View Full Version : Top manager schedule
I'm top manager of a mid-size company. My day is fully packed with meetings leaving no time for DOING part. Are there any top managers in this forum? Can you share your typical schedule of the day (am I alone)?
05-08-2009, 10:33 AM
If the meetings aren't advancing your job goals, you need to stop attending so many meetings. (And/or have more efficient meetings.)
If the meetings are advancing your job goals, you need to adjust your expectations for what else you'll be able to accomplish.
Meetings count as "doing," too. (And if they don't, why are you in the meeting?)
you are right about the meetings time. I mean no time to make computer and calls actions... Just wanted to see other tops schedules to relax :)
05-08-2009, 11:20 AM
You're not alone. I'm a paediatrician and a manager, and a few years ago, found myself in your position - every minute of nearly every day was filled with either patient appointments or meetings (I was the medical director of my organisation at the time).
One day I decided I'd had enough of never being able to get anything done and made a list of all my fixed commitments. If I went to every meeting and clinic I was supposed to attend it added up to 44 hours a week, and they only pay me for 40! I also made a list of all the major projects I was supposed to be working on for the organisation.
So then I made an appointment with the Chief Executive, who I reported to, and took all this information to her. Fortunately for me, she got the message quickly, and we renegotiated some of the stuff so I got a weekly four hour session which was NOT hard landscape.
Since then I've had to do several more renegotiations as my job has changed (I'm not medical director any more). My current schedule has about 4 hours a week, if I'm lucky, for "doing". This week, I didn't have any, but managed to pinch an hour from a quiet clinic. As an emergency measure I have brought some work home for the weekend, but I don't usually do that more than once every 2 months or so.
From personal experience I'd say that if you don't have at least 4 hours a week with time for doing, then you are set up to fail, because it's not physically possible to do all the the non-meeting things if you don't have the time.
It might be worthkeeping a time diary for a few weeks and assessing just how much time you really need for this job, before going to talk to your boss.
and good luck!
05-08-2009, 02:46 PM
If one has a supervisor with which one can renegotiate one's commitments, that's great. Unfortunately with the economy the way it is, some people have tremendous fear that anything that looks like asking for less to do makes them ripe candidates for the next round of layoffs. (Ironically, they say this first Friday of the month only 539,000 were let go, and we're supposed to rejoice?)
Alas, I guess I was blessed to have as my first supervisor a man who believed if you're working more than 40 hours a week, you are either incompetent or you're doing the work of 2+ people. I think about him frequently when I see that GTD box marked "Delegate it."
I've also seen that many meetings like so much in Corporate America aren't about Successful Outcomes. Few people know why the meeting is happening. The real reason they're there is to score points through Face Time.
Well, I've been a supervisor and sometimes I've gotten hell for anything that looks like abandonment of Face Time. Still, when I present that the results got done, it's a lot harder for management to say I'm inventing excuses for slacking off. Imagine that, encouraging workers and managers to enjoy outside hobbies despite them asking us at job interviews the inane "What do you like to do in your spare time?"
I'm a firm believer that the management at the top sets the pace for the company. This could be a golden opportunity to lead by example. Productivity at the top could be a theme everyone else follows, a chance to show GTD to those who really need to learn it.
I'm in middle management so all I've really got to go with is Personal Power. All I've got to use at times is my persuasion, which gets me many times laughed at. Upper management, however, has Position Power. You could simply tell people what and when to do it (like cut back meaningless meetings and to do real work) simply because you're in charge!
05-08-2009, 08:52 PM
I am in full agreement on the meetings.
If you have responsibility to get work done, you cannot so that while you are spending 40+ hours a week in meetings. Alas, expectations are sometimes more that we can actually manage.
Do what you can to reduce your time in meetings. Perhaps you can convince someone to send you meeting minutes to read later.
Best of luck to you.
05-09-2009, 07:25 AM
Do you listen to Manager Tools (http://www.manager-tools.com/) podcast? I recommend you to do so. Too many meetings is not the problem that GTD can solve.
05-09-2009, 08:15 AM
Meetings are a tool. Like any tool, they're not inherently good or bad. The question (one of many) is whether the meeting is moving you toward your desired outcome. And, if not, how can the meeting be altered so that it does. There's often a knee-jerk response from action-oriented people that any meeting is inherently bad, useless, and a waste of time. I think the reality is much more complicated.
There's an implicit assumption in the responses I'm seeing here to Pav's question, which is "do I need to worry about how little time I have to do work, given how much of my time is taken up by meetings." The assumption is this: you're spending too much time in meetings. I think people think Pav is asking the wrong question. They're directing him to ask a different question, which is: is the time you're spending in meetings well spent? Does it move you toward the outcomes you've defined?
What do you think, Pav? Are you asking the right question?
05-09-2009, 08:40 AM
There's often a knee-jerk response from action-oriented people that any meeting is inherently bad, useless, and a waste of time. I think the reality is much more complicated.
You're right that some of us action-oriented people believe meetings are wasteful. We've had bad experiences with some, and have strong leanings towards quicker means.
OTOH, I'm also concerned that so much of what we do nowadays is moving away from face-to-face interactions. Getting to meet and know someone is considered a bother. I sometimes long for a meeting, precisely to make sure I still can properly introduce myself, monitor my facial expressions and interpret others too.
I definitely hate when an email chain goes back and forth because people misunderstood certain words without tone of voice. A simple meeting would have solved things much faster. And so can the meeting precisely kept short of just walking to our next-door colleague's desk instead of further filling their Inbox.
I have nothing against meetings. It's all about meetings anyway. My intention was to have a look at other top managers' agendas... I now see that the real issue is how much time does a top manager spend on doing actions with computer. All the rest like calls or errands could be done by assistant or myself anyway easily.