Misty Megia is Head of Accounting Education and Programs at TSheets, which offers software that helps businesses track employee time and schedules. Misty interviewed Jim McGinnis to ask what time-saving tips help him enhance productivity. Here's what she shared.
Distractions run rampant in the workplace. Studies show that the average American worker receives no less than 122 emails each day. That barrage of messages coupled with other office distractions doesn't leave much time for leadership―or actual work. So, how can you be more productive? I sat down with former Intuit executive, Jim McGinnis, to ask about his tips and tricks for staying on task, balancing an executive-level position with being a father of two, and delegating effectively.
MM/ How can today's business owners better manage their time?
JM/ When you think about it, there are very few things that we control; however, we can choose how to manage our time. I think setting time aside to do real work is critical for everybody in any organization, and there are many ways to do this.
One is to schedule appointments with yourself. I prefer to schedule early in the morning when I know my energy level and creativity is higher. So, I block out my calendar in the morning to get some important things done.
Another is paying attention to how you're spending your time. Often, hours of productivity are squandered because we're just not focusing on how we spend our most valuable resource.
MM/ How do you strike a balance between work and family life?
JM/ By being present. For example, I've always had predictable office hours, which my employees and partners appreciate. When I was an intern at E&J Gallo Winery, my boss said, "Come in at 8 a.m. and leave at 6 p.m. Anybody who works less than that probably isn't giving it their all. And anybody who works more than that should learn to delegate." That has been my general rule. Occasionally, I extend my hours, but only for a finite period of time.
When I'm done at the office, I'm present with my family―not staring at my phone waiting for the next message or engaging in email dialogues. Otherwise, I'm taking up other people's personal time, as well as my own.
MM/ How do you handle the constant barrage of emails hitting your inbox?
JM/ Take action on every email you get: delete it, read it, file it or action it. Don't save them to read later. If you keep the discipline of "delete, file, read or action," you won't be tempted to look at your email unless you have the capacity. You don't want to open an email in a casual, in-between moment when you can't act on it.
MM/ How do you minimize distractions at work?
JM/ If I need to think or have quiet, I'll close my door. In an open-door world, that can sometimes feel inappropriate. But I'd rather close the door for 20 minutes and get it done than have an open door and not make any progress. But that also means that when my door is open, it's open―so I look forward to having conversations and interactions with my team.
MM/ How do you typically organize your teams to work effectively, ensuring everybody has a seat at the table?
JM/ When there's a decision to make or discussion to be had, create an environment where people are encouraged to use data to help make that decision. But at the end of the day, I think it's the leader's responsibility to make the decision.
I have often been in situations where the team has very strong, reasonable and differing points of view, but they leave the room feeling unclear of the direction they need to take. You can let the debate run wild in the room, but once it's settled, everybody should be singing from the same song sheet. It's critical they have a shared vision.
MM/ Any final piece of advice?
JM/ I recently read, "There is nothing more valuable than your time. ... It is a finite asset and, once spent, cannot be replenished." You probably keep track of your financial assets, but do you track how you spend your most valuable asset? Spend two weeks analyzing how you spend your time and look for ways to spend it better or spend more time with the people you care about most in your life!