360 Calendar Management
Work Life Balance
Categories: Leadership, Time Management, Work Life Balance
The Message: Unfortunately, Ed’s situation is all too common for those scaling up to a leader of leaders role. Increases in demands can’t be met simply by working longer and harder; at some point, an important commodity—time--dries up, because the leader can’t get everything done and keep balance. Just like the little pig that built the brick house the big bad wolf couldn’t blow down; the leader needs to build strong time-management skills early so he can better scale to the demands a leader of leaders faces. Waiting to become a leader of leaders (or worse, not building strong time management skills at all) means the leader won’t be sustainable as a scaled-up leader.
Want to get better at time management? Give these nine time-management habits a look:
The Consequences: By not taking intentional action to manage your time, your consequences could include:
The Next Steps:
What 16 Years Working from Home Taught Me
Working from Home
Categories: Career Management, Time Management, Working from Home
In 2004, my wife Patty and I decided to team homeschool our autistic son because we knew he would need more help as he entered middle school. I had spent 20 years in corporate America, working for both Accenture and Microsoft, but in the Fall of 2004, I became his part-time math and science teacher, spending the remainder of my time doing business consulting and writing books.
Up to that time I always had either a client or office to go to. With the change to homeschool teacher/author/consultant, I now had no place to go each day. My office was either our playroom where we homeschooled, our home office, or local coffee shops. It was definitely an adjustment and I learned a lot about how to be effective without going to a workplace. Now I can’t imagine it any other way.
In 2020, millions of people were quickly forced into working from home. When I started working from home sixteen years earlier, I had the benefit of preparing for my new life—a stark difference from those who suddenly found themselves in work-from-home mode with little warning or preparation. Some aspects of 2020 versus 2004 were easier and others harder, for example, the collaboration tools available in 2020 were simply non-existent in 2004. But the bottom line is the changes were massive and required significant adjustments.
In my 16 years of not having an office I experienced a lot of bumps and bruises to get into an effective work/life rhythm. Key to my learnings was the need to enforce greater self-discipline about:
It’s those bumps and bruises that I want to help others avoid in shifting to a sustainable work-from-home lifestyle, which I have boiled down into five lessons:
For many, working from home may be a long-term if not permanent reality. Consider these five lessons to help you design a sustainable and satisfying work-from-home lifestyle.
In Search of the Least-Worst Alternative
Categories: Leadership, Project Management, Time Management
In 1985, The Coca-Cola Company introduced a new formula for its Coca-Cola product, calling it “New Coke.” Consumer reaction to the new formula was negative, and within three months the original formula was revived and rebranded as “Coca-Cola Classic.” The company was faced with a decision-- keep the new formula and try to change consumer perception or abandon the product. The New Coke product was ultimately discontinued in July 2002. As the company navigated their choices, the alternatives were about how to recover from a bad situation, with its management faced with minimizing a profit hit and negative consumer sentiment. Their decision path ultimately worked out well, but the decisions along the way were painful choices meant to minimize loss.
A huge part of a leader’s job is making decisions based on informed alternatives which articulate both the positive and negative consequences of the decision. The typical mode of operation is to look at pros and cons and do a pros to cons weight assessment of which alternative’s pros best outweigh the cons. But what about when there aren’t any pros, yet a decision needs to be made? I’ve seen leader decision-making hobbled because there is no good alternative in the decision set, looking for pros in a sea of cons. There’s no good alternative, so it’s about choosing the least-worst alternative.
Next time you are faced with choosing between worse and more-worse alternatives, keep the following six factors in mind:
Navigating through bad alternatives isn’t fun, but having the ability to skillfully and objectively get to a least-worst alternative is a crucial skill the best leaders possess. Keep top of mind whether you’re making a maximize-benefit or least-worst decision and ensure your decision makers understand the type of decision they’re making.
'I Can’t Keep Up!' Six Principles for Using Your Calendar to Get More Done
Categories: Time Management
Through my years I’ve seen many leaders at all levels struggle with getting things done either by having to work late in the evenings and on weekends or by completely missing due dates. As I’ve talked with these leaders, they just consider it part of the job, unable or unwilling to do anything about it. I found myself early in my career doing the exact same thing; setting unrealistic expectations and killing myself to try to meet them, only to have a limited success rate of delivering on time. I hated that hamster wheel.
1. Make your to-do list a “done” list – It’s commonplace to keep a to-do list. My approach is to apply four changes to the prototypical to-do list:
A common thread through these principles is discipline. You can put the best-intentioned techniques in place but if you don’t follow them, you’re dooming yourself to emails at midnight. Seriously consider the principles, put your spin on them, and put them into action.