What do Jim Donald, Susan Lyne, and Bill Gates have in common? Each of these busy, highly successful professionals has tackled the problem of too much to do in too little time, and come out on top. Let’s take a look at how these high profile managers budget their time.
Jim Donald, CEO and president of Starbucks, considers himself to be fanatical about communicating. He receives over 200 e-mails per day, responding at least briefly to 75% of them. His secret is to start the day early (6 AM) because it’s the perfect time to reach out to people. In the quiet of the morning, he leaves voicemails for his managers, writes personal thank you cards and signs birthday cards. Clearly, he places a high priority on building and maintaining relationships, and he aligns his day accordingly.
Susan Lyne, president and CEO of Martha Stewart Living, doesn’t get caught up in the little stuff. She manages at the macro level, trusting her staff to do the job right. Lyne says that the best way to grow a company is to hire fantastic people. She only hires people that she feels have the potential to do her job! Macro-management allows Lyne to focus on what’s most important, while freeing her staff to do their best work.
Bill Gates, chairman and chief software engineer of Microsoft, uses digital tools to organize his day. Really, would you expect anything less? Three synchronized screens form his computer’s desktop because, he says, “once you have that large display area, you’ll never go back, because it has a direct impact on productivity.”
Email is Gate’s medium of choice. A select group of people have direct access to him via email, with the remainder filtered through his assistant. Not a fan of to-do lists, he relies on e-mail, desktop folders and an online calendar to stay organized. He saves time looking for documents by making full use of desktop search instead of using his computer’s hierarchy of files and folders.
One common thread with each of these people is that they make sure to capture ideas as they occur. One uses a hardback black binder, keeping it with him at all times. Another uses a simple notebook. Mr. Gates, as you’d expect, uses a Tablet PC. Regardless of the format used to record information, they all refer back to their notes at the end of the day, making sure good ideas are acted upon, and making sure nothing slips through the cracks.
There you have it, four simple ideas that work for highly successful managers. Make room for your highest priority first. Free up your time while empowering your team through macro-management. Learn how to use your existing digital tools more effectively to manage your time and documents. And make sure to capture ideas as they occur, returning to your notes by day’s or week’s end for actionable items. Apply these ideas at work and home, and feel your productivity and effectiveness soar.
Source: Fortune Magazine [http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/10/16/8390317/index.htm?postversion=2006101307]
Thanks to Bootstrapper for including this post in the Carnival of Business and Entrepreneurship, to brip blap for featuring this post in the Carnival of Careers, to Sales Management 2.0 for publishing this post in the Carnival of Sales & Management Success, and to Working at Home on the Internet for inclusion in the Working at Home Blog Carnival.