simple solution allowed him to be more focused and productive without worrying about what he might miss.

There is obviously far more to each story than I can include in these short examples. To me, the point is this: When many people think of ADD, they think of school-age boys jumping on sofas. For adults, the reality is that ADD is about having more ideas than you can process or manage. Having a lot of ideas is the gift; having them distract you from what needs to get done causes stress. The opportunity is to manage the ADHD so that it is an asset instead of a liability. Whether you hire someone to help with this process or make some adjustments on your own, I think it is a topic that has been largely ignored. But then again, I wasn’t paying that much attention.

So there you have it!

I would love to hear your thoughts, comments, experience around this topic. Is it a gift or is it a glitch? You tell me!

Have a productive day, and see how long you can stay focused on just one thing.

Coach Nancy

Crazy Busy Coaching Just Might Be a Solution!

Why Are Some Really Smart People Underperforming These Days?

The demand of modern office life is leading to an increasingly common condition many of us in the field recognize as Attention Deficit Trait (ADT). As I always like to say: "You don't have to be ADD to feel like it these days"! So many of us are struggling with the tsunami that has become our world.

Believe it or not, overworked managers — like your colleagues, employees and maybe even YOU — are suffering from a very real neurological phenomenon caused by brain overload. Previously dependable executives are being turned into overwhelmed underachievers. In truth, the human brain just isn't made to "download" all of the information that is bombarding it on a minute-to-minute basis. We just don't have the data points.

Interestingly, some of the core symptoms of chronic circuit overload and ADT are:

  • Distractibility/Underperformance
  • Inner frenzy
  • Impatience
  • Stress
  • Procrastination
  • Disorganization

Ultimately, ADT wreaks havoc among harried executives, managers and employees, leading to lost productivity that hits companies where it hurts most: the bottom line.

There is a practical and achievable solution.

Professional coaching is an ongoing partnership that focuses on defining and setting goals in order to get great results. Crazy Busy Coaching is structured for business leaders, managers and decision-makers who are intent on changing the workplace culture that fosters ADT. This process is about retraining yourself and your employees through creating and maintaining support, external structures, timeframes and strategies.

Through extensive research and personal experience I have created a proprietary system called Crazy Busy Coaching — a collaborative process that helps executives with ADT or managing ADT in the workplace take action — and get results.

  • You will learn effective, invaluable tools and strategies needed to prosper in the world of speed and overload in which we live.
  • We will help you devise strategic action plans for getting totally focused and on track — setting concrete goals and a practical and effective course of action for following through.
  • You'll learn exactly how to think clearly, plan effectively, protect your time, manage the overwhelm and do what you always thought was impossible.

The result?

  • Gain confidence
  • Get the most important things done everyday
  • Feel complete at the end of the day
  • Achieve greater productivity at work
  • Replace frustration, inefficiency and paralysis with peace of mind and overall well-being

I call that priceless!

If you would like to schedule a 15 minute conversation with me to discuss, I'd love to hear from you. Email me at nancy@nancysnell.com, or call my office at 212 517 6488.

And always remember to have a productive day!

Warmly,

Coach Nancy

Influencer Series: Susan Wilson Solovic

CLose up cropped in black dress with pearls at piano
CLose up cropped in black dress with pearls at piano

Susan Wilson Solovic is a small business expert, award-winning serial entrepreneur, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Amazon.com top 100 and USA Today bestselling author, media personality, keynote speaker and attorney. Solovic regularly appears as a contributor on Fox Business, Fox News, The Wall Street Journal’s “Lunch Break”, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC and today - The Distracted Executive!

The Distracted Executive: What has become your greatest challenge around managing time? What is your very best practice for being as efficient as you are?

Susan Wilson Solovic: Actually, I am a good time manager.  I learned when I was an executive with a Fortune 100 company, a night law-school student, a wife and a step-mom how to make every minute of the day count.  The first thing I do when my feet hit the ground in the morning is schedule my day in my mind.  That includes time for personal needs such as exercise or social interactions and of course family.  My calendar is my Bible.

TDE: Everything seems important or urgent these days. How do you efficiently navigate your to-do list without hindering your success?

SWS: Every morning I consider what things absolutely must be done that day.  I focus on those things first.  Once they are done I start on the rest of my list.  If you spend too much time looking at everything on your list you'll be overwhelmed and probably jump from one thing to another, not really accomplishing anything.

TDE: You must work with some people who are all over the place. How do you deal with someone who is very distracted and not giving you what you need in a timely manner?

SWS: I'm very focused on deadlines.  Even for myself, I think deadlines are important.  So I give someone a timeframe and expect them to honor it.

TDE: How are you impacted by interruptions during the day? What is your #1 tip for dealing with them?

SWS: Interruptions will always happen so I always have a little cushion in my "schedule."  If something starts eating up my time, I usually try to end it but offer a time to return to the issue or project.

TDE: As an entrepreneur, author, speaker and media personality  juggling many balls, what is the greatest challenge in your business today, and what are you doing to address it?

SWS: My biggest challenge is growing too quickly.  It's hard for me to turn down opportunities, so sometimes I take on too much and I don't have the back room support I need.  When that happens, I get stressed and so does my team. As a business owner, you should really look at each opportunity and make sure you can take on new opportunities without jeopardizing others. I tell business owners to remember, when you say yes to one thing, you effectively say no to something else because you simply can't do everything. I need to follow my own advice.

Thank you Susan, for your time!

If you'd like to get in touch with Susan, you can call her office directly at 866-227-8684 ext. 11.

Digital Detox

A digital detox can be a scary proposition!

We went to a BBQ last week at the beach.

Our hostess had a fabulous "Hamptons chic" basket and asked each of us to put our cell phones in there upon arriving. She said she wanted to do an experiment to see what it would be like to have one evening - just one - where we could focus on one another and have real uninterrupted conversations. A throwback to days and times gone by.

Some guests balked. Some felt naked. Some of us were skeptical but willing. Some thought it was the most ingenious thing they had ever heard of.

What happened? The first few minutes were a bit uncomfortable as our fingers twitched to click something, anything, look at a screen or see what someone we barely knew was up to. There was a definite hole that was yearning to be filled.

Then something interesting and wonderful happened. We all began to chat (remember that form of socialization?) and get to know about each other. Meaning that we had real conversations with real live people. We looked one another in the eyes and learned about our kids, work, interests, etc. We ended up all having a really great time and really enjoyed ourselves. Nobody was checking Instagram or distracted by texts.

We all survived. In fact, after the initial awkwardness, we didn't even miss them at all. So what I am saying here is "try it". Not only at a party but turning off and giving yourself the dignity of it all.

You just might even reconnect with yourself!

Have a productive day.

Coach Nancy