How Not to Work Evenings & Weekends

Updated: April 05, 2011

That's certainly an impressive bio. But do you want to know what's most remarkable about Jane Schulte?

She doesn't work evenings and weekends.

"I might log in on my laptop for a minute right when I get home," Schulte said, "but I don't work in the evening unless it's a crisis or some client needs my help and absolutely can't wait."

Imagine that! How can a person accomplish so much, yet do it so efficiently, that she doesn't take work home with her each night?

The answer is time management.

When asked how she can accomplish so much, Schulte gave a lot of reasons - a talented and loyal staff, energy, drive - but she focused mostly on time management.

It wouldn't be fair to say Schulte is obsessed with time management, but she has definitely mastered it in a way very few others have. That discipline has allowed her to excel in many wide-ranging things simultaneously.

Schulte's path to success is kind of old fashioned in that she worked her way through the proverbial "school of hard knocks." She grew up - and still lives - in the northern Kentucky suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio. She started working as a legal secretary in 1981. She was promoted to a real estate paralegal two years later and landed her first management job in 1985. A few short years later, she was an executive. Just recently, she started an additional company, PRISM Business Advisors. She and her husband Greg together have three sons, one of whom works at NASA. The other two are enrolled at the University of Kentucky.

Certainly tenacity and drive mixed with competence and business acumen are important, but more than any other skill, time management is number one.

In fact, when asked what advice she would give a young entrepreneur, Schulte quickly said they should get a handle on their time.

"If you don't control your time, all things are not possible," she said. "I can't stress that enough. I've seen so many people, who could be so much more successful if they weren't so scattered, and they didn't get overwhelmed and bogged down. They become immobilized. There are so many things hitting them, and they don't have any systems in place to take care of that or keep their stress at a manageable level."

The sad thing is that many of these overwhelmed and ultimately burned-out people are full of talent.

"Get a handle on your time, because we only have so much," Schulte said. "In order to be really successful, you have to be able to do more than just one thing. You have to be diversified, flexible and agile enough to go where there are opportunities."

Schulte is so committed to good time management that she authored a how-to book, Work Smart Not Hard: Organizational Tips and Tools That Will Change Your Life. In the book, she describes both strategies and tactics for getting a grip on life's most precious resource.

She preaches the importance of de-cluttering our desks and email in-boxes. She describes her PEND system, which stands for "Put an End to Needless Distraction™. PEND consists of a folder for each day of the month where paper items are strategically filed. She also has an electronic PEND system for emails. She uses Microsoft Outlook's task feature, dual monitors on her desk PC, and takes full advantage of the power offered by smart phones and remote access to office computer databases.

Ultimately, the effective time manager uses all the tools available.

"The idea is ‘don't remember anything,'" Schulte said. "Use your tools and system, so you are free to take care of the task at hand whatever that might be."

There's another tool that is incredibly important: delegation. Accomplishing things through other people is fundamental if you want to succeed and enjoy a fulfilling life. By leveraging the work of others, you multiply your own abilities. In fact, Schulte said delegation is one of best strengths as a leader.

"I've taught a lot of people what I know and what I do," she said. "That way, I can send a lot of projects or parts of projects to other people."

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