Many of the presentations we coordinate we put under the title, “Mastering Workplace Performance” (link here:

Most importantly, today we talked about how leaders and “Manage Their Day.” I think this is an important way to look at the presenting issue or the inciting incident that we are addressing. Yes, people have TOO MUCH to do, and NOT ENOUGH time to do it in. So, now that we know that…Here are questions I am often asked:

“When you support a large staff and have your own duties, how do you best coordinate being available to the staff and completing your tasks without jeopardizing your deliverables?”

So, let me take each one of these, one at a time, and share with you a philosophy AND a tactic:

how do you best coordinate being available…

My question back is: “How available is available?”

If you’ve created a culture where interruptions are commonplace, it’s going to be difficult to count on the the time you need to get your most important work done. According to an article published in the Houston Chronicle on 2/27/2006, “People switch activities, such as making a call, speaking with someone in their cubicle or working on a document, every 3 minutes on average.” So, imagine this scenario:

You’re looking at a 4 page document. Each page has approximately 200 words on it. EVEN if you read it straight through, you’d probably get through those 800 words in “about 3 minutes.” At which point you get interrupted. Let me ask you, is “being available” worth you having to go back and re-read that document…again?

In 2009, the technology organization Basex ran a survey. After asking hundreds of workers do you know what they found? “The average employee spends 28% of their time dealing with unnecessary interruptions followed by “recovery time” to get back on track.”

So, NOW my question is a deeper one:

What is your recovery time?

Researchers Gloria Mark and Victor Gonsalez of the University of California, Irvine, found that once interrupted, it takes workers 25 minutes to return to the original task, if they return at all.

So, let me give you a tactic. Tomorrow (yes, tomorrow) ask your co-workers if they’d help you with an experiment. Ask them to give you 15 minutes at a time, 3 different times that day (try 10am, 1pm and 3pm to start) to focus on one activity without distracting you.

What if (this is a BIG question) you had 3X15 minutes to work on something without running the risk of getting distracted? Try it one day, and then a second day, and then for three more days. That’s right, according to chapter 10 of the book Your Best Just Got Better (reviews here:, it will take you 5 days of experimenting with a tactic to know whether or not it will be worth it to continue practicing enough to actually make it a habit.

I did write an article on interruptions in the workplace. Want to see? Here you go:

how do you complete your tasks without jeopardizing your deliverables…

I went over to and in the search bar I typed, “how do I prioritize my work?” and – BAM, just like that – I was given about 3,680,000 results in just .38 seconds. That means you’re not the only one asking this question.

I was almost shocked when I saw something that reminded me of what I learned in a time management class I took in 1996 (when I was still a graduate student at the University of California):

Here are three steps that can make pri­or­i­tiz­ing daily tasks sim­ple for you:

• List your tasks in your daily plan­ner. (I know this sounds sim­ple but most peo­ple don’t do it.)

• Assign let­ters to each task as follows:

• A = High Pri­or­ity and must be done today

• B = Impor­tant (It would be good to get this done today but it’s not critical.)

• C = Less Impor­tant (This is more of a some­day list.)

• Assign num­bers, in order of impor­tance, to each let­ter (ex. A1, A2, B1, B2, B3, C1, C2). This is the numer­i­cal order you will fol­low.

A’s are done first start­ing with A1. If time is left after the A’s are done, start on the B’s, fol­lowed by the C’s.

According to the article, by fol­low­ing this method of pri­or­i­ti­za­tion, you will be able to work smarter dur­ing your quest for a more pro­duc­tive day.

Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “Jason, why are you shocked? Isn’t that a good way to prioritize?”

Hmmm, yeah, maybe. Before Twitter. Before YouTube. Before Quantitive Easing. Before the TWO recessions we’ve been through since then. Before…

…you get my point.

Your work is SO fluid, SO important, SO big, that to be available to potentially useful information, to have a boss that changes your Most Important Thing (see chapter 7 of and to have a team member that is now the sole caregiver for a parent, a child, a family member, etc…

Do you use Microsoft® Outlook®? If you do, I’d highly recommend you at least go through the FREE 7-day course I created for you (preview is here: And, yes, I stand by the money-back guarantee if you DO decide to purchase the video course. In fact, if you email me within 1 day of purchasing the course I’ll add a 30 minute one-on-one video coaching session to your shopping cart!

How do you complete your tasks?

Well, if you got a copy of my book, I’d recommend you start by reviewing pages 15, 16, 17 and 18. (Don’t have a copy? No worries, you can review chapter one for free right here.) There I talk about how important it is to define your work at the NOUN and the VERB levels.

Want to read an article on this? Here you are, just click here…

Oh, and of course I made a video, here’s the link for you.