by: Aedhmar Hynes, chief executive officer at Text 100.*
As CEO of a global digital communications agency (disclosure: Xerox is a longstanding client), I spend a lot of time talking to people about the changing nature of communications and the socialization of our industry. In fact, I’m coming to you from the Land Down Under (Sydney, Australia), where I’ve been meeting with fellow leaders and employees to discuss what’s ahead for our company.
It’s an exciting time for our business. But as our world becomes more digital and social, we’re forced to be “on” 24/7; my days aren’t the traditional 9-to-5 anymore. While I consider it a great privilege that I spend much of my time interacting with such smart, savvy, interesting people, with a schedule like mine, avoiding burnout (or jet-lag) can sometimes be elusive – and it’s important to me that I give 110 percent in all of my commitments. Fortunately I have a great team behind me, and in my almost 20 years in the business I’ve learned a thing or two about what I need to do to stay focused and succeed at work and at home. I’ll let you in on a few of my secrets:
Prioritize, re-prioritize, and prioritize again. Effective time management is the key to succeeding. I rely heavily on my to-do list. It’s a simple concept, but one that I couldn’t live without. The key for me is fluidity – as obligations and commitments pile up, I shuffle things around to ensure I meet the most immediate deadlines first, and I make it a point to communicate and delegate when a deadline can’t be met.
There‘s an old time management technique that says to touch each piece of paper only once; I apply the same logic to email. I look at each message once and take action – respond, delete, or file it away. I also manage my email and social media interactions in time blocks throughout the day, so I don’t get pulled away from something else.
If you need to delegate tasks, make sure everyone is on the same page. Assume there will be distractions. I’m not a one-woman show – I have a great team behind me to help keep things running. The ticket here is making sure that everyone involved knows the end goal and has a hand in participating in the journey. I delegate tasks with confidence, knowing that my team can handle them and I make sure to build in check points to set and re-set expectations as needed. I make myself available to the team so they know they can come to me with questions or feedback.
Blend home and work life, rather than “balance.” This is one of my favorite strategies. The key here is that instead of creating a clear line between work, family and time for myself, I look for ways to blend two or three of them when I can. Times when I can engage my children’s classroom in a project on China when I visit that country for business, or when I seek their opinion on the best form of social media when a client is targeting a young audience. Or looking at ways I can blend all three. These are occasions when I can cook food (my personal passion) with the help of my children (family) and invite the team or clients around to have dinner (work). It’s not a strategy for everyone as some people like to keep things separate; but with four children and a company to run, I know I couldn’t do it all without lots of blending.
Aedhmar Hynes filed this content as part of a partnership with Xerox. The content shared is the author’s opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of Xerox. #FocusFriday is a weekly conversation helping people with productivity in the office. Posts can be at the same time fun and serious, in the spirit of the company’s Business of Your Brain app, yet always focused on what matters most, Real Business.
*Updated November 21, 2017.