There are many time management experts who are eager to tell us how to work smarter so we don’t have to work so hard. It does seem like there are always too many things to do and not enough time. “I’m so busy” is a phrase that seems to mean “I’m so important.” Few people I know think they are not busy. Even people who are bored will also say they are busy.
The one person I know who has helped the most people be more effective with their time, and achieve more of their goals, is Doug Lennick. When I asked him about working smart, his response was, “Working hard is the smartest thing you can do.” He’s also someone who was clear about when he would work and when he would spend time with his family or play basketball.
Video Production Example
We were coaching him on a video recording where there was a large video crew and several people by a lake. There were delays for various problems, as often occurs. Doug repeatedly said, “I am leaving at 6:00 PM no matter what.”
I am not sure what the producer was thinking, but he did not seem to adjust adequately. At 6:00 PM, and before the producer considered the video recording complete, Doug said a pleasant goodbye and was gone. This was the night he had committed to be home for dinner with his wife. The producer had to complete the video with people who were willing to go home late for dinner.
Doug was committed to working sixty hours per week in his role as a senior leader. He started at 6:00 AM with scheduled phone calls on his way into the office. Doug was scheduled and disciplined. If he said he would do something at a certain time – he did it. That included commitments to his family.
Doug is very conscious of his principles, values and goals in his personal and work life. He has structured his life to be in line with those most of the time. His assistant, Kay May, is his long-term backbone of his ability to manage his schedule well.
When I asked Doug about his structured schedule, he pointed out that it was the best way for him to reach his goals and maintain his values and beliefs. “What can be bad about that?” he said with a great smile on his face. He did schedule basketball twice per week and time for his loved ones as well. As best I could observe, everything in his life was thought out and prioritized. He has been incredibly successful in business and in life, reaching the level of Executive Vice President of American Express. When he retired from American Express, he built a successful consulting business. “Not bad for a guy who grew-up in rural South Dakota” he said.
“Learning From Experience™” Reboot
We produced an audio series with Doug and Carol Keers fifteen years ago that was extremely good. I think it was before it’s time. With the increased challenges many people have today, I am thinking it would be good to reboot the series. I have the wonderful problem that there are a number of new products in the pipeline. I am debating which ones to prioritize. Let me know if you think that would be of interest to you and what you would like it to help you to accomplish.