Hi all,


I'm a relatively new manager with just a few years' experience.  At the moment my boss is growing my role - we've had some discussions about succession planning, and so I'm really stoked at the prospect of more challenge and a bigger role.  One thing I haven't got a handle on yet is how to be more effective with my time management.  I'm finding that my day is a whirlwind of activity, not one composed of more considered, carefully planned activities.  IS this the new normal I must get used to (in which case I'll get used to it) or is there a way to be more effective with the use and specifically the planning of my day.  To give some specific examples, I'm noticing that the routine stuff is slipping.  I've done "restarts" on my O3's twice in the last 3 months and I'm still not making them happen every week with every direct.   Throughout my day I feel as if I'm thrashing a lot.  There's a bigger demand on my time from more people, and so I move from one task to the next with a vague feeling of leaving the previous item too early, possibly not fully completed.  At the end of the day if I reflect on what happened in the day it looks like a mishmash of activity.  Written down like this it sounds more desperate than it really is, I think.  I guess the chief question I have is whether this is normal in middle management or whether I should be more in control of what happens with my time on a given day.  Should I assign myself certain times of day to get certain tasks done (very early in the morning or late in the evening I often DO get more done at my desk, so I regularly squeeze these hours into my day so that I can get stuff done)?  Or is there some secret formula to organising my day that I'm not aware of?





Singers's picture

Hi Pedantix,

For a very long time I had the same problems, my greatest help have been David Allen's book below:

I'm a high C and for a high C not feeling things are getting RIGHT can be very stressful, however this was a great way for me to understand how to prioritize and focus.

Kind Regards

Mads Sorensen

Disc 4536

jp335782's picture


Mark & Mike have casts that may help you.  Go to MT Podcasts and select the topic "Time Management."


I just listened to Calendar Management yesterday and found two things particularly helpful:

* Schedule an End Time for every day (my days tend to seep into my nights, or I have in my head I can use evening time to catch up - that thought makes me less effective during the day)

* Schedule a time for Email and only do Email during that time (I'm in the field 4/5 days and rely heavily on my blackberry, but I find when I start "responding" to email during my planned activities, that creates the whirwind.  I need to stick to my planned activities and only respond to email during those scheduled times)

Hope this helps. . . .

Jamie P.

buddhawtb's picture

 Hi Pedantix;

I would say what you are experiencing is quite normal although not quite desirable.  I think above posts offer good advice. MT has some good advice on TM and David Allen's book is good as well, although personally i felt too hard to implement in totality. 

I'd also recommend Total Work Day Control - Michael Linenberger, Bit Literacy - Mark Hurst, The Effective Executive - Drucker. 

It's quite easy to get caught up in the "whirlwind of the day" but you need to take time out to focus and schedule time for work on the really important issues which can move the ball forward for you and your dept.  

There is no secret formula. In my mind everyone has to find a system that works for them. 

dharley's picture
Training Badge

Hi Peter,

I have to heartily second Mads' recommendation of David Allen's Getting Things Done.  I'm a high D, high C director of operations for a large broker/dealer and the principles Allen recommends allow me to really keep it together. 

One of the first exercises Allen has you do is get everything out of your head and in to what he calls a "trusted system." That exercise alone is very freeing and can give you a real jump-start on organization.  I've been using GTD for about 6 years now and I have to say that others are often jealous at how organized I am. 

Also key to your success is effectively weaving in the MT concepts.  I block 2 hours on my calendar each Monday  (8:00 - 10:00 AM).  The first hour is to prep for O3s and team meetings and the second hour is to prepare for the meetings ahead.  I am typically in 30 or so meetings per week so this time is critical to my effectiveness.  It is also important to let your admin and your staff know that O3 time is sacred and that you will decline any meetings scheduled over them. 

Best of luck in your new role.   You are taking a great first step using the forum.  Enjoy the ride and see you at the top!