CEO Blog

Category Archives: Time Management

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

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 better 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. Remember 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.

Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder 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 to Get Your Prospect’s Attention

Brian Tracy Solve problems don't sellA constant challenge for salespeople is  getting  the attention of prospects.

We try cold calling, and get ignored.

We send emails that don’t get read.

We get on social media and try to connect with our prospects … and then get their attention, only to be shut down quickly.

What gives?

How are salespeople supposed to do their job if they can’t get the prospects attention?

Here are a few thoughts …

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

1.  Most decision makers are extremely busy, and their time is probably their most important asset … you need to demonstrate that you will not waste their time.

  • Get to the point.
  • Have a compelling story, but don’t be hokey.
  • Make sure you have the right person.
  • Understand what is important to them.
  • Don’t ask them to do your work.  (Visit your website, point you at the right person etc.)

2.  If a decision maker doesn’t know you then you are already at a huge disadvantage.

  • Get referrals whenever possible.
  • Get out and meet lots of people, while NOT selling.  Get involved in the community, with charities, in clubs, etc.
  • Use your network to get introductions and grow that network.
  • Use your social media to provide value, NOT to sell.  Become known as a thought leader.
  • Find ways to meet the people you are targeting, without a sales pitch and hopefully in a non-threatening environment (industry organisations, networking groups etc.)

3.  If you can’t get close to a decision maker, then get close to the people who are close to them.

  • Executive assistants are great people to know.
  • Receptionists wield a lot of power.  If they put in a good word for you it often has influence
  • Direct reports or even trusted senior employees might be able to help your cause … IF you build a good rapport with them.

4.  The sales profession requires a short, medium and long term strategy.  If you are not consistently working on your long term plan, then you will never get ahead.

  • Work harder than those around you.
  • Network more than those around you.
  • Give back more than those around you.
  • Take the short term wins, but always be working towards a longer term strategy.
  • Build your credibility every day.

“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.”  Mary Kay Ash

Perhaps you might have other suggestions for the up and coming salesperson?

Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder 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?

Make Time to Think

When did you last take some time to JUST think?

Typically when we have a few minutes we will turn on the TV, pick up our smart phone, get on Facebook, email, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn or some online tool.

Many of us will have grown up multi-tasking … we watch TV and do our email, we eat our meals watch the news on TV and have a conversation with our kids all at the same time!

We lead incredibly busy lives, expected to work hard in a demanding job, commute a long way because that is where we can afford to live and when we get home there are a ton of commitments.

Who has time to think?

“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll still get run over if you just sit there.”  Will Rogers

There is just too much to … DO!

THAT, right there, is the problem.

We build a life for ourselves, but rarely step back to see if it is really working for us.

We run our lives this way … being driven by the busyness of our days.

We run our companies this way … “DOING” from the minute we start to the minute we finish.

Good companies will force us to get out of the “day to day” routine every now and then, forcing us to look at the business strategically.  THAT is where the big decisions happen, where the change in course happens.

Who is forcing you out of the day to day routine for your home life?  (Hint … YOU are responsible for YOU)

Who is forcing you to take time away from DOING your job to actually THINKING about it?  (Same answer)

“I can change the story. I am the story.”  Jeanette Winterson

It doesn’t need to be commitment of days at a time … although the return might just be worth it.

It does need to be a regular thing … because we build “ruts” for ourselves very quickly.

Do yourself a favor, lose ALL of the distractions (even your favorite music) and take time to THINK!

“I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.”  Anthony Robbins

Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder 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?


Planning Your Time

Quote about time ... we all have the same amount of time as genius's of the pastOne of the skills that financial advisers bring to the table is an investment allocation plan.  A plan that works specifically for your situation, and allocates different percentages of your investments into different risk categories.   The idea being to get the right balance of growth and risk in your portfolio depending upon a bunch of factors.

Most successful and wealthy people in our society pay attention to this.

“The main reason people struggle financially is because they have spent years in school but learned nothing about money. The result is that people learn to work for money… but never learn to have money work for them.”  Robert Kiyosaki

What if we took the same approach to our time?

We all have twenty-four hours, but very few of us maximise our “return” on those hours.  When I talk about “return”, it is a very personal thing … it might mean more investment in your career, it might mean more investment in your hobby, it could even mean a conscious increase in “down time”.

“Insanity:  doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  Albert Einstein

We all know that in order for our situation to change, then we need to change something.  In the same way we look at our risk/reward profile in our financial portfolio we need to look at our risk/reward profile in our time management.  If I want to achieve something (professional OR personal) then what am I prepared to invest in order to get there!

Financial planning should be a very personal “thing” … there is no right and wrong answer, it just needs to be the right thing for you.

Time planning is the same thing … we need to be conscious in our decisions about how to use time, rather than just letting it happen!

“Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will – his personal responsibility.”  Albert Einstein

Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder 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?

Work Ethic

Work quote Maya AngelouHard work is the critical component to any success you might have.

How hard you work is something entirely within your own control.

Lots of people think they work hard!

Take an honest look at your day and see how many hours you REALLY work.  Try logging every 15 minute time slice, and really understand where your days go.

“It seems the harder I work, the more luck I have.”  Thomas Jefferson

How much time do you spend on personal activities?

How much time is spent on “make work” activities?

How often do you get up and go for a coffee, chat to a colleague, wander to the kitchen or water cooler, have a “cigarette break” or use your time for non-work activities?

“Nothing worth having comes easy.”  Theodore Roosevelt

Do you plan your day and work your plan?

Do you plan your weeks and months?

Do you set goals?

Do you have a “To Do” list?

Do you create positive habits?

Do you look for ways to be more efficient?

General wisdom often suggests that it is more important to work smarter, than harder … but that assumes a baseline effort that is adequate!  I will take hard working with average intelligence over the lazy genius … any day!  (Guess what?  There really aren’t that many genius’s!)

“Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.”   Ann Landers

If you have ambitions of any kind of success then you MUST develop a strong work ethic!  It is totally in your control and can have a huge positive impact … what are you waiting for?

Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder 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 More Productive: 15 Tips

Time quote from H Jackson BrownBenjamin Franklin said, “Lost time is never found again.”

Time is a finite resource and in today’s exceptionally busy world it is a resource that we should all hold precious … and yet most people don’t.

If you are in a busy job then getting your work done in a productive “work day”, without the necessity to put in extra hours on a regular basis, should be doable.  Yet, I would hazard to guess that most people don’t come close to having a truly productive day.

“Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity.”  Jean de La Bruyere

So for those people who:

  • Want to be successful; or
  • Want to be the best that they can be; or
  • Want to get their work done in the work day so they can enjoy their personal time.

Here are some tangible things you can do.

  1. Use “To Do” lists. Review them every day BEFORE you even check email!
  2. Treat time as the precious commodity that it is.
  3. When at work, work!
  4. Notice how long things take … and try to get more efficient.
  5. Plan your time.
  6. Use your calendar … religiously!
  7. Focus your energy on “high return” activities.
  8. Continually upgrade your skills … generally but with technology specifically.
  9. Avoid unproductive meetings.
  10. Find ways to reduce how long every meeting you attend takes.
  11. Be productive when you are in meetings … prepare, participate and leave as soon as you can!
  12. Identify what wastes your time … and eliminate or reduce it. Look at:
    1. Internet;
    2. Smartphone;
    3. News
    4. Sports;
    5. Texting friends;
    6. Games;
    7. Idle chatter
    8. Unscheduled breaks
    9. Phone interruptions;
    10. Email interruptions; time waster interruptions.
  13. Be respectful of other people’s time.
  14. Assign priorities to your work.
  15. Delegate where possible … and don’t micromanage!

I’m not going into great detail because it has all been said before.  This is the reminder list … pin it up in front of you at your place of work and look at it every morning until it becomes second nature. You can also get started by looking at these free agendas/schedules templates and examples from HubSpot.

Do all of these things and you WILL see the difference.

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”  Carl Sandburg

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?

Top 10 Blog Entries for 2015

Top Ten Eagle blog entriesThe following were the most popular blog entries from the last year.  If you missed any of them then now is an opportunity to catch up!

Surviving a Downturn (in Alberta?).  This was a “reprint” of advice from Tom Peters just before the last recession.  It seemed topical back in January as oil prices plummeted and jobs were being cut in the oil patch.  Unfortunately things are not better yet!

“You buck yourself up with the thought that “this too shall pass”—but then remind yourself that it might not pass anytime soon, so you re-dedicate yourself to making the absolute best of what you have now.”  Tom Peters

Independent Contractor Myths & Realities in CANADA!  The Canadian Federal regulations around independent contractors have not changed in thirty years, despite the changing nature of work.  Too often I see “experts” pontificating about the risks of using contractors without a real understanding of the subject.  There are many benefits to companies using independent contractors and so this blog was focused on presenting the facts!

“Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others.”  Ayn Rand

Attitude Matters … A Little Humility is a Good Thing!  This was a reminder that no matter how good we are, or think we are, it can always change!  It does not cost anything to be a little humble, and it will help with relationships that could be important to you at some point in the future.  Also includes 13 rules from General Colin Powell.

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; noting on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” W. W. Ziege

Email Etiquette – 20 Tips!  Email is such a big part of our lives that everybody should be aware of the basics of email etiquette.  Some of it is good manners, some of it is common sense and some of it is good time management … hope it helps!

“Communication works for those who work at it.” John Powell

10 Lessons From a Retirement Party on Living a Good Life.  A good friend of mine retired this past year, and it was interesting to see the impact he had on so many people.  He is a role model and we can all learn from him.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”  Vivian Greene 

Positive (or Negative) Influences Can Change Your Life.  Some of the best advice I ever received was to surround myself with positive people, and equally try to avoid negative influences.  This blog entry expounds on those principles.

“Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher.”  Oprah Winfrey

10 Thoughts About Measuring Success?  For many people success is defined by money or position, but that is narrow thinking.  Success should be personal, not necessarily what others consider success.  YOU need to decide what success looks like for you.

“Stop chasing the money and start chasing the passion.”  Tony Hsieh

Leadership Should Be Uncomfortable (and it is)!  Leadership is sometimes glamorised, so it is important that you know what you are getting into!  This was an attempt at showing some of the realities of leadership.

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”  Jim Rohn

A Mentor/Mentee Relationship is Attractive BUT Hard Work!  Both mentors and mentees need to work hard if such a relationship is to bring the real value.  Learning by osmosis in an ad-hoc fashion is rarely effective!

“For every one of us that succeeds, it is because there’s somebody there to show you the way out.” Oprah Winfrey

Waiting is Not a Winning Strategy.  In contradiction to the phrase, Good things come to those who wait, my suggestion is that you need to make things happen yourself!

“Don’t just stand there.  Make it happen.”  Lee Iacoca

Hope you enjoyed some of my blog entries in 2015 … in January I will have been blogging for 10 years, and I have written about 1,850 entries.  I guess that makes me “opinionated”!

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?

Make Next Year a Great Year

Goals quote from Jim RohnI know … you get tired of hearing about GOALS!

You don’t want to face the effort of making a plan that you feel you can’t control or that has little chance of success.

I used to think that way too.

Once I had my mind changed for me, what i found was that (a) it really doesn’t need to be a complicated process; and (b) as strange as this sounds, it doesn’t matter whether you meet your goals or not!  It is the process of setting them up and developing a plan, which you execute against, that will actually make a difference.

“People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” Earl Nightingale

Yes … things change, and so will your goals and your plans.  BUT by having a plan you will be taking action towards success.  Focus on the things you CAN control.

The following is a 3-step process that I use, which could help you to get started in setting some goals that would help you make the most of the upcoming year.

Step 1.  Decide what is important to you.  I have a few categories that I use ..

“You must have long term goals to keep you from being frustrated by short term failures.”   Charles C. Noble

  • Health and Fitness
  • Hobbies/Vacations/Pastimes
  • Career
  • Relationships (personal and professional)
  • Training/Education

Step 2.  Take into account your experiences this last year related to your categories.  Then set at least ONE goal in each category.  It is most important that you see some success so don’t be tempted to have too many goals, but if you think you can manage it then set more than one goal.  Here are some examples …

Under health and fitness you might want to lose 5lb by March; you might want to add weights into your workout routine at least twice a week; you might plan to reduce coffee consumption to 2 per day. Etc.

“Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines.”  Brian Tracy

Under Hobbies/Vacation/Pastimes you might want to give some thought about where you would like to vacation this year.  It could be to enjoy the cottage at least 12 weekends, or plan a weekend getaway without the kids; or take a 2 week vacation somewhere exotic etc.

Under Career you might set a goal of mastering certain aspects of your current role by the Fall; having a career planning meeting with your boss or HR; or developing a training plan to advance your career.

The goals that you pick need to be achievable and within your control.  This way you will see progress and as you do progress you can always add more goals or increase the “intensity”.

Step 3.  Plan into your calendar a monthly review.  At that review you will check your progress against each goal and will create action items to address them … which will go onto your “to do” list (of course you have a “to do” list!).

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

This is a very basic, easily managed approach to goal setting.  You can obviously get much more complicated and sophisticated, but this works and the most important thing is to start somewhere.

There are lots of resources out there to help you set some goals … here is one about Writing Down Your Goals.

Try it … this time next year you can be sitting and reviewing how you did in all of those categories and planning to go to the next level for the following year!

Good luck!

Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder 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?

You Only Find Oil if You Dig Wells

Jim Rohn quote about time managementThis saying might seem obvious, but I love its simplicity.  It suggests that typically you need to “do the work” in order to “reap the rewards”.  Yes it’s a basic concept, but it is hard to find fault with, other than it is so obvious … or is it?

If your goal is to hit oil, then presumably digging wells is a highly productive activity that might result in success.  Thinking about digging wells, talking about digging wells, procrastinating before digging wells or just plain doing stuff other than digging, will not get you results.

“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

Sometimes people don’t think about what they need to do in order to be successful, they just “do stuff”.  Yes they are busy, but the end result will not be success because they are busy with the wrong stuff!

So …

Step 1.  Identify the productive activities that will result in you “hitting oil”.

Step 2.  Make sure those are the activities that you spend the majority of your time doing.

Step 3.  Let all the other “stuff” fit in around the highly productive activities.

Step 4.  Using all of the above … Plan your work AND then Work your plan!

NOW you will hit oil!

Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Find Canada’s top hot jobs, updated in real-time!  Visit Eagle’s Job Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?

Make Time Your Friend

Jim Rohn on TimeTime is one resource that we can never get back.

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

We all have the same twenty-four hours each day to accomplish the things that we want to accomplish.

“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 Browne Jr.

It is amazing what some people can do in a day!

It is equally amazing how little others can accomplish in that same amount of time.

If you ever wondered how you could do the most with your life, the easiest answer would be to use time efficiently.

“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.” Stephen R. Covey

It is a simple concept, but seems to escape so many people.

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”  Stephen King

Do you focus your working time on the most productive and rewarding tasks possible?


Do you check Facebook every 5 minutes and text or instant message your buddies continually?

“Before you eat the elephant, make sure you know what parts you want to eat.” Todd Stocker

Do you have a “To Do” list that you work through, knocking off tasks as you complete them?  Driving your day!


Do you do whatever happens to pop up on your email or through voicemail?  Being driven by your day!

“If a man does not know to what port he is steering, no wind is favorable to him.”  Seneca

Do you have goals and aspirations for the many aspects of your life?


Do you go where life leads you?

How you answer those questions tells you all you need to know.

“What people say, what people do, and what they say they do are entirely different things.” Margaret Meade

IF you REALLY want to make the most of your talents, then take charge of your time!

Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder 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?