Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke

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Time Management - Chunking Your Day Plan

Time management is mission critical for busy professionals. In fact, time management is one of the most popular coaching and training topics we offer here at Leadership Simplified. But all time management is not created equal. Consider this: does the day plan of an entry level leader look similar to that of an executive vice president? Hopefully your answer was “no.” The frustration that many higher level leaders experience however, is that the tools that helped them to be successful as new and mid-level leaders do not quite fit the bill now that they are senior-level leaders. One example I offer is that of a day plan. What I mean by a day plan is a strategic map of how your day will be successful. If you are not day planning at all, we need to talk. Assuming that you prepare some sort of daily roadmap, it is time to look at it critically. Up to a certain point in our leadership careers we load our day plans with tasks and specifics – it is a beautiful thing that helps us execute better and mitigate items that fall through the cracks. As our responsibilities grow however, we need to adjust our time management paradigm. (Does anyone really know the definition of paradigm? Ah, I digress). The adjustment I recommend is called “chunking.” When chunking your day plan, think less in terms of specific items and actions, and more in terms of global accomplishment. For instance, a high-level leader I coach has over 70 initiatives on his plate. He is going nuts trying to keep his fingers on the pulse of an overwhelming amount of responsibility. So we worked up a plan for him to chunk his day. For example, he has a communication chunk; a delegation chunk; a coach-and-develop-team-members chunk; an empower-others chunk; and importantly, a keep-me-sane chunk. He finds that he can manage chunks better and easier. In the process, his team is more involved in implementation and, because he now stays out of the weeds, they are also receiving better communication and more of his guidance.


Bottom Line: No matter what your level of leadership think strategically about how you manage your time. Make certain that you have a system that feels right for you – and use your system religiously!

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2011-04-14 at 08:24 AM
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