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Denim Simkins

Denim Simkins Director, Fixed Ops

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Life as a Service Manager: Structure your day properly for success

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In my current work capacity, I have the opportunity to interact with multiple vendor partners that service the automotive industry. We are continuously discussing activities that would promote the engagement from service managers to use the innovative tools that would help solve current industry deficiencies. The feedback from the vendor partners to me is typically that the service manager is extremely busy and has a lot going on. This causes the commitment to using the performance-enhancing tool more of an obligation. After many years in the service manager’s seat, I understand how busy and hectic the day-to-day business is and it takes exceptional skill to structure your day to work on the business instead of within the business. Great leaders do this at an exceptional level and it allows them to visualize, plan and execute their strategy. Recently, I came across a great article that made several great points on what productive people do within the first fifteen minutes of their day to be successful. I will review a few of these that I feel directly applies to the position. The article in its entirety can be read on the following link on Lifehack.org http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/14-things-productive-people-the-first-15-minutes-the-workday.html

On time is 15 minutes early – Be early to work and use this time to collect yourself for the day.  Instead of rushing to work anxiously and hoping to be on time, they plan ahead and stroll into work calmly. This sets the tone for the day.

Review your to-do list and deadlines – By reviewing your to-do list at the beginning of the day allows you to strategize and plan ahead. This will allow you to prioritize deadlines, meetings and future commitments.

Identify no more than 3 important tasks for the day – Leo Babauta, founder of the productivity blog Zen Habits, also sets himself 3 most important tasks (MIT’s) each morning to move himself forward. This is very critical in the service manager’s role as your task list can grow faster than you can finish them. The point is to work on it and cross 3 off the list every day to make progress.

Reduce or remove the distractions – By putting your phone on silent, not checking your personal email first thing in the morning will allow you focus and not have your schedule dictated by the chime of incoming messages.

The service manager/service director job can be very demanding and using a few known tricks to coordinate your thoughts and activities will allow you to execute a flawless gameplan.

Marc Bellacosa
Great points Denim! I find that over the 20 or so years of doing this, your first bullet point is the most important. Being there at least 15 minutes early let's your employees know you are there for them on the drive if they need you. Just being present, acting as a buffer to slow the rush down, or even an emergency shuttle driver earns their respect for you and makes everybody feel part of of the team.
Steve Tuschen
I agree as well. You have to be engaged with your people and you have to set your schedule so you can do that multiple times throughout the day not just when passing on to the next task. I have a hard bound binder with lined sheets and I keep track of everyone I talk with on the phone, make my notes it maybe one page one day and several others. As I finish the tasks I check mark them so I know they are done. At the end of each day I transfer the ones I need onto the next day, this way I prioritize those I need and make sure I didn't forget anyone through the day. To me it is also a mental accomplishment that I have completed everything for the day, and when I come in I don't have to dwell on yesterday but can look forward to today, but I have a log if I need to refer back. It also allows me to jot down who I am going to connect with within my department, it looks random but it makes sure I stay engaged or if someone is struggling I can continue to make the extra visit with those people in need.
Denim Simkins
@marc and @steve you guys have the toughest job out there. With that being said it is also the most rewarding. Taking a few moments to yourself and coordinating your thoughts will allow you to be more organized that will give you more time to build and nurture your team. Thanks guys for the additional comments

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