How IT Managers Can Make Time Work For Them

by drjim on October 31, 2008

Product Mangers Can Turn Time Into Their Friend

IT Mangers Can Turn Time Into Their Friend

Just where does the time seem to go? I don’t know about you but as of late I seem to be running out of time or just simply running behind more often than in the past. I’d like to blame the current turmoil in the financial markets; however, that’s not the problem. There are many, many more people who are better qualified than I talk about time management (I’m sorta a fan of GTD myself), but I do have one secret that I’d like to share with you. No promises, but if you believe what I’m going to share with you and if you take the time to implement it, then there is a pretty good chance that you’ll become the best IT manager in the world. Sound interesting? Then read on…

If you think back a bit, you might remember that there was a book called The Secret that was very popular awhile ago. In a nutshell, the secret was that if you can imagine something, then you can make it happen. This applies to making others believe that you have control over your time. However, I’m going get just a bit more specific here and give you one single change that if you implement it will have a dramatic and positive impact on your life: start showing up early.

What this means in the day-to-day life of a IT manager is that you need to start to show up for meeting early (5-10 minutes will do) and even more importantly, you need to start to jump on call bridges early (5 minutes will do here). I don’t know about you, but up until just recently I was a constantly late shower-upper. I would slide into calls 5 minutes late and hope that whoever was running the meeting would not stop the call and ask who had just joined when they heard the “beep” that announced my arrival. I’d slug through the call and then slink off when it was over no better or worse for the time spent on the call.

A few weeks ago, I accidentally showed up for a call early. You can imagine how surprised I was when there was nobody on the bridge when I joined (there was that moment where I felt that I needed to check to make sure that I had the right call-in numbers). What happened next really caught my attention: other people started to join. These just happened to be people that I had been trying with no luck to get in touch with. I had very quick, very short conversations with three of them as they joined and got commitments from them to send me answers and materials that I desperately needed. As others joined I exchanged small talk with them and reconnected with people that I knew but had not seen in a long time. When the call’s leader joined he fumbled around for a bit and this gave me time to ask a very good, penetrating question about what he wanted to accomplish on this call and that got everyone involved in a discussion. Man, it was almost like I was running the show!

Based on the success of this accidental event, I started showing up early for all of my meetings that week and found that the same sequence of events repeated itself. Others looked at me as though I was in charge, I connected with other people who were in the meeting, and I was able to make face-to-face requests for support and materials that were never turned down. Wow – who knew that getting what you wanted could be so easy?

Yes, I realize that showing up early for meetings and calls won’t solve all of life’s problems. However, it sure seems to make a lot of little things run much easier. When you couple that with the fact that it’s so very easy to do, why not give it a try and see what it does for you?

When do you show up for meetings & calls – early or late? When you are the one who is running the meeting do you show up early or do you still come late? Have you always been this way or did something cause you to be an early/late person? Leave a comment and let me know what you are thinking.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue Massey October 31, 2008 at 10:30 am

Nice site. There


John B. Kendrick November 1, 2008 at 10:27 am

Great suggestion, and I like the connection with your blog title. I don’t always take the tiime to show up early, though I make it a habit not to be late and have found that it provides time for connection and commitment, or reminders to other.

I used and taught Covey and Daytimer for many years before reading David Allen’s GTD book and switching to GTD. Its made a significant impact for the good on my business and personal productivity.

And I found an application that allows me to view my entire GTD at work on my Win machine, at home on my Macs and even on my cell phone. And another app lets me call in tasks to my GTD without any writing or typing, great for those thoughts that hit me while driving.

I’ve written about my experiences with GTD at John


Dr. Jim Anderson November 1, 2008 at 4:20 pm

John: I’m a big fan of David’s GTD book. I must confess that the only part of his plan that I’ve been able to consistently follow is the great suggestion to not use your email inbox as a storage box – process or move all emails all the time. I’m not sure if this really helps me to get more things done, but boy-o-boy do I get great emotional satisfaction out of seeing a “clean & empty” inbox!


Kell November 2, 2008 at 6:15 pm

Great article. Another way to get more specific (re The Secret) is through setting goals. Goals are great for focus and motivation towards achieving your dreams. To help you achieve your goals, don’t just set and forget, but build a clear path with short-term goals that take you step-by-step towards your long-term goal. Having goals that you are working on today can help you to manage the distractions that take you away from what you are trying to achieve.


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