Beginning, Finishing, The Space In Between

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Yesterday I had the privilege of spending a day with the founding team of one of the most exciting start-ups I’ve seen in years.  These people are sharp, excited, and have an idea that can change the lives of business professionals as much as the telephone, email, and social applications have.  But, I can’t go further — for the moment.  I made a pinky swear of confidentiality with the CEO.  They are in stealth mode but should be launching in a few months.  Stay tuned.

But our meetings got me started thinking about how we–business professionals–spend certain parts of our day.  I’d really like your feedback in the comments or if you want to keep it private, send an email to [email protected].

Here’s what I’d like to hear from you:

How do you spend your first 30 minutes or so when you start your business day?  Do you catch up on email, sip that cup of coffee, review your calendar for the day, update your to-do list, catch up on the latest news, look at your internal “group communications” using things like Chatter, Jive, or external networks, make a few phone calls, or something else.  Do you spend time reflecting/prepping for the next meeting or two?

How do you spend the last 30 minutes of your business day?  A final glance at your emails?  Look at your calendar for the next day?  Prep for the next day’s meetings?  Peruse social networks or internal networks.

Finally, how do you spend the “spaces in between?”  By that, I mean those few minutes between meetings or while you might be waiting for a customer, or like me right now–waiting for a flight in airport or those few minutes of unscheduled time you see on your calendars.  Do you catch up on emails, a few calls, look at your social media sites, think about the next meeting/prep for it?

I’d really appreciate your feedback and it will be of enormous help to the team.

Since I’m asking you a huge favor, let me share my responses for the questions I’ve posed:

How I start my day:  Well it depends.  Normally, I spend the first 45-60 minutes on my blog and social media–for example, participating in discussions on LinkedIn or looking at twitter.  The next 30 minutes is clearing email, quickly looking at my calendar and mentally setting my priorities for the day.  If my day starts with a very early call, I shift all that stuff to later, but I spend 5 minutes before the call (religiously) prepping myself mentally–what do I want to accomplish, I may quickly look at the person’s social profile or their company’s web site to see if there has been a change that I should be aware of.

How I end my day:  The last 30 minutes of my day is clean up and prep.  I clean up my to-do’s, notes, etc. from the day.  I look at my calendar for the next day, spend a few minutes thinking about each meeting/call, doing some prep, perhaps writing myself a few notes.  I update my to-do’s, then stop my business day  (well sort of, I’m compulsive, I’ll check email up until bed time, maybe a few tweets, and do a lot of business and recreational reading.

On the spaces in between.  Before a meeting, I’m obsessive about reviewing my plan/agenda for the meeting and what we should accomplish.  I don’t believe in meetings without an agenda.  I don’t believe in walking into a meeting and winging it.  If it’s a meeting with a client or anyone outside the company, I quickly do some research, I check their LinkedIn profiles, and social feeds to see if there is anything I should be aware of.  I look to see if their company has made any announcements.  If I have idle time, for example, at the airport, I carry a list of people I want to call.  These are friends, colleagues, clients I may not have spoken with for some time.  I try to connect with a minimum of 5 people a day (this is beyond my scheduled and prospecting calls.)  I may look at twitter or some of my other social channels, or like now, whip out a quick blog post.

So how do you begin and finish?  How do you fill the spaces in between?

Thanks so much for your help!  (Please forward this to your friend/colleagues and tweet to get others to participate)

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.

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