How often do you find that you are sitting at your desk working while the spouse and kids are at the park enjoying the weekend?  A scream welling up inside of you that says “WHY DO I WORK ALL THE TIME”?  Well, before you send the family to Disney World without you, think about 3 things.

  1. Do you have set work hours?
  2. Do you work when you are in the office?
  3. What does your desk look like?

These seem like three pretty easy, meaningless questions, on the surface.  However, as we dig into them, we find out a lot about ourselves.


Set work hours set up consistency for time management.  Most any job requires a minimum of 8 hours a day to meet deadlines.  Then you have those days where nothing is going right and you get behind.   Now it’s a 10 to 12-hour workday.  Those are going to happen, but we want those to be the exception not the rule.  Consistent work hours allow you to plan ahead for large jobs that are bound to take extra hours, and prepares you for those days where things are just out of sorts.  If you are not sure what time you are going to start your day, then you are not going to have any idea what time your day is going to end.  Missing the dance recital is not acceptable.


Off the top of our of head we would all say, “sure I’m working while I’m at work”.  I spent many hours as a manager in meetings with other department heads, vendors, employees, etc.  Then after everyone else went home, I finally got to do my work.  I bet many of you can relate to this as managers. I want you to do some soul searching here.

  1. Needy employees – There are simply 2 things to consider here.  (1) Did you properly train them and/or (2) are they a right fit for the job?  In my 30 plus years as a manager, most issues boiled down to these two things;  as a manager, I had missed the mark on training and explaining my expectations, or I missed in the interview process that this person was not a right fit.  Both of these were on me and up to me to correct.
  2. Vendor meetings – Plan ahead and know your needs.  If you are not sure of what you want, what you need, or what you can afford, maybe the timing is not right to make a move.  A lot of time is wasted in meetings with vendors checking out the new thing that we can’t even afford.  However, if you know change is required, team up with a partner vendor that has an expertise and allow them to do their part, and provide you with some options that you can choose from.  This cuts your time in the process down considerably.
  3. Internal meetings – Be willing to work on the communication of your company. Set up a culture of mutual understanding and respect so that people can bring their best to the table, to work out things more effectively and efficiently.  Be open to making sure that time is not being wasted in meetings due to miscommunication.

Your desk or your computer management style can be costing you time.  My desk management style was “piles”.   Work pile, reading pile, filing pile, oh my what am I going to do with this pile and the delegation pile.  Often the oh my pile got intermingled with the delegation pile, but I digress.  After a while, the papers in the filing pile started to turn yellow (I hate filing). The reading pile became recycle, because there was no time to read all that. (Important note here: For the manager, keeping up with what’s changing in the industry may be one of important parts of your job.)  Interestingly enough, the work pile just sat there waiting on me to finally get time to work on it.  I haven’t even mentioned how many times I got to thinking about something and had to dig through all the piles to find it.  You may say, “well I don’t have this pile problem  because all my stuff is in the computer”.  How much time to do you spend search folder after folder for the item you need?


If you have trained your employees well, you can then delegate a good portion of the work passed to you as the manager.   Before you say, ” now I’m just overloading my employees”.  I suggest this, if the work is getting done and everyone is leaving at 5:00, except you, who is really overloaded?  If you want your employees to have your drive and work ethic, then train them to strive for those goals.  So often our own drive fools us into thinking no one can do what we do.  That mindset leaves you overworked and unapproachable. More employees sit around thinking the boss doesn’t trust my work as opposed to the boss is overloading me with work.   I often used lower level team leaders to sit in meetings where we simply needed to talk about updates on a project.  Items that required research before a decision could be made, I delegated to a seasoned employee.  I was always happy to help the boss because it showed they trusted me.  It built my confidence and allowed me to move up the ladder in management.  Delegating work gives everyone a chance to learn and grow.   It further opens up the managers time for more important things. There is more to delegating than just getting rid of the work.  Delegating allows employees to learn additional skills, builds their confidence and gives you a strong team.


Work when your staff works, delegate appropriately, manage your time in meetings,  and organize your workspace.  The boss builds the culture, good or bad.