While we can’t get more time from a day, we can likely make better use of the time we have. In this episode, we interview Dr. Breck England with FranklinCovey, and explore ways supervisors can be more organized, efficient, and effective through simple time management strategies anyone can implement.
Joe White (00:01):
It flies, but has no wings, can always be measured, but never seen. The answer is time, and our topic today is time management. Stay with us.
Joe White (00:19):
Hello, and thank you for joining us. My name is Joe White and I'm the host of Supervisor Skills Secrets of Success. The SOS podcast series is produced for the ongoing development of mid and frontline managers. With each episode, we'll take on topics of interest, and interview subject matter experts for the benefit of our listeners. In this episode, we're going to talk about time management, a topic very important to most supervisors. My guest today is Breck England. Breck is a vice president with FranklinCovey and is involved with training product development. He lives in Bountiful, Utah, and has a PhD from the University of Utah. Breck is well versed on this topic and I couldn't be happier to have you with us today. Welcome Breck, and thank you for joining us.
Dr. Breck England (01:04):
Well, thank you. It's a pleasure.
Joe White (01:06):
Breck, if you would just take a moment, tell us a little bit about yourself, what you do. I know I've had a lot of experience with FranklinCovey in the past using some of your products and frankly, I'm quite honored to have you with us today, but just give us a little bit more detail about what you do at FranklinCovey.
Dr. Breck England (01:22):
Well, my role at FranklinCovey was for several years to create training materials, such as manuals, books, that sort of thing. And also lots of video. We spent quite a bit of money on video to demonstrate how to do planning for one's life.
Joe White (01:44):
Okay. That's great. Well, I think about time management, I think about the importance of time management in my life. I try to be organized. I really try to keep track of priorities and that sort of thing. And I know that without the resources, especially the resources that I've had in the past from Franklin Planner in FranklinCovey, it's definitely been instrumental in my career, so I know the value and the importance of it.
Joe White (02:11):
We got a couple questions here. Again, with this particular podcast, we really target the mid and frontline manager. So as we take this topic and this topic is obviously a topic of great importance to supervisors and frontline managers. And I know quite often I hear people say, I wish I had more time in my day. And, in reality, what we're going to be talking about today is how do you use the time you have more effectively. And so that's going to really be a theme coming out of this. And I know we all have opportunities to improve in time management. I really hope that comes out of today's discussion.
Dr. Breck England (02:47):
Well, I was a mid-manager at one time. As a matter of fact, I was grabbed out of a group of consultants to be a manager. I'd never been a manager before. I was a young guy and the boss liked me and he thought I was good at consulting. So he thought maybe I'd be good at managing. Of course he was wrong. And one day the boss called me in, told me he was retiring. He said it's your job now. And I had 60 professional consultants to manage, and it was an intimidating and ridiculous position to put me in.
Joe White (03:21):
You know, your story is one that I would say 90% of those that I speak with go through that same sort of experience, forged through fire as I called it. Trial and error and learn through our mistakes. And I know in particular with, with time management and we'll jump into a question in here. Unfortunately, we just don't always get development in this area. And few companies that I've seen even offer any sort of training in it. Time management is a term that I've heard throughout my career and by little interpretation, we really can't manage time. So as a point of reference, what does this term mean in practice?
Dr. Breck England (04:03):
Time management means that you ensure that the things you do serve priorities first and everything else either falls by the wayside, or it fills in the cracks in your life. Maybe you've seen that famous little experiment where they ask you to pour some sand into a bucket, and then you try to fit a whole bunch of big rocks into the bucket on top of the sand. And you can't do it because there's too much sand in there. Well, sand is just the stuff that comes at you, and the big rocks are the things that have to get done. And yet with so much sand in the bucket. You can't take care of those big rocks, you know?
Joe White (04:53):
Dr. Breck England (04:54):
So time management for me is very simple. You just put the big rocks in the bucket first.
Joe White (05:01):
I love that concept and that's something for me it's easy to visualize. I can certainly grasp that. And it's something I'll remember. So if-
Dr. Breck England (05:11):
Yeah, and then you pour the sand in around it, then a lot of sand doesn't get in, but-
Joe White (05:17):
Dr. Breck England (05:17):
Who cares? It's sand, right? If the big rocks get taken care of that's what's important and everything else that is less important, well fine. Let it go, right? Or let it fill in where it can.
Joe White (05:33):
I might add, it's interesting when we give our workshops and, and we routinely work with supervisors and managers, we go into these workshop. I ask other participants how many of them actually have a planner, have a calendar, have some system that they use and use regularly to keep up with priorities and to track goals, objectives, things that are important and follow up and feedback to employees. And I'm shocked. I would say probably 80 to 85% of those that we see in these workshops have no system.
Dr. Breck England (06:16):
Right. And the systems that are provided by ETEC are clumsy, they're difficult to work with because for one thing, screen is so small, and for another thing typing on it is very hard. And that's why I personally can't do without my planner. And I don't think most people can either, because if you ever notice, when you go into a meeting, you see people always bring two things, they bring their phone and they also bring something that has paper.
Joe White (06:48):
Dr. Breck England (06:48):
It could be a yellow legal pad. It could be a Moleskine. It could be a notebook. And the reason they have to have that is that they can't use their phone for the important work, such as sketching out action plans, taking notes, writing down ideas and thoughts, even making diagrams. A lot of people do that, right? Your phone doesn't do any of that well.
Joe White (07:11):
So as a representative of FranklinCovey, I know you have a number of time management products for those that are at the mid frontline level, quite often out on the shop floor, on the job site, on the deck plate, they're out where the action and the work is taking place. What products do you have that lend themselves to use in that environment?
Dr. Breck England (07:35):
Well, to me, the most important products that we provide would be one that helps you manage your whole life and time. And that's called five choices. Five Choices of Extraordinary Productivity. That's a training program that takes one day and you can take it in modules online. So it's very simple, it's very easy, and it trains you in what I'm talking about.
Joe White (08:02):
Dr. Breck England (08:03):
Another product would be another program called Four Disciplines of Execution. This product enables you to choose a goal and really execute on it with excellence. It's very, very useful for people who have to get something done, something that is clearly defined, get it done and get it done on time and in budget and so forth. Finally, I would suggest the Franklin Planner be the medium, the central product for all of them.
Joe White (08:34):
Dr. Breck England (08:36):
Because without the paper planner, you're kind of, your hands are empty.
Joe White (08:41):
Dr. Breck England (08:41):
You don't have anything to work with. You know what I'm saying? You don't have anything to write down your plans, write down your commitments, keep records of who's keeping their commitments, and to ensure that you're moving forward. Without that paper planner what you end up with is electronic charts and so forth that are helpful, but do not have the substance to them that tells you what is the commitment, right? And what is the plan and so forth.
Joe White (09:12):
Dr. Breck England (09:13):
Those would be, those would be three key products that FranklinCovey provides to help you manage.
Joe White (09:18):
Okay. And I greatly appreciate you going over those. So I'm going to toss you a softball here. Daily planning is a discipline. It takes time. It requires effort. For those willing or considering putting forth the time and effort to do it. They've listened to this, and they said, boy, this is something I think I could benefit from. How will it help them? Not only near term, but in the bigger, long term picture?
Dr. Breck England (09:46):
Well, daily planning doesn't take much time if you do your weekly plan properly. I'm very big on weekly planning.
Joe White (09:53):
Dr. Breck England (09:53):
And that's something that you can take some time with, right? And it's not just your job, it's your life. I like to sit down on a Sunday afternoon, for example, and take a half hour or so think through my mission at work, my roles at home, what's happening this week. What's the key? What are the key things I need to do at home to maintain my relationships? And what are the key things I need to do at work to move the goals forward, right? To move the rocks forward. And that half hour or so puts me back in the frame of mind of what needs to be done.
Dr. Breck England (10:35):
And it also helps speak to define my commitments for the week. And, what I end up doing then is just very minimal daily planning.
Joe White (10:45):
Dr. Breck England (10:45):
I can do my daily plan in three minutes because I already know what my week is about, right? So daily planning is not time consuming at all. If you do weekly planning, which is, in my opinion, it is the secret of time management. It's the week that matters. Each day can be chaotic and weird things happen, and you might have a fire break out on the floor and so forth. You can't plan for stuff like that.
Joe White (11:13):
Dr. Breck England (11:13):
But you can plan on a weekly basis. You might plan to minimize such things. You know, we need to do something about fire control this week. And then you won't have the fire break out on the floor. You know what I'm saying? So anyway, the point is be thoughtful about your week and then make adjustments as you have to on a daily basis.
Joe White (11:38):
That's great advice. And again, this whole notion of keeping track of the big rocks I think is just so, so important. So how can listeners find out more about your products and get more information about your company?
Dr. Breck England (11:51):
Oh, it's so easy. At FranklinCovey.com, or FranklinPlanner.com. Either one of those.
Joe White (11:58):
Okay. Well, Breck we're out of time. I want to thank you. It's been a pleasure speaking with you. I know you and I talked a month or so ago, and I was really looking forward to this particular podcast, and everything that you've shared with me, some of the concepts, some of the points I think are incredibly important, and I certainly believe they're going to be a benefit and value to our listeners.
Joe White (12:22):
For those that are listening today, contact information for Breck is available in the show notes for this episode. I hope you found the discussion of value benefit. If so, please help us spread the word, share the podcast with others that you know of that may have interest. In addition, we welcome any feedback you may have and would encourage you to review and rate us wherever you access your podcasts. The SOS podcast series is brought to you by AEU Lead the consultancy dedicated to the needs of frontline managers. For additional information, or to follow us on social media, please use the links and the show notes provided. That's it for now. Stay safe and thanks for listening.
About Dr. Breck England
Dr. Breck England, senior product architect and writer for FranklinCovey, ensured the firm would lead in providing world-class effectiveness solutions for our clients. As a senior consultant, Breck has 29 years’ field experience in helping some of the world’s prime corporations become more effective in leadership and communication. Now retired, he directed such projects for some 200 organizations around the world—from Switzerland to Saudi Arabia. He co-wrote with Stephen R. Covey The Third Alternative, Predictable Results in Unpredictable Times, and Great Work, Great Career. Breck lives with his wife Valerie in the Rocky Mountains of Utah.