Work From Home: Tips to be a better communicator and a better listener

One of the biggest challenges for work from home professionals is connecting with other people.

We are constantly bombarded with texts and emails, but what we miss is the opportunity to join in meaningful conversation with someone outside of our personal support circle. We miss the casual unexpected and undocumented updates many at-office workers share as they walk to meetings together.  We miss connecting at the water cooler, Starbucks or having a quick lunch with someone in another department… which all seem harmless and often insignificant, but do have a way of disseminating information, building trusting coworker relationships.

So, as a work from home guy, having face-to-face conversations is something I actively try to have. Sometimes it is with clients or prospects, sometimes it is with thought-leaders who challenge me. Sometimes it is just with friends – where we find time when we are not at a movie or a loud bar… but someplace where we can chat and reconnect.

Most of the time I find the conversations I have invigorating. Why? Because being a work from home guy means I am in control of much of my own thought processes – patterns. Having an intentional conversation with someone stretches… and sometimes reaffirms my beliefs / opinions. Almost always they challenge me.

If I was to give someone advice about working from home and work-life balance, it would be to make sure you have face-to-face conversations with someone outside of your traditional circle at least once a week. And, I recommend you adopt a rescue dog who will force you to get up and go for a walk … they make great companions.

Conversation & Listening Best Practices

When I’m having a conversation I do my best to choose to “Be in conversation” which often means I am conscious that I want to do more listening than speaking. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Here are 5 steps I use to remind me how to be a better listener:

  1. Decide you will be a listener. Pay attention. If you are easily distracted (like I am), put your back to TV’s or crowds or windows. Don’t talk over or them. Ever. Listen with your undivided attention.
  2. Agree with yourself that you will not be the expert. And you will not drive the conversation to a topic where you are the expert.
  3. Let the other person have a story – and the spotlight. If they are telling a story about a guy who cut them off in traffic, listen to what is important for them. Don’t start thinking about or telling your story of when some guy cut you off in traffic. 9 times out of 10, your story doesn’t matter at this moment!!!
  4. Watch their body language. Are they excited about what they are talking about? Proud? Worried? Surprised? Their body language can often tell you a lot about what they are saying… and how important it is to them.
  5. Treat them with respect. Ask great questions. By being a good listener and by watching them, you will be able to ask insightful, relevant, meaningful questions that show you are curious and perhaps challenge each of your thinking.

So there you have it. My take on work from home and the importance of being a better listener.

We hope you enjoyed this post. Happy communicating, listening and working from home.

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Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Generational Differences, Business Writing, Email Etiquette, Time Management and Mindfulness.

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What Leaders Should Know About Intrinsic Motivation & Extrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation are important engagement opportunities that have very different results.

Extrinsic motivation is what many of us are familiar with; it’s the primary way Boomers and Gen Xers have been rewarded throughout their working career. It’s how we most often motivate children as well. Extrinsic motivation is based on earning a reward (like money $$ or praise), or avoiding something undesirable. It’s motivation by carrot or stick. Extrinsic motivation is also often the most expensive and the least effective way to motivate employees over long periods of time. As a good friend and Chief Financial Offices (CFO) says, “Money is an external reward and a lousy motivator, it’s good for a week or two and then forgotten.” screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-10-16-16-am

Intrinsic motivation is when we find doing something personally satisfying. It’s the engagement that often leads us to choose our career in the first place. Intrinsic reward supports long-term motivation and professional development that is rooted in taking pride in our work – not making your boss happy so he/she will give you a raise. It’s why many of us volunteer, or paint, play a musical instrument or garden. It’s why we enjoyed curling up with a good book when we were a kid… and still do now.

The easiest way to ruin a persons satisfaction and pride in their work (intrinsic motivation) is to monetize it (give them money $$ for doing something they enjoy). Studies have shown that intrinsic motivation will decrease when external rewards (extrinsic rewards), are given.

Example 1: I know a lady who loved to bake cookies and cakes – she took great pride in them and they were delicious and beautiful. So she started a bakery business and soon had an employee and lots of clients. She felt stress in keeping clients happy, and managing the employee, and there were deliveries and… and… and. Worst of all she no longer baked to relax and enjoy herself. She closed her business.

Example 2: In an experiment to test motivation, psychologist and professor Edward L. Deci studied two groups of students who enjoyed playing puzzle games. The 1st group was paid whenever they solved a puzzle; the other group played for no monetary reward. Deci noticed that the 1st group stopped working on the puzzles when they stopped being paid. The 2nd group continued to solve puzzles because they continued to enjoy the game. By offering extrinsic motivation, the 1st group were trained to see puzzles as work.

All too often our parents, leaders, coworkers… and even ourselves focus only on…or mostly on extrinsic rewards. This begins to cause problems as we disconnect with what feeds our heart… our spirit… our humanity. Instead, we are trained to ignore our natural spirit and instead focus only on (mostly on), physical – short-term recognition / respect. So, what is the real benefit and what can we do?

Benefit: Intrinsic Motivation Increases Pride

The impact of intrinsic rewards on an employee’s self-management is great. An intrinsically motivate employee will likely stay late to finish an important project – not because they have to… or want to please their boss/customer. Because of this pride, they will routinely go the extra mile because it makes them happy and… this pride makes them want to be loyal… a win/win.

Benefit: Intrinsic Motivation Increases Employee Loyalty

Employees who are self-motivated, proud of their work and feel they are making a difference often also demonstrate greater employee loyalty. BMC have seen this in our Millennial At Work study.

If employees are intrinsically motivated they will not quit to go to a company that pays a bit more – they stay with a company that respects them and gives them greater autonomy. Their loyalty will be largely derived from work life balance and how much they enjoy their work – and the company. Pride makes a difference; they stay with the company that feeds their spirit.

Intrinsic rewards mean people feel good about feeling good about what they are doing / thinking.

Benefit: Intrinsic Motivation Increases Professional Development

Extrinsic motivation isn’t all-bad – it actually plays an important part in the learning / teaching process – especially helping learners overcome the frustration of acquiring new skills. Positive reinforcement and praise (extrinsic motivation), helps people keep trying – keep learning. Unfortunately, we all-too-often only reward professional development on extrinsic motivation. We don’t include motivation that helps people feel a sense of personal pride and accomplishment in their newly acquired skill. Ultimately this means that the learners will not fully invest in adopting new skills. Instead they feel pride in getting praise for their work… and will need it again and again. This is a problem I hear all the time from Baby Boomers when I give Generational Differences training.

What Can We Do? How Can We Use Intrinsic Rewards?

Intrinsic rewards help individuals find satisfaction in ‘doing’ of their work or task as much as the end result. The journey is as important as the destination. I’ve mentioned in other posts, there are 4 very effective ways to develop intrinsic motivation in others. From your children to your employees, help them see and ‘feel’:

  1. C – Competence / Mastery… learning new things – gaining  and/or using an expertise.
  2. A – Autonomy / Choice… what to work on, when and how
  3. R – Relevance / Purpose… why the work is meaningful – important
  4. P – Progress… what they are doing is adding to the greater good or perhaps they are gaining experience.


The last 50 or so years we got used to extrinsically rewards but we forget to help people feel good about feeling good about their work or what they are learning. As leaders we’ve underestimated the importance of intrinsic rewards and its low-cost… and instead have got used to thinking of financial rewards as the primary way to motivate.

Intrinsic rewards are a strong win/win for organizations that want to stay innovative and retain great, inspired, happy and proud employees. Research has shown that when people are proud, feel like they are making a difference and feel some ownership of how they structure their time at work they stick around… and they do great work.

Happy communicating… and mentoring… and training.

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Work-Life Balance & Results Only Work Environments (ROWE): Myth or Reality?

I feel there is a resurgence to strive for work-life balance… with work as the evil twin in the relationship. But to find something you have to first know what you’re looking for… so…. ‘What is work-life balance?

Work-life balance is very personal. It’s different among co-workers doing the same or similar work; it’s different for each partner in a relationship; it’s different for each of your friends. Even your definition of work life balance will change over time… especially if you:

  • Have / adopt a child
  • Get a promotion / change jobs
  • Move
  • Inherit money
  • etc. etc.

Work-Life Balance Is More Achievable Than Ever

While we’ve been striving for balance for decades, I think it’s more achievable than ever for a few reasons:

  • Awareness / Desire
  • Technology (Assists collaboration, information sharing and much more)
  • More work is thought based
  • Millennial expectations and influence
  • Organizations are realizing it’s cost effective

I do a fair amount of Productivity & Time Management Training and I hear over and over how many of us do a few hours of quality work after dinner before we hit the sack. Is that wrong – or is that the new way of working? I’m certain that work-life balance is showing us flexibility is possible and integration is the new norm.

Older Productivity & Time Management Training Studies Are Right… But…

There are tons of studies that demonstrate we are at our strategic – creative best in the morning. That’s why traditional best practices suggest avoiding mundane, low-strategy work until the afternoon and to protect evenings as valuable family time (and give your brain a rest).

But what about parents who don’t go to bed at 10PM and wake refreshed at 6AM… or the typical Millennial who is used to integrating all parts of their life (which now means work), throughout their day and evening? More and more people follow a nontraditional schedule where free time might be ‘when they can schedule a spare hour’.

I’m not saying this older model is wrong, I just think it needs to become more flexible. I believe that after a good rest everyone is more creative and more strategic… and as we become tired it makes sense that we become less creative and strategic (throughout an 8 or 10 hour marathon work day).

So, what if we changed the rules? What if we began taking mental breaks throughout the day? We all experience feeling refreshed and bright again after a break (even if our ‘break’ was going to the gym).Results Only Work Environment

Enter ROWE (Results Only Work Environment).

With a ROWE, it doesn’t matter when an employee does their work or where they do it, as long as they meet agreed-upon project goals on time and on budget. Employees get to decide where and when they work – and what they work on.

If employees are required to get to an office they are punching a time clock – even if there isn’t a time clock in sight.

ROWE’s are a BIG opportunity for organizations to reduce costs while increasing productivity, creativity, employee morale and employee loyalty… especially in cities like Toronto, Vancouver, New York or LA where the average commute is at least an hour.”

How You Can Build a ROWE Performance-Driven Work Culture

Critical to your success is to have measurable results and hold employees accountable for their work. It’s also important to cut the connection between salary and goals because $$ can actually demotivate your employees (see previous blog: Link).

Make sure your employees work stands for something. I believe some of the key responsibilities of leaders is to help employees take pride in their work, reflect on what they have learned, and to see how their efforts make a difference for the company and/or their customers. That’s the kind of leader I want to be.

Take companies like Influitive in Toronto that develop Marketing solutions for Corporate clients – or Fireman & Company an international management consulting firm that specializes in the legal industry. Both of these organizations operate with a ROWE and benefit from having employees in different time zones and / or countries.

The added beauty of a ROWE is that organizations are able to hire the best talent from anywhere in the world – not being limited to geography… like within an hours drive.

Do Flexible Work Hours Count?

Flexible work hours count but are not a ROWE. A flexible schedule that allows an employee to come in at 6AM and leave at 3PM is still all about organizational control and making sure people put their bum in a seat; flexible work hours just provide a few more options. So it’s important to ask – do you want to make sure people show up… or are you more concerned about what they accomplish and the quality of their work?

If you are interested in what your employees accomplish (not where or when they do it), you have already making the mental transition to a Results Only Work Environment.

Autonomy at work is one of the greatest motivators emerging in today’s workforce. Autonomy is about setting your own work schedule with your teammates to ensure the people responsible do the work on time, on budget, and exceed expectations. This approach of ‘anonymity’, ‘team work’ and ‘self improvement’ is high – and I mean really high for Millennials.

ROWE Will Attract Loyal Millennials… And Other Generations

Millennials are known to have a more entrepreneurial spirit, wanting more anonymity along with mentoring. ROWE and anonymity helps employees feel like they are their own boss – even when working for a large organization. It helps employees design their own work-life balance. This can be a perfect solution for the organization trying to integrate Millennials into their work environments but having challenges with loyalty.

ROWE allows all employees (Millennials and other generations), to choose… to be in control of how, when, where and often what they are working on. For ROWE to exist it has to be supported by reliable metrics goals, objectives. It also means that reward has to reach beyond extrinsic motivators like $$… and must be supported by intrinsic motivators like C.A.P.S. (see previous blog: Link).

As time goes on I believe it will be an employees job-market… and employee flexibility will be key. With this new generation coming in, conversations are going to change between employers and labor unions about employees wants / needs and their productivity.

  1. Many Millennials don’t separate work and life or work and family / community.
  2. Millennials see work-life balance is whatever they are doing (volunteer, work, cooking, relaxation etc). I recently spoke with a Millennial and they said, “Work is in my life – my life doesn’t act outside of paid time – it happens all the time and this way I don’t have to miss out on any part of my life.”

It’s Critical To Measure Deliverables

When you measure deliverables and quality you can measure an employees real performance… and, over time a pattern always forms. As leaders, we all know the employee we can count on and the employee we can not count on… even though they both spend valuable time each day commuting to your office… IE: punching a time clock.

The anonymity employees want becomes their responsibility. They are ultimately responsible for their deliverables and therefore, their impact on everything else including their personal and professional reputation.

Involve your employees in all aspects of a project. Get their ideas on how to track the work – not the hours. ROWE has to be a corporate culture – and you have to hire the right people. You have to hire people based on values, ambition AND talent. Far too often we hire people on talent or who we like…. Therefore… people most like ourselves. EEEK.

This Blog is getting far too long, so in my next Blog I will further explore questions like:

  • Won’t employees abuse their freedom?
  • How to integrate ROWE into my work structure?

Happy communicating, mentoring, motivating… and training.

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Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Business Writing, Email Etiquette, Time Management and Mindfulness.

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Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at

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Millennials vs. Other Duties As Assigned: 3 Approaches For Success

Employees from all generations want work that’s interesting, rewarding and meaningful. But as one Baby Boomer parent (and boss), recently said to me , “Many Millennials feel ‘Other Duties As Assigned’ are a waste of their potential“.  

The challenge is that there’s always uninspiring work that simply needs to get done in every organization and every department. So what can Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials do to help each other?

Millennials In The Workforce

  • As a Boomer or Generation Xer boss, this is where you have considerable impact as you help Millennial employees see value in even small tasks and grow into valuable, productive and happy employees.
  • As a Millennial employee, how you shoulder these ‘Other Duties As Assigned’ may be one of the best demonstrations of your professional character. For example, do you complete these duties with professional confidence, pride and respect or do you choose a less flattering approach?

Here are 3 approaches how all generations can help each other ‘Lean In’ to ‘Other Duties As Assigned’. 

Approach #1: Ask Millennials For Their Unique Perspective

Since Millennials instinctively look at situations from a fresh perspective, use this as an advantage.  Ask for their ideas on how to get the task done better / quicker / differently?  This will engage this newest workplace generation because they get to use their creativity and feel they’ve been able to make a real difference. Be warned – Millennials can see an insincere request from one thousand paces so if you ask, be sure you also consider their recommendations; if they feel they’ve been manipulated they’ll become even less motivated.

Approach #2: Engage Teamwork

Most Millennials place a high priority on workplace culture and love to work in teams. Also, when they see their associates participating they’ll be more inclined to want to join in.  While Millennials are always on the lookout for ‘Important Work’, they certainly won’t want to miss an opportunity to gain experience or to enhance their reputation with their boss.

Approach #3: Respect Work/Life Balance

Work / life balance is very important to Millennials. If they have to do ‘Other Duties As Assigned’, these duties should be part of their expected working hours. Millennials will expect to be compensated if they have to work late/weekends (which is less common a need for Boomers and Gen Xers). Turn this Millennial expectation into an opportunity by positioning this time-off as a flexible perk your employees get to control (which translates to higher engagement and corporate loyalty).  Note: As Boomers and Generation Xers get older and have grandchildren and financial freedom they also enjoy more time-off and flexibility.


With the number of Millennials in the workforce growing everyday, it’s critical to corporate success that organizations revise their talent management strategies as soon as possible.  Every year this inevitable task is delayed will create exponential challenges in the future to attract and retain employees with key skills your organization needs… and your competitors want.

You can be the change your company or department needs. You can start this powerful change. Be the leader that will help your organization to become The Best Company To Work For in your market.

Happy communicating.

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Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

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3 Easy Time Management Tips For The Office

Effective Time Management wasn’t part of my upbringing.  My family dynamic was certainly Work Hard… but Working Smart wasn’t on the radar.

I’m not saying my parents wasted much time. They did not. I know it is cliché, but things were less complicated back then.

  • At home my parents didn’t drive us three children from one practice to another – we entertained ourselves.
  • At work my parents didn’t have computers or email. If they wanted to speak to someone they did it face-to-face, over the (hard-wired) telephone or mailed a letter (all three increase comprehension and facilitate trusting relationships).

Almost dinosaur times eh?

Then in the 1980’s the theory called Working Smart became popular which was – and still is about goal setting and reorganizing work to improve performance based on company objectives.

This theory was successful helping employees be productive. But today that’s not enough. Our economy and our work are motivating us to Work Hard and Work Smart… and new technologies (like computers and smart phones), are supposed to be helping.

Unfortunately we are adding many hours back in our day and I believe we’re letting technology distract us from Working Smart. We’ve replaced Working Smart with Working Fast… and the Tortoise and the Hare fable reminds us Working Fast doesn’t create long-term results. 

6 Signs You May Be Working Hard – Not Working Smart

  1. You get to the office before 8AM and leave after 7PM… or later
  2. Your email inbox has many unread email
  3. You have trouble getting a restful sleep
  4. Your temper is shorter – and the people closest to you feel this first
  5. You uncharacteristically miss due dates
  6. You work every weekend – even at the cottage

I believe the only way for each of us to stay healthy and for our companies to survive is to once again achieve greater work / life balance.

Tip 1: Identify Important Work Vs. Busy Work

Make sure your key objectives and Important Work take priority.

Early in my career I had a great year having added a few special projects to my workload. Unfortunately my boss gave me a ‘Meets Expectations’ performance rating that year. His simple answer was that my performance was measured on my key objectives… and all I did was meet them. He was right, I let my above average performance suffer because I took added many special projects that did not advance the key objectives for my job.

Busy work takes on many forms including:

  • Special Projects
  • Volunteering to help a co-worker
  • Work you like doing that may not be part of your job, or a low priority
  • Distracting habits (like checking Facebook, going for coffee, cleaning your office)

Tip 2: Minimize Interruptions From Technology And People

Our computers, smart phones and tablets all have alarms and because these systems are synchronized, when the alarms go off it turns into a cascade of interruptions. Turn off reminders and alarms on all devices except the one you have with you at all time. For that one – put it on vibrate so it’s a reminder – not an interruption.

Our co-workers are fabulous people but many want to say hi every time they walk by our office. If “sorry, I really need to concentrate on this” doesn’t work, book a meeting room or use an empty office. There are many ways to minimize interruptions, just know that the right solution for you may not work for me.

It’s important to block out the world when you need to focus.

Tip 3: Do Strategic Work In The Morning

Study after study shows almost all of us are more creative and strategic in the morning… even people who don’t think they are morning people. The reason is that we are most rested then.

To paraphrase author Laura Vanderkam, author of the e-book, “What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast,” the most successful people do their important work in the morning (Laura calls it things they love).

If you lead a team you can get the best of this Tip and Tips #1 and #2 by starting each day with a team meetings to review key projects and deliverables.  This gets everyone focused on:

  • Their own important ‘TO DO‘ list
  • Key department issues
  • Being in the office on-time
  • Casual conversations (which can help foster a caring at-work team)


Work / life balance means we will all experience time at home to do the things that are important to us.  And almost immediately, work / life balance leads to higher productivity, company profits and enjoyment / pride at work.

How you manage your time will reflect on you and your success.

Happy communicating.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

Click here to join our priority list of people who receive our latest Business Communication blog posts.

If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

Improve Your Time Management Skills

You feel stressed with how busy you are. You are having a challenge and you know your time management skills are part of problem because you:

  • Answer email at all hours of the day and night.
  • Work long hours – even weekends.
  • Feel you often do other people’s work.
  • Don’t get rewarded for some of the work you do.
  • Sometimes miss key deliverables associated with your key performance objectives.

You want change. You want a work-life balance you see others enjoying.

The first thing I would like you to consider is that busy doesn’t mean important. In fact, busy work often means your important work is not getting done and the quality of your work is suffering.

Working more effectively means being able to make important work your priority.

Scheduling your important work is one of many time management skills that can help you fulfill your dreams… but change isn’t easy. Learning how to schedule your important work first takes practice and often coaching.

How To Identify Important Work

Ask yourself “What are my top priorities?” You need to define what you need to do today to be successful tomorrow… and even more successful in 18 months.

For individuals, important work means identifying all of the tasks, steps, partners and dates that are critical to you reaching your key performance objectives and / or driving your business forward.

  • For a sales professional, important work might mean reviewing last years high-growth markets so you can identify and make contact with enough qualified sales calls to meet your end-of-year sales target.

Smart companies (or Presidents / Boards) know what the long-term goals are and how these goals break down into important work for each department and individual.

  • For a company like Apple, important work means aligning all the tasks and decisions thousands of employees must complete for Apple to stay on schedule with a new product release.

Important work and time management skills are a balance of many things. They depend on your job, personality, support systems, natural abilities, education and many other influences. Whether they are personal objectives or corporate objectives, important work has to be planned for and has to have the appropriate time set aside.

One of the most common time management challenges is that long-term objectives are pushed aside and less important busy work assigned until important work becomes urgent work.

Important work should also engage your creativity, be useful and make you proud. Nobody will fully invest their talents and create high-quality work if they expect it will be ignored.

How To Identify Busy Work?

Work is bad if it distracts you from your key performance objectives… unless you purposely use it to fill a temporary gap in your schedule (or experience).

One of the most common reasons people feel overworked and not recognized is because they get pulled into urgent work that’s not their responsibility. Is any of your current work someone else’s responsibility?

Your boss or associates may try to pull you away from your important work without realizing the impact they are having on your deliverables as they try to meet their key performance objectives. But remember; important work for them might be busy work for you. You might need to learn to say no… carefully.

It’s easy for us to get caught because many of us like to be the ‘knight in shining armor’ who helps save the day. But unscheduled busy work is often the cause for:

  • Long hours
  • Your work quality decreasing
  • Missed strategic timelines
  • Stress
  • Low personal and team morale

When this happens your customers (and boss) lose confidence in you!

What’s The Impact Of Effective Time Management Skills?

I have more to say on effective time management than I can include here. But at a high level, effective time management skills leads to:

  • Increased personal productivity
  • Increased work quality
  • Pride & job satisfaction
  • Greater engagement
  • Less stress for you and the people around you.

To be an effective time manager you have to be clear on your key performance objectives. To be clear about what these objectives are, it’s good for you (and for your boss / associates), to write down AND schedule your important projects.

People and companies that manage time well often are more responsible to their market, their customers and build more creative solutions since they take time to plan, research or brainstorm projects / objectives.

Here are a few more time management tips to get your started.

Time Management Tips

Good time management helps you focus on your important work.

1. Experience Every Moment

Even when you are delayed you have an opportunity to do more than procrastinate. I always have important work with me to read or edit. Most of the time I don’t need it but for the times a meeting is delayed or cancelled I am very happy I have it.

2. Manage Interruptions

One of the biggest time wasters are the short interruptions and quick questions people ask us throughout the day. This is similar to trying to multitask – and research shows that productivity drops when we try this. The result is that errors go up and quality goes down.

What if every day between 10:30 and 1:00 PM was quiet time with no calls, no email, no interruptions, no meeting for your whole department?


What if you hung a “Can it Hold” or “Unavailable until 11:30 AM” sign at the entrance to your office / desk or on the back of your chair.  This is more positive than a “Do Not Disturb” sign. Encourage others in your office to do the same. Help manage people’s expectations about your needs – and theirs.

3. Manage Your Alarms

Turn off your email, IM service, telephone and smart phone.  Check them 3 or 4 times a day – even hourly… whatever makes sense for your job. But the distraction caused by the constant ringing drops your productivity, quality and creativity like a stone.

4. Plan For Busy Work

Leave some time open in your schedule every day to deal with “items that have developed” especially if you have people reporting into you.  If nothing happens during this time – treat yourself to a coffee, go for a walk, then get a jump on your next project, brainstorm an idea you’ve had or make a few courtesy client / supplier calls.

The important thing here is to prepare for the unexpected to happen. If you don’t “Urgent” issues will have negative repercussions in the short AND long-term.


Effective time management means that the important tasks get done first – and that you do these tasks when you are at your best.

If you want to improve your time management skills you have to start by defining your job / work responsibilities and then identify the ‘important’ work that will lead to your success.

  • What is that work?
  • What does success look like?
  • How will success be measured?
  • Who do I have to involve – and put on notice?
  • What are the critical timelines / project milestones?

Are some of your work habits (time management skills), holding you back?

It’s time for you to achieve greatness.

Happy communicating… Happy training.

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