What is your time management style?

Less than 10% of executives are “very satisfied” with how they spend their time at work.

Said otherwise, over 90% of executives are unhappy with how they spend their time! Many of them admit to chronic procrastination and wasting time.

That’s the pathetic result of a worldwide analysis of 1,500 executives by McKinsey and Co., a consulting firm.

Aaron De Smet, Senior Partner at McKinsey, notices that his executives are pretty evenly distributed among four styles of time management: the Online Junkie, the Schmoozer, the Cheerleader, and the Firefighter.

Which type are you?
The Online Junkie

As you can imagine, online junkies spend most of their time in the digital world.
About 40% of their time is spent in “asynchronous communication,” which means delayed communication via email, phone, and voice mail.

So it feels like they are in constant contact with teammates when in reality, they don’t spend enough time actually managing their team.

The problem: delayed communication is never as good as mingling & talking with colleagues in the trenches.

The solution: spend more time on face-to-face communication.

The Schmoozer

Schmoozers are quite the opposite.

These total extraverts actually enjoy meeting new people and talking to them. Even better, they are energized by such interactions. They also love meetings!

Ironically, they feel “plugged in,” while others feel it’s difficult to get in touch with them.

The problem: they don’t have enough quiet “me” time to plan and strategize.

The solution: block time to brainstorm. Also, spend quality, productive, face-to-face time with direct reports.

The Cheerleader

Cheerleaders are great with employees. They spend over half of their time in group or one-on-one meetings, where they lead, motivate and inspire.

The problem: they spend too much time delivering pep talks, solving problems, and achieving goals. They don’t have enough time to work with clients, communicate with business partners, or set a broad strategic direction.

The solution: less time spent on pep talks and more time spent dealing with business challenges.

The Firefighter

Firefighters are constantly interrupted by emergencies, crises, and unexpected issues. So they constantly have to cancel meetings and postpone “real work.” Their schedule is in shambles.

This sounds all-too-familiar in the veterinary world. Sometimes, crises and emergencies seem like they’re our way of life.

When all decisions escalate to managers, supervisors, and owners, it’s tough to focus on the bigger picture.

The problem: too many interruptions. Not enough time to spend alone.

The solution: more time should be dedicated to long-term goals, strategy and team communication.


You may have noticed two common issues in the above descriptions:

  • Bad habits acquired over years of being “stuck” in a role.
  • Personal preferences based on what energizes people and gives them a sense of importance.

However, sometimes, it’s not really the person’s fault. It’s the employer’s responsibility. Or it’s how the business/practice/organization is set up.

Most companies write nice job descriptions, set lofty goals and define responsibilities. Yet very few provide any advice on what effective time management actually means.

These two issues apply to vet med just the same.

The issue is not just better time management for individuals. The solution also requires more clarity within organizations, to explain who should be spending how much time on what activities.

This would be a great topic to discuss at your next management meeting.

If you would like to learn how Chronos can help you and your team regain time and sanity, reach out to us. Simply click on the Discovery Call button above or visit ChronosVet.com.

Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS, CVJ, Fear Free certified

Co-Founder of Chronos LLC