I used to think the manager who was always late to a meeting or frantically running around the office waving their hands in haste was the one who got the most work done and had the best time management skills.

Don’t get me wrong, generating energy goes a long way for culture and excitement.

Even today my favorite line to a tardy manager: “if you weren’t busy (i.e. late), I’d be worried.” Almost every time I get a chuckle-filled response with a glimpse of guilty satisfaction that says: “ain’t that the truth.”

However, the managers who show up early and seemingly breeze through the day with little to no fires are the ones who deserve the most respect. It’s not that fires don’t come up with them, these managers have put the processes in place where the fires don’t derail their day. Therefore they show up on time and almost always seemed composed.

A great example comes from a long time WideAngle customer and one of our most respected managers: Robert Beattie.

We first interviewed Robert over two years ago in our “How I Conduct One on One Meetings.” It is still one of our most popular pieces to date.

Key Time Management Skills:

In our webinar with Robert we uncover a tragically vital concept many managers never grasp: the difference between Urgent vs. Important.

“If you’re having effective One on One Meetings your time management becomes much more easy to manage because you start to get people who understand the difference between urgent versus important and the important things can wait for the one on one meeting. If you’re not giving them that time, everything is urgent, everything is a crisis, everything is important. Knowing they have that window of undivided attention, that is crucial.”

At the 2:50 mark, Robert shares the secret to his time management.

 

It doesn’t matter how you put in the force functions around structuring your team members to make the decision around what is important versus what is urgent. However, as a manager, your life will be much more stress-free, your day will be run with more predictability, and you’ll likely a have happier direct reports.

This story resonates well with so many managers of this generation because it applies to many of the time management skills from the One Minute Manager. Instead of factories and widgets, we’re talking regional departments and today’s commerce.

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