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AFP 2020 Blog

Time Management While Working from Home

Sep 22, 2020

Over the past several months, financial professionals have experienced upheaval in their professional and personal lives. Many have been working from home, adapting their daily schedules to that environment. When you’re handling so many things at once, it can be difficult to manage your time properly.

In a recent podcast, AFP President and CEO Jim Kaitz discussed the importance of perfect timing with AFP 2020 keynote Daniel Pink. Pink is a New York Times Bestselling author, whose books have won multiple awards and have sold more than 3 million copies worldwide. His latest book, “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing,” could be an instruction manual for how financial professionals can operate in today’s hectic, work-from-home environment. It delves into the science of timing, which can help us make better decisions and increase our productivity. Pink will be discussing some his findings at the AFP 2020 Virtual Experience in October.

The following are five key takeaways from the interview.

Be intentional with your schedule. You now have more ability to do the right tasks at the right time. “What you have now with work at home, is people having greater sovereignty over their schedule. They don't have to be in the office at a certain time. There might be slightly fewer meetings in place, perhaps by Zoom calls. So where people have a little bit of greater control over their schedule, they can be more intentional about that. They can do the right work at the right time. Because the difference between doing things at the right time and doing them the wrong time can be massive.”

If you only have time for small wins, that’s okay. “We’ve been seduced with big, hairy, audacious goals, and we have discounted small wins. Go for small wins. Don't think you can do everything; get a small win. A small win could be simply an hour of focused work, uninterrupted where you get a project out the door.”

Macromanage. Never micromanage. “What a manager should be doing is helping people set the right goals, giving them the support that they need, and having their back. Those are the most important things a manager can do at any moment. They are even more urgent at this moment. What worries me a little bit on working at home is that we’re going to start implementing these technologies that measure keystrokes, that keep the camera on and watch people, that are counting their hours and so forth. That is one of the worst things that companies could possibly do.

“If I’m a manager, I want people who are engaged. And the way that people are engaged is if they have some amount of autonomy. Managers should be working with people to say, ‘What are the results you need to deliver? And how can I, as the manager, support you to deliver those results?’ That's what I should be doing. That is not micromanaging; that is macromanaging. So if I'm there saying, ‘Oh, wait a second, what are you doing at 3:15 this afternoon?’ That's a waste of my time. It's a waste of your time.”

As a manager, you now have an even more personal responsibility to your employees. “You need to be able to check in on your people and say, ‘How are you doing? Are you okay? What else do you need?’ Because this is one of those moments in our lives where we can't draw these stark boundaries between what's professional and what's personal. I can peer into your house. You can peer into my messy home office. There's a very transparent world we're in here. So we have to treat people at a human level and managers need to care for people. That sounds superficially touchy-feely, but it's the most hardheaded, strategic thing that we can do right now.”

Do your most important work when you’re most productive.
“Look for any opportunity you can to carve out time during your peak period to do that analytical work. And if you're a manager in this realm, try to protect that time for other people.”

Don’t miss Daniel Pink’s keynote presentation at AFP 2020. Listen to the full interview with Daniel Pink here.

Register by September 25 for the AFP 2020 Virtual Experience and you’ll get complimentary access to the Forecasting in Uncertain Times Pre-Conference Workshop.