3 common time management mistakes leaders make—Which one is yours?

Jen Roberts Leadership, Productivity, Stress

Do you constantly struggle to manage your time, lead your team, AND complete all of your other work without feeling exhausted? You’re not alone! The reason this problem is so prevalent is because the corporate environment is notoriously reactive in nature. The speed of business today often makes people feel as if an immediate action or response is required. Leaders often get stuck in a continuous loop of putting out fires instead of making real progress which can lead to frustration and burnout. This cycle is perpetuated because of three common time management mistakes that many leaders—regardless of level or type of industry—make every day. The traditional approach to time management equates task completion with productivity, but To-Do lists alone won’t help. The most effective among us know the secret: you have to learn to manage yourself and your energy to get the best results. Time Management Mistake #1: Being Reactive …

performance reviews

Performance Reviews: From Transactional to Transformational

Jen Roberts Communication, Engagement, Leadership, Productivity, Stress

As a leader, how do you usually feel when the time for performance reviews rolls around? Let’s be honest. Most leaders don’t enjoy the performance review process for several reasons. Usually, they feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of meetings they have to hold in a short period of time. Often these conversations are also tied to employees’ compensation. With many companies making budget cuts these meetings can be tough when you don’t feel like you have much to offer beyond praise. The result is that many leaders end up viewing the performance review process as tedious and time consuming (and it shows). Employees, on the other hand, can fall on both sides of the fence when it comes to performance reviews. Mostly, employees just want a chance to sit down and chat with you, offer up some ideas, and walk away feeling like it’s worth getting up each morning. …


Find Your Truth: How to Set Achievable Goals

Jen Roberts Leadership, Productivity

We recently hired a dog trainer for our 1 ½ year old Labrador Retriever. A lot of what we’re working on is helping him un-learn some of the bad habits we’d allowed him to develop. The trainer told us that we might see his bad behaviors increase before they got better (what we Psychologists call an extinction burst) and that the key to Cobi learning new behaviors was consistent practice on our parts. Since we’re in the first few weeks of the new year, it made me think about resolutions and how many people struggle to make desired changes in their lives. Whether it’s a personal goal, a promotion, or feeling more satisfied at work, making changes can be difficult. Research shows that when it comes to habit formation, consistent action brings about consistent results (both positive and negative). Did you make any resolutions this year? How’s it going for …

leadership autopilot

Are You on Leadership Autopilot?

Jen Roberts Engagement, Leadership, Productivity

How much of your day do you actually spend engaged in leading others? Most leaders say things like, “I give 110%,” or “I can’t work any harder than I already do,” and even, “I put out fires all day. Then I do my work.” Sound about right? When you think back to your first leadership role what did leadership mean to you? What did you envision for yourself and the people you’d be leading? What kind of impact did you imagine your leadership would have on not just the individuals you lead, but the entire organizational culture? Actually, many people haven’t put much thought into these types of philosophical questions about leadership.  For most workers, assuming a leadership role (or management/supervisory if you must) is just the next logical step in their career; a reward for their hard work and success. Perhaps you imagined having people who could help do all the work; a team that …


How to be Super Productive (Even on a Monday)

Jen Roberts Balance, Productivity, Stress

It’s Monday—the day that many of us begin our workweek—and I’m already tired. I don’t know about you, but my days off are often just as packed with activity my workdays, which can leave me feeling sluggish at the start of the week. Don’t get me wrong: I love days off just as much as the next guy (maybe more). But a weekend full of soccer games, outdoor play, cooking, cleaning, and late night movies can lead to diminished concentration and motivation when Monday morning rolls around. If this sounds familiar, it’s no wonder you’re dreading the alarm clock that signals the start of another hectic day ahead! The typical work environment can be best described in one word: REACTIVE. With so many distractions pulling your attention in different directions, it can be difficult to focus and be productive. This is the “norm” in most work environments, so it is …

Why Multitasking is a Myth

Jen Roberts Productivity

Think you’re good at multitasking? Think again! Most people feel that they have so much to accomplish there simply never seems to be enough time in the day. So, how do we typically handle that? Trying to do 8 things at once (AKA Multitasking). I’ve heard many leaders tell me how great they are at multitasking. They’re convinced that this is the only way to accomplish all their myriad demands in the span of the workday. The thing is, I coach leaders on this type of behavior all the time. I’ve even heard job applicants brag that one of their strengths is multitasking. The reality is, we don’t multitask very well. Research on divided attention shows that it’s not technically possible to do more than one thing at a time and get great results but we continue to try. Here’s an example conversation that might sound like some of yours. …

creating success

Creating Success: The Power of Intention

Jen Roberts Leadership, Productivity

How do you define success? Some people believe that success just happens; it’s the good fortune of some and elusive of others. Maybe you think success is a matter of luck, and either happens for you or it doesn’t. It’s 50/50. Chance. For others, success is something they choose and create from within. The most successful people believe that consistent action creates consistent results. And it can’t just be any action. Intention is where it all begins. Success takes intention, clarity, and commitment to proactively creating and practicing the habits that help you stay aligned with your goals. Without intention, your work is unguided and unfocused. You may find that you’re exhausted at the end of the day, but have no real results to show for all your busy-ness. This happens because most people spend their time and energy reacting to things, and much less time proactively creating their experiences. One of the most powerful habits …

meaningful work

3 Key Ingredients For Meaningful Work

Jen Roberts Engagement, Productivity

Nothing feels worse than getting to the end of a crazy day and wondering, “What did I actually accomplish?” My clients often need coaching to deal with the stress and overwhelm of their jobs. People seem to run on a never-ending hamster wheel yet often feel as though they have nothing to show for all their hard work. We all want to feel as if our work is meaningful and serves a purpose—typically to help our companies succeed. Yet many of my executive clients report not even having their official goals for one quarter at the beginning of the next. If you have no structure to your work, you might be in for a frustrating experience. Let’s fix that! First, a mindset shift may be in order: Working harder or longer hours does not necessarily create better outcomes. Working on purpose does. “Success takes intention, clarity, and commitment to proactively create …

Less Reactive Work Environment

[VIDEO] 3 Tips to Create a Less Reactive Work Environment

Jen Roberts Productivity

Do you feel stuck in a cycle of reactivity and panic at work? Most leaders want to feel more in control of their days and to create a less hectic work environment for their employees but don’t know how to make real changes. Watch my quick video for 3 practical tips to break through the chaos and enjoy work more!


Manage Yourself (Not Your Time) for Greater Productivity

Jen Roberts Engagement, Productivity

Have you ever arrived at the end of a busy day (week, month, year) and wondered where the time has gone? I know I have. In coaching hundreds of leaders all over the world, I’ve noticed that I’m not alone. Nearly everyone I talk to wishes there was more time to do all the things they have to do. So, they put in longer hours. They multitask, work through lunch, on evenings, weekends, and during vacation. And they still don’t get more done. They’re not any happier (in fact, they’re usually exhausted and disengaged). Here’s the thing: Time is a finite resource. You can’t manage time—it just keeps ticking away. And all of us get the exact same amount of time each day! So what makes some people seem more productive? They know how to manage their energy, not their time. Many people don’t think of their energy as a …

Boost productivity

[VIDEO] Want to Boost Productivity? Put Down That Cell Phone!

Jen Roberts Productivity, Stress

How many hours per day do you spend on your cell phone?  If you’re like most people, it’s probably a lot more than you think! In this week’s featured video, I share tips on how to scale back cell phone usage to improve productivity and lower your stress levels. Interested in taking a closer look at how you’re spending your time and energy? Click here to schedule a complimentary discovery call with me.  I help leaders and teams get better results with less stress!

Micro-Management Creates Macro-Problems!

Jen Roberts Engagement, Leadership, Productivity

Micromanager. Just that word alone might make you have a visceral reaction. Along the path of our careers, we’ve all probably encountered the dreaded micromanager. You know, the boss who always seems to be looking over your shoulder, inspecting, controlling, or criticizing everything you do. But have you ever stopped to wonder if you’re one, too? Yikes! Leaders micromanage for lots of reasons, not all of which are to intentionally make your work life difficult (I know this might be hard to believe!) Some of the most common reasons for micromanaging are often well-intentioned but leaders fail to see the negative effects these behaviors bring about. For example, leaders might micromanage because of: Concern about the details of a project (and ultimately feeling responsible) Feeling like they’re the only one who can do a particular task (or perform it best/fastest) Time or performance pressures from others Insecurity about his/her own …

Make time work

How To Make Time Work For (Not Against) You

Jen Roberts Balance, Productivity, Stress

How do you feel about time? Do you feel like time is on your side? Or, are you constantly rushing around but have no results to show for your frenzied efforts? Is time flying by leaving you feeling depleted, rather than fulfilled? I recently took some time off work to celebrate my 15th wedding anniversary. Two weeks to be precise. (I know—don’t hate me!) A trip of this length is a huge luxury and not one that many people feel they can afford. While visiting the Galileo Museum in Florence, I was struck by how long we’ve been obsessed with attempting to measure and control time. At the museum, I came across this quote next to a display of antique astronomical timepieces: “Since antiquity mankind has been fascinated by time, viewed as an enigma on both the philosophical and the physical level. Without succeeding in explaining what time is, astronomy …

workaholic culture

Are You Promoting a Workaholic Culture?

Jen Roberts Leadership, Productivity

Do you consider yourself a workaholic? How many hours do you typically work each day? Each week? Be honest with yourself. Don’t exclude the time you spend in conversation during your commute, or reading and answering emails on evenings and weekends, or working while on vacation. When you look at that number how does it make you feel? If you’re like many corporate leaders, your answer might be “exhausted” or “stressed-out” or “overwhelmed.” These descriptors are commonplace and have become the norm, but are they necessary? Some research shows that we’re working harder than ever, and there’s a cost to be paid in the way of productivity and engagement. Did you know that there are Workaholics Anonymous groups popping up everywhere?! On a recent coaching call, my client mentioned that a co-worker proudly told her he worked upwards of 14 hours per day. Some people believe that if they are …

employee development

Raising the Bar: An Investment in Talent and Employee Development

Jen Roberts Engagement, Leadership, Productivity, Retention

There’s an age-old dilemma that stymies many leaders: How to decide if investing in employee development is worth it. I recently saw a thought-provoking quote concerning employee development. It went like this: CFO asks CEO, “What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?” CEO replies, “What happens if we don’t and they stay?” This is an interesting perspective and one that’s probably important to consider when it comes to ensuring that your organization’s talent pipeline is fully prepared to move into key leadership roles to sustain your company’s success. Yet in many organizations employee training and development and leadership coaching are seen as “nice to have” but not necessarily essential. In fact, according to a survey from executive team consultancy Gap International, only 43% of executives planned to invest in leadership training and development. In the spirit of debate, let’s assume the CFO’s point is valid. …


Organized Chaos? 3 Office Improvements for Productivity and Focus

Jen Roberts Balance, Productivity, Stress

Removing clutter and creating a better space can help you improve your focus and productivity. I know this first hand. We all have our own little rituals or quirky behaviors when it comes to what makes us feel in control. Mine is cleaning. When I feel anxious, angry, or otherwise like I’m not as in control as I’d like to be I find solace in Clorox wipes or clearing out a closet. Sometimes I can’t even think or concentrate when I’m distracted by my physical surroundings. While it might sound weird, it actually makes some sense from an energy perspective. Everyone has good days and bad days, energetically speaking. Some days you’re on fire and feel unstoppable and others you might find yourself completely distracted and unable to be productive at all. There is science behind your energetic engagement as you approach any role, goal, or task. Your physical environment …

encourage fun

Encourage Fun in the Workplace: 5 Tips for Leaders

Jen Roberts Engagement, Leadership, Productivity

What words would you use to describe your work environment? My guess is that FUN probably isn’t one of them. It’s called work for a reason, right? Should work also be fun? My vote is yes! Here’s why… You spend as much or more time with your office mates as you do with your significant other, and you wouldn’t stay in that relationship if it didn’t make you happy. Imagine waking up each day and actually looking forward to going into work! Making fun and enjoyment a part of your work culture can drastically impact how you feel about going to work, how you behave when you’re there, how you interact with others, and how well you perform. Happy people are more motivated and engaged. When people have fun and enjoy what they do, they are more motivated to work harder and to put forth their best effort. People who …

taking care of business

Taking Care of Business: The Importance of Time Off

Jen Roberts Engagement, Leadership, Productivity

Recently I did something I rarely do. I took a sick day. I pride myself on being a good listener for my coaching clients, but I guess I haven’t been listening to myself very well lately. For the past few weeks I’ve been pushing myself to keep going despite feeling sick-ish, knowing how much I have to do. Finally, my immune system gave in and I had no choice but to slow down. When is the last time you took a full day off because of an illness? And I’m not talking about just not physically going to work—I mean not working. I’m guessing it’s been a while. That day, I did nothing. And I discovered something… It was difficult to keep myself still and quiet to get the rest I needed to get well. I felt a wide range of emotions: guilt for not working on the myriad things I …

best leadership advice

The Best Leadership Advice You’d Give Your Younger Self—In Two Words

Jen Roberts Balance, Leadership, Productivity

Some people think leaders are born. Others believe (myself included) that leaders are made; shaped by their experiences. They say hindsight is 20/20. Your leadership experiences and observations have likely taught you much over the course of your career. In life and leadership there are probably things you wish you’d known or figured out sooner that would have saved you time and pain along the way. What do you wish you’d known at the start of your leadership career? This is the thing you wished you’d known when you were younger, and would have made your leadership career easier and better. If you could leverage your wisdom to make a change earlier in your life’s trajectory, what advice would you share with your younger self? In a letter to her 20-year-old self, Oprah Winfrey advised, “see yourself with your own eyes.” She claimed her younger self “spent too many days …

Need More Sleep

For A-Game Performance, Leaders Need More Sleep

Jen Roberts Balance, Leadership, Productivity

When was the last time you woke up feeling completely refreshed? If you can’t remember, it’s possible that you’re trading sleep for work, and it’s probably impacting your performance more than you know. Only 59% of Americans sleep seven or more hours a night, according to a recent Gallup poll. Sound like a dream to you? You might be in the 41% who don’t even get the luxury of that much rest. Getting a good night’s sleep is important, yet a good portion of the population ignores common medical advice recommending seven to nine hours of sleep each night. A lack of sleep has been linked to a number of health problems and can cause cognitive impairment. In fact, studies show that performance, when sleep deprived, is similar to performance when under the influence of alcohol. So, if you put in an 80-hour workweek, you might as well be coming to work drunk the last …


5 Tips to Harness the Power of Intention

Jen Roberts Balance, Productivity, Stress

Many people believe that success just happens; it’s the good fortune of some and elusive of others. The most successful people know the truth: Consistent action creates consistent results. And it can’t just be any action. Intention is where it all begins. Success takes intention, clarity, and commitment to proactively creating and practicing the habits that help you stay aligned with your goals. Without intention, your work is unguided and unfocused. You may find that you’re exhausted at the end of the day, but have no real results to show for all your busy-ness. This happens because most people spend their time and energy reacting to things, and much less time proactively creating their experiences. One of the most powerful habits I have built is setting aside focused time to gain clarity about what I choose to do, and setting deliberate intentions to drive my actions. Creating a new habit isn’t as easy as it sounds. …

workplace innovation

The Phrase That Kills Workplace Innovation

Jen Roberts Communication, Leadership, Productivity

The pace of business today requires leaders to readily adapt and willingly embrace change. Yet for many successful leaders, resisting change is one of the biggest obstacles to advancing their own careers and driving their companies forward. Because companies and the leaders within them are often successful, that success can make it difficult to even want to change. After all, leaders usually attribute their success to what they’ve done in the past; their behaviors and choices have worked to get them where they are. The most damaging phrase you’ll hear in your workplace when it comes to embracing change and fostering innovation is, “That’s the way it’s always been done.” My point is this: Just because that is the way it’s always been done, does that mean it’s the right way to approach things today? When was the last time you really questioned the strategies you’ve been taught or have …

results within reach

Results Within Reach: 5 Tips to Overcome Inaction

Jen Roberts Engagement, Leadership, Productivity

There’s a little voice we all hear in our minds. People call it many different things: your conscience, your higher coach, the angel on your shoulder…whatever name you’ve given yours, you know what I mean. The constant dialog is there because our brains are always at work processing information and helping to guide our actions. Usually the message is loudest and has the biggest effect on us when we’re about to do something that we feel is risky…or that we’re afraid of…Or we’re uncertain about…The common denominator is fear. I’ve recently been experiencing some pain in my wrist AND numbness in my foot. I know that I should go to the doctor. But I haven’t. Why? Because I don’t want to hear bad news, or have to stop exercising, or work harder to recover. I’m scared of those things so I’m avoiding taking action that might just help me.  Oftentimes we know what we …

strengthen your team

Predictable Success: Creating Routine to Strengthen Your Team

Jen Roberts Communication, Leadership, Productivity

Would you describe yourself as a consistent leader? For many of us, one of the most difficult parts of leadership is learning to become immune to the ups and downs of a typical workweek. Especially when our natural reaction when tensions run high is to succumb to reactivity and panic. As someone who leads others, it is important that you behave consistently in all types of situations. Consistency is the key to establishing and maintaining trust with your team. If your reactions are unpredictable or if you give conflicting directions, employees might be unwilling or even afraid to approach you. Unpredictable leaders create feelings of fear and nervousness in the people they lead. While you might think it’s motivating to keep the people around you on their toes, creating a work environment full of anxiety is one of the best ways to crush your team’s ability to innovate and create …


Boredom Is Actually Good For You

Jen Roberts Leadership, Productivity

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com. Click here to read the full story. Leadership can include periods of nearly overwhelming activity followed by gulfs of quiet, where you can catch up on paperwork and plan your next move. Sometimes, though, those periods of quiet last a touch long, and boredom sets in, leaving your mind to wander. Saying we’re bored is our unimaginative way of labeling a lack of stimulation. The pace of our world today is astounding, and we’ve gotten addicted to being entertained or busy 24/7 year-round. “Boredom” allows time to quiet the mind and body, and replenish our energy stores. Click here for all Seven Ways Boredom is Actually Good For You, by members of the Forbes Coaches Council. — Want to learn more about managing your energy at work? Click here to schedule a Discovery Call.

More Resilient

How Changing the Way You Think Will Make You More Resilient

Jen Roberts Balance, Productivity, Stress

Truth: stress and adversity can pop up anywhere, any time. Just when you think you have it all under control –BAM!– you get hit with something that derails your best intentions and sends you into a tailspin. Things change, pressure. What you do with that pressure and how to move forward are the keys to success. While we all hit road blocks, there are some people who go about their daily lives seemingly without a worry. What’s their secret to keeping calm while everyone else is struggling to make it through the day? As far as we can tell, it’s pretty simple, really: they’re RESILIENT. Being resilient doesn’t mean you’re immune to stress and problems, it just means you know how to be tough in the face of them and you can bounce back quickly from setbacks. While resilience might come a little more naturally to some people, there are …