CEO Blog

Category Archives: Time Management

All blog posts by Kevin Dee, Chairman at Eagle — Canada’s premier staffing agency, related to time management.

Getting Started If You are Overwhelmed and Disorganised

Jim Rohn Start from wherever you areMany people find themselves in this situation … overwhelmed and unsure about how to dig out from under the pile!

I could talk all day about good time management practices but when you are in this position you just need some help.

“Time is what we want most, but what we spend worst.”  William Penn

  1. Make something happen.  Inertia is addictive, and the more you become paralyzed by your situation the worse it gets.  So pick something that is important and just get it done!  Focus entirely on getting that one thing done and ignore the other things on your plate.
  2. Once you have one thing off your plate … remind yourself that you did it!  You had a success.  Do NOT get overwhelmed again … pick another thing. and get that done.
  3. Choosing the things to get done can also be paralyzing … so don’t overthink it.  Remember you were getting nothing done before, so this is significant progress.
  4. Complex tasks can be tiring, and completing them one after the other can be draining.  Mix things up a bit by adding in smaller (still important tasks) in between the larger ones.

Completing work gives a sense of accomplishment, and provides a little relief to that “overwhelmed” feeling.  However, it is only by taking control of your day that you will feel in control, and relieve that stress.

“Procrastination is the foundation of all disasters.”  Pandora Poikilos

So … the long term solution is to get organised!

  1. Create  a To Do List (or several To Do lists … all the tasks you NEED to do.
  2. Prioritise your work … what is important and what is urgent!
  3. Organise your calendar so that you have time set aside for the work to be done.  Create meetings with yourself so you won’t be interrupted.
  4. Delegate what you can … if possible.
  5. Ignore what you can … not everything is important.
  6. Be very focused on getting stuff done … rather than worrying about how you will get it ALL done..
  7. Use the triage method of organising  your work, just like the hospital.  The most urgent (and important) items get done first.
  8. Get help!  Whether it could be advice and guidance from your management, ideas and tips from your colleagues, or training on time management from wherever you can get it!

Life is too short to be living under such stress.  If you apply your skills in an organised manner you may well surprise yourself at how much you can achieve AND how good you feel about those achievements.

“A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”  George Patton

Good time management practices could probably reduce workplace stress significantly!

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Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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Goals … Just Set Some!

Dream becomes goal quote by Bo BennettAre you a person that sets goals in your life?  If that is the case, then congratulations, because you are one of a very small minority!

I often encourage people to take charge of their lives, to LIVE life and not just let life happen to them.

Goals are a great tool to help you actually take charge of your life!

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.”  Zig Ziglar

Introducing goals into your routine is a change and like most change, the best way to get started is to start small and keep it manageable.

1. Set a couple of goals … just do it! Don’t wait for month end, start of a new week, the New Year or any other procrastination trick do it NOW.
2. Pick something you can do, make it very specific!  An example might be … I will lose 5lb in the next month … starting right now! (Of course the next step is to create the action plan that will meet the target).
3. Write down the goal … and tell someone about it! (Your partner, a friend, or a colleague). This makes it real and a true commitment!
4. Track your progress as often as makes sense … if it’s a weight goal maybe you want to weigh yourself weekly.
5. Reward yourself for meeting goals … do not reward yourself if you miss them. Eg. If I lose 5lb by the target date I will treat myself to some new clothes. If you don’t make it then put off the treat.
6. Once you start to get the hang of this, add some more goals and repeat!

“This one step – choosing a goal and sticking to it – changes everything.”  Scott Reed

People who are really successful at this will have goals for many different aspects of their lives … health and fitness; relationships; time management/organization; finances; career; training; hobbies. Etc.

Meeting your goals will improve your confidence redue stress and lay the foundation for even more success.

Give it a try … what have you got to lose?

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.”  Jim Rohn

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Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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Time Management is THE Key

Jim Rohn quote about time managementThe ability to get the important stuff done, to manage a tough work load and be super productive … THAT is what sets apart the most successful people.

You could be the smartest person on the planet but if you are not getting the important stuff done then your success will be limited.

Are you driven by your day … or do you work your plan?

Do you let important stuff slip because you are too busy?

Do you delegate well?

Do you say NO often enough?

Do you prioritise your efforts?

Do you plan the important activities into your schedule and fit everything else around them?

Do you know the difference between important tasks and the other stuff?

Do you maximise your time by really thinking through how best to get things done?

There are tons of tools, tips and tricks … but at the heart of it all is the willingness to work at it!

If you want to be the best version of you, then make time management a part of your development plan.   You do have a development plan … right?

“Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste your life, or master your time and master your life.” Alan Lakein

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Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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Get The Best Return on Your Time

Focused effortYou work hard.

You have a “To Do” list.

You chop away at that list every day!

You don’t seem to be getting ahead!

You could probably work 24 hours a day and still not clear your list.

Are you working on the right things?

Is your time spent on the right activities?

Are you getting the best return on your time?

“There is nothing less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.”  Peter Drucker

Can you delegate?

Can you outsource?

Can you stop doing some of the things you do?

To get where you “need to be” requires FOCUSED effort on the activities that will get you “there”.

“I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.”  Golda Meir

It will require a liberal use of the word NO.

It will require will power.

It will require discipline.

BUT … You CAN do it!

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Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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Drive Sales Activity

Change quote from jim Rohn RedProbably every salesperson I know has times when they seem to hit a bump in the road … their success starts to dry up, their numbers decline and they have trouble recovering.

For many the answer is to ride the slump down until inevitably they get fired.

For others they will see the writing on the wall and go looking for another job, which they will win based on their past performance.

The right answer is to accept that things need to change and to take charge of your own destiny.

There are some realities to contend with:

  • Key clients go through cycles and sometimes suppliers fall out of favor.
  • Competitors evolve and find ways to beat you.
  • Clients can fall into slumps and demand drops off.

There are many reasons why your sales performance may be impacted, even if (maybe even because) you are still doing the same things you always did!

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”  Tony Robbins

As a salesperson you can never get too comfortable.  You need to be always looking for your next opportunities, while ensuring that your current opportunities are being well served.  It is a balance that most salespeople find difficult.

A common refrain will be, “How do I find time to prospect when my current clients are so busy?”

There is no comfort in the answer, but it is a classic time management issue … you need to MAKE the time, MAKE it a priority and ACT on it.

Each salesperson needs to find the balance that will work for them, in their specific situation.

A new salesperson with a relatively small base of clients may spend 80% of their time on generating new business and 20% of their time on servicing the existing clients.

An established, senior salesperson might find themselves spending 90% of their time servicing their existing client base and 10% of their time (1/2 a day per week) in prospecting.

Most will find themselves somewhere in the middle.

Sales is about momentum … if you have it, things are good; if you lose it, things are bad!

The obvious answer is to take charge of your own destiny and create momentum!

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour day.”  Zig Ziglar

What does that look like?

  1. Devote time to prospecting.
    1. Understand how much time you spend now.
    2. Increase it … if you are doing nothing, then spend ½ a day per week on pure new business development.
    3. Every month evaluate your current scenario, and increase your prospecting efforts accordingly. If new business is coming at an acceptable rate then OK, if not then spend a day a week and more if necessary.
    4. Recognise at certain times you will need to work even harder than usual … so a day a week might not be 20% of your time!
  2. Build your list of key contacts.
    1. You should always be bringing value to your contacts … over and above the services you sell!
    2. Have as many face to face meetings as you can manage. Use breakfasts, lunches, coffees, drinks after work, networking events … as tools.
    3. Use hand written cards to thank for business, congratulate on promotions, celebrate events etc.
    4. Get referrals.
    5. NEVER become dependent upon a few very key contacts.
    6. Try to generate “coaches” … clients who will go the extra mile to help you!
  3. Focus on high return activity.
    1. Your goal is to grow business … is your activity furthering that goal?
    2. Always build on relationships … make deposits into the emotional bank account!
    3. Find reasons to be in contact with your client … interesting articles, industry news, newsletters, in addition to your regular meetings.
    4. Always be professional with your client’s/prospect’s time … use agendas to make sure your time and your client’s time is well spent.

Sales is hard work … but it is also extremely rewarding.

You should NEVER have time to wonder what to do.

You should NEVER have time to waste.

“Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.”  Alan Lakein

You should become a Time Management Ninja!!!

If you are doing these things then you will create that momentum which will serve you well, and you will be serving your clients well too!

If this topic interests you then here are a couple of older blog entries that you might find useful …

Rescuing Salespeople from a Slump

Salespeople and the Comfort Zone

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Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
——————————————————————————————————————————

Be a Productive Superstar

Be a productivity superstarHow much of your day is spent on highly productive activities?

If you are like most people you probably have no idea.  You might even be under a mistaken illusion that you are very productive.

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”  Zig Ziglar

The reality is that there are so many distractions that take our focus on a given day that the actual time spent on high return, productive activities ends up being severely impacted.

  • How often do you look at the news?
  • How often do you check social media?
  • How often do you go for a coffee … and of course the free, company supplied coffee isn’t good enough you need to go three blocks away and join the afternoon line-up at Starbucks!
  • How often do you stop by a coworkers desk to chat about the weekend, the game, the concert or the evening plans?
  • How often do you process all the non-important emails because it is mindless work and you know the “real” work will require effort?
  • How much of your time is spent thinking about what to do rather than doing it?
  • How much time do you spend researching that new prospect rather than actually doing something?

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”   Bruce Lee

There are SO many reasons why you should change ALL of that behavior and be the productive superstar that is hiding behind all of those distractions.

  • It takes discipline.
  • It takes change.
  • It takes focus.
  • It takes good time management practices.

All of which means that most people will NOT do it … but that is just ONE more reason why you should.

“There is nothing less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.”  Peter Drucker

It is a lot of fun being the best.  There is great satisfaction in being super productive.  The rewards go to those who rise above the crowd.

Are you ready … all you need to do is commit, and go for it.

1.  Track your days and see just how much time you REALLY waste.

2.  Eliminate the bad habits.

3.  Find ways to be more productive.

4.  Focus your energies on the high return activities.

“The men who succeed are the efficient few. They are the few who have the ambition and will power to develop themselves.”  Robert Burton

Let other people keep up wit the news and social media, chat and go for coffee … you can be the new superstar!

You know you can do it!

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Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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Supercharge Your Days

Zig Ziglar quote about using time effectivelyHow good are you at time management?

I have always cited time management as one of my strengths.  I am not afraid of hard work and i have always studied ways to improve my productivity … yet I also believe it is a never ending quest!

Some things I have learned along the way:

    • We can always be more productive.
    • What worked in the past is not necessarily going to work today.
    • With every change in role/job/position comes a need to revisit what works.
    • We forget some things that we used to do.
    • We get a little lazy about some things that used to work for us.

“A year from now you may wish you had started today.”  Karen Lamb

So, here are some questions you might want to use, in order to do a “check up” on your productivity.

      1. Are you 100% clear about which activities are the highest priority?
      2. Are you spending the majority of your time on those high priority items?
      3. Are you very focused on a few tasks … or are you spread thinly across a lot of tasks?
      4. Do you have goals?  Annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly and even daily?
      5. Do you hold yourself accountable for those goals?
      6. Do you change things up when you are not meeting your goals?  (Definition of insanity etc)
      7. Do you use a “To Do” list (as distinct from your notebook (in which of course you capture lots of notes).
      8. Are you passionate about using your calendar?  Keep it up to date?  Schedule everything in it?  Set aside time for yourself in there?
      9. Do you make the most of your travel time? Multiple meetings, reading pile, social media, hand written cards
      10. Do you use checklists?  Great way to remember everything you need to do regularly (we always get distracted, slip our minds, stuff happens)
      11. Do you read some time management  books/articles every now and then … for new ideas.
      12. Do you embrace the technology available to you?  Smartphones/apps/synch with CRM tools and email/calendars etc.

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”  Muhammed Ali

When we put a big focus on productivity then we find ways to get things done rather than find excuses or procrastinate.

“Days are expensive. When you spend a day you have one less day to spend. So make sure you spend each one wisely.”   Jim Rohn

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
——————————————————————————————————————————

Productivity Tips from the Best Salespeople

Your income is related to attitude quote by Jim RohnHow do the most productive salespeople spend their time that makes them so successful?

The best salespeople have many qualities, but in terms of productivity these are just a few ideas :

1.  They maximize time with clients and prospects.

  • They make it a priority to fill up their calendar.
  • They go out of their way to have meetings, never putting them off because they are inconvenient or might entail a drive.
  • They will fill their calendars out into the future, and group meetings by geography or building.   If you have to drive to a meeting then who else could you meet while there.
  • They recognize that time spent with any influencer is good … this could include assistants, receptionists, contractors etc.

It is difficult to get past Zig Ziglar’s obstacles if you are not meeting with, and listening to, your client and understanding her situation.

“Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.”  Zig Ziglar

2.  They set themselves mini-goals.  They will likely already have targets set by their company, but they set their own to motivate themselves.  Here are just a very few ideas:

  • an increased number of meetings this month, by some number or percentage;
  • an increased number of calls out;
  • an increased number of telephone conversations;
  • an increased number of warm leads; and
  • an increased number of written cards thanking clients.

All of these will be in addition to their own company targets that will likely be revenue, margin or profit focused.

Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect.”  William Clement Stone 

3.  They focus their efforts on “high return” activities.  Salespeople are paid to generate revenues.  Tasks that are not focused on that goal will always be secondary.

  • They will be super organised, with great time management skills.
  • They will chase leads.
  • They will chase and build relationships … that are meaningful.
  • They will push their internal colleagues to meet the needs of their clients.
  • They will bring added value to their contacts wherever possible.
  • They will get their vital administrative work done (CRM notes, account collections etc) but secondary to the higher return activities that lead to revenue.
  • They will not allow paperwork, busywork, “administrivia” or any non-vital tasks get in the way of their success.  (Note the difference between vital and non-vital admin!)
  • They take full advantage of their work day, and will put in the extra time whenever needed.

Everyone lives by selling something.”   Robert Louis Stevenson

Would you add anything to this list of what successful salespeople focus their time doing?

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
——————————————————————————————————————————

How Busy People Get Stuff Done

Stephen Covey quote on timeDo you ever wonder how some people can accomplish so much with their time?

They establish and run huge companies, are seemingly involved in charitable ventures, political lobbying and oh by the way they have a home life too!

There is a reason why Benjamin Franklin said, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.”

Yet the truth is that we all have the same number of hours in our day!

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”  H Jackson Brown Jr.

Time is a resource that we never get back.

What lessons can we learn from those ultra busy people that could help us be more productive?  I am no Richard Branson, but I have enjoyed some success in my life.  Here are some of the lessons I would share.

Understand what is important to you!

  • If you don’t have a clear idea about what you REALLY want, then it will be difficult to assign the right level of priority to your time.
  • If you want to be great at your chosen profession you need to understand what that looks like and put a plan in place to get there.
  • If you want to be super involved in your kids lives, then equally you need to have a plan that allows you to achieve that.
  • You need to be realistic because very often competing priorities will result in failure in both goals!  Choices are hard, they involve compromise and delivering tough messages … but you need to do it.

Focus your energies on “high return” activities.

  • Once you understand your priorities then your choice of where to focus your energy becomes easier … I did NOT say easy.  You have multiple competing demands on your time and not all of it is within your control, so you need to manage that!  (Remember … you are responsible for you … not your parents, your friends, your boss or even the government!)

Outsource/delegate whatever you can.

  • Almost everyone struggles with this.  Why should I pay someone else to do something I could do myself?  You don’t need to … unless you want that time for something more important.
  • If having someone else clean your house meant more time with your kids is it worth it?
  • If having someone clear your driveway, do the yard work, paint the house etc. meant more time to study for promotion, work at a hobby, invest in your relationships etc then what is that worth?
  • For many years I have used a concierge service in Ottawa (Balance in Style) that have handled many, many tasks small and large that would otherwise have taken my time.  Most times they do it better than I could, and it allowed me to focus my time on what I viewed as “higher return” items!

Be a Time Management Guru

  • An up to date “To Do” LIst;
  • Religious use of your calendar;
  • Prioritise your tasks;
  • Set goals.

Think bigger … that is not the same as think BIG (work your way up to that)

  • Change yourself
  • Invest in yourself
  • Believe in yourself
  • Stretch yourself

Get involved.

  • When something is important to us we make time for it.
  • Just by “jumping in the deep end” we force ourselves to figure out how to fit this new commitment into our life.

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”  William Penn

What tips do you have for people wanting to get more out of their lives?

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
——————————————————————————————————————————

Start Your Day Right

Golda Meir quote about governing the clockI often write about “driving your day” but what does that look like?  It starts before you even log into your computer.

1.  Get in the right frame of mind.

This can be different for different people, but here are some ideas that you might want to try.

  • Read some uplifting material … motivational quotes, “feel good stories”, your favorite blogger or uplifting writer
  • Work out.  You will need to fit it into your schedule, but  morning has always been my “go to” timing for a workout, even with kids and a busy job I made it a priority.
  • Read your OWN “feel good” book containing a list of all the things that are positive in your life.  Create one today and Add to it often, and pull it out whenever you need “reminding” that life is good.
  • Park your “personal baggage”.  A tough thing to do for many people, but try to leave any personal worries behind so that you can concentrate on your work.  At least if work is going well then you will feel batter for that.

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”  William Penn

2.   Get your “To Do” list organised.

  • Review yesterday’s list and add the items that need to be on today’s list.
  • Take a little time to think through whether there are other items that should be on the list.  If you manage several project areas in your role, then keep a list of those major areas handy to prompt you.
  • It’s now time to scan the email and pick out items that need to be on the “To Do” list, don’t process all your email yet … just identify the key ones that need to be processed.
  • Check voicemail and add important items to the “To Do” list.
  • Check your calendar for scheduled activities … meetings etc.  Make sure they are on the “To Do” list.

“Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.”  Alan Lakein

3.  Prioritise your “To Do” list.

  • Look for the Important items.
  • Look for items that move you closer to your goals.
  • Look for items that give the best return on your effort.
  • Look for urgent items … but ensure they are are also important.  (Other people’s emergencies do not necessarily become your priorities.)
  • Look for quick wins.

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”  Zig Ziglar

4.  Now you can execute … start to knock off those tasks, starting with the highest priority items and knock off the quick wins as you can.

Some other thoughts:

  1. Just because the phone rings does not mean you need to answer it.  Use call display judiciously and plan time in your day to process voicemail.
  2. You do not need to process every email as it comes in either.  Use filters to create “folders” for non-urgent emails.  Schedule time to process those emails.  Switch off that little alert that tells you an email arrived!
  3. When new tasks come along make sure you prioritise them and schedule them into your existing tasks.
  4. Do NOT celebrate every task done or small task completed.  Stay focused on knocking off tasks.
  5. DO celebrate meeting milestones and major wins.
  6. Remeber technology is a tool … use it as such, and don’t be a slave to it!

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”   Benjamin Franklin

Being your best at work feels good, has a positive impact on your life and should maximise the time you have available for the other things in your life.

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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