If James Brown was "the hardest working man in show business", then it may be fitting to give Michael (Mike) Dominguez the title of “the hardest working man in the meetings business”. We chat to Mike to find out how he does it.
Mike is a successful meetings industry professional who seems to be able to fit everything into his schedule. He dedicates time to volunteer leadership roles in industry associations where he mentors staff and volunteers, participates in a wide variety of events and most importantly stays on top of his business and the industry.
So, how does he do it?
A typical day at the office
Mike usually gets up at 6am and says, “making my coffee at home is a routine that gets me in game mode and allows my mind to prepare for the day.”
His working day is planned around interactions with the (U.S.) East Coast (Mike is based in ?). Calls take place early in the morning or on the journey to work when necessary. The first meetings of the day revolve around team members, direct reports, customers and then everything else. Face-to-face meetings take place throughout the day.
He eats breakfast on the way to work and lunch is usually eaten during meetings. Mike finds this a great use of time and tries to never eat alone. He walks everywhere he can and stands when working on emails because “sitting is the smoking of the 21st Century.”
Most work days end by 6:30pm and his evenings usually involve watching mindless TV with his wife, their own unwinding ritual.
Mike doesn’t have a lot of downtime from 7am to 7pm. He stays focused, moves at a fast pace and works in “buckets” (one topic or reporting structure at a time). He is responsible for a lot of moving pieces but doesn’t multitask and works in one bucket at a time. “Most urgent first. If it can wait then it can wait.” He always schedules weekly “thinking time” that is crucial to planning and pulling together strategies.
Mike tries to have the best available data and good visibility of the issue to make intelligent business decisions. He also carefully considers the implications of each decision. Who will this impact? What ripples cannot be seen at the moment? What is the biggest downside?
Dealing with email
Mike receives 200 emails a day on average. He has specific folders for most as well as “to print" and “to follow” folders. This allows him to move out of his general inbox and follow up later if not critical. He also has messages from his boss automatically flagged as priorities. “Always make your boss’ priority your priority”.
Staying efficient on the road
On the road he recommends, “get through the emails during the day and use plane time wisely”. For Mike, flying is great catch up time and in the evening he often excuses himself early so that he can continue working. “I don't have many late nights on the road.”
Work life balance
In Mike’s view “there is no such thing; there’s something called choices”. Mike checks out on weekends and when he’s at a home. That‘s his downtime. Weekends are important and so is his family. “I remind everyone, this is my job not my life”. That’s an important lesson to learn early.
What Mike still needs to work on
“Saying no! This is a must from a time management standpoint”.