For eight years, Gregory Lorjuste ’04 helped maintain one of the most hectic schedules in the world. In his role as senior scheduler at the White House, Lorjuste was one of three professionals who planned the day-to-day details and logistics for President Obama’s domestic and international events. In managing the leader of the free world’s most important asset — time — Lorjuste learned quickly that every minute counts, and once the clock starts, it’s impossible to get time back.
These are his words of wisdom on managing time:
Start your day before your boss/or team
Each morning, I started my day between 45 minutes to an hour before my director or team members would arrive. This extra time gave me the opportunity to prepare for all my meetings for the day and to discuss any issues with my director supervisor.
Find a time management system that works for you
If you don’t have a system to manage your time, get one. Having a system helps keep you on track and focused on what needs to be done. I use the Stephen Covey Time Management Matrix, which helps you organize your priorities into four quadrants. As the director of scheduling for the president, everything that got to my desk needed attention, whether it was something happening the next day or the next week or even month. I had to work on it and provide guidance to others to keep things moving. The Covey grid is a fantastic tool to keep you organized and manage your task efficiently.
Leave time between events and meetings
In my line of work, we call this pad-time. Scheduling yourself or someone else wall-to-wall can be problematic when last-minute stuff gets added on or emergencies come up. I try to space out all of my meetings or calls by at least 15-20 minutes. This pad-time gives me the ability to relax a bit, eat a snack, make a phone call or take a walk to get my Fitbit steps in.
Learn to say NO
This could easily be number one on this list. There is no way you can please everyone or do everything. If you know you do not have the time to commit, start with no and outline the things you have on your plate. Folks will understand and see that at this moment you, unfortunately, can’t help them. (Only break this rule when it’s for your spouse!)
Know the difference between Work Time and Chill Time
When you are in the office, get the job done. Don’t be the person who brings work to happy hour or an event where everybody is trying to NOT think about work.