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Strategic Time – Email, Workday Game Plans, and the Mindfulness of Priority

November 19, 2007

If you go back a few years, Magic Johnson of the LA Lakers coined the term “Winning Time” to talk about the last couple of minutes in a basketball game.  A time where focus and execution need to elevate to what-ever the outcome required.  If you think about it, the term “Strategic Time” might have similar connotations.  Is there a time to be strategic in your day?  Is there a time in the day that’s its more important to be strategic than others? 

Phyllis Korkki wrote an important article published in the NY Times on Nov 18th entitled “Every Workday Needs a Game Plan”. She suggests part of improving your performance is, No, not to start with Wheaties “The Breakfast of Champions”, but to not turn off email for the first hour, and instead focus on what’s priority and create a plan to address those issues.One of my customers, Rob Cantor, wrote in and said,

Rodney,  Take a moment to read the attached clipping (Phyllis Korkki’s article).  Your concepts are making the front page of the Business Section of the NY Times.  As I read the clipping I could hear you  speaking.  Scary!

As I read the article, I’m thinking email is certainly a time consumer for us all, but it represents something I’d like you to think about.  Email, like many other inputs (phone calls, people at the door, to-do lists) represent varying levels of urgent REQUESTS for your attention and time.  More requests than you can get to in a day, every day.   They are urgent, but not necessarily strategic.

Think about that before you start down the path of catching up on your email, as it’s a journey that you can’t finish.  Responding to requests, is a way of being busy that DOES NOT represent you being mindful of what’s critical to move the business you’re in ahead today.  That’s a very common state of mind to fall into, isn’t it? 

In fact responding to urgent requests doesn’t really require you to:

·         think ahead,
·         think strategically,
·         think in terms of priorities,
·         think proactively
·         think in terms of outcomes and what you need to do to get there, and essentially
·         plan and prioritize your time accordingly.

If you think about how you spend your first few minutes of each work day, I think you’ll find it is a unique time to be strategic.  You can spend it reviewing emails, looking at your calendars, reviewing what’s on your todo list.  Or you could allocate it for time to reflect on your goals, your intended outcomes, and exactly what has to happen in the day to get you and your team closer to that outcome.

While you’re thinking about having a time daily to be strategic, consider the option to be more mindful about and focus on what’s priority with your time.  Think of the role that the calendar plays in that. Your calendar is typically full of meetings and a task list.   Whoops, no strategic priorities sticking out there, unless you enter them as tasks.  So not only does email tend to distract us, most people’s calendar isn’t a help in terms of being strategic either.

One of the techniques I have of inserting my priorities into my calendar is to drag them over in ManagePro.  It’s a simple right click option, then drag them into a time slot, so my calendar represents my priorities for the day.  Then open your email after identifying and setting aside time for your priorities and adjust as needed.  Try it, and let me know if it works for you.

Bottom Line:  Being strategic, is a goal of everyone in management.  In fact, the first 15 minutes of every day may be your most powerful Strategic Time.  Don’t mis-spend it on email and calendar reviews, you’ll have missed an unequaled opportunity.

Leveraging Time

8 Comments. Leave new

What version of Mpro are you using for this technique? I have the current build of Mpro, but still continue to use 6.9.5 due to certain features that were not carried over into the latest build. I would really miss the Goal Status and People Status boards and great keyboard shortcuts of 6.9.5

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