Are You Working Too Many Hours?
By Drue Lawlor, FASID
Director of Coaching, Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting & Design Success University
“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.”
Would you like to get more done while working less hours? Try these 5 suggestions for a month and then evaluate your results.
- Get it out of your head and down on paper – The many thoughts swirling around in our brains take up too much space and time! Get them down on paper – identify those projects that involve getting you closer to your goals and estimate the approximate time and resources needed to get those projects done. Then block them on your calendar.
- Become “intentional” with your calendar – We only have 24 hours each day, no matter how you may try to stretch it, so why let “other people’s priorities” dictate your calendar or are you intentional in how those hours are used? Spend a short time calendaring your days with blocks of time with specific goals in mind. Imagine the feeling of accomplishment at the end of a day having completed everything on your calendar for that day and possibly with time left over!
- Pareto’s 80/20 Principle – Most of us have heard of the 80/20 rule – 20% of your actions are responsible for 80% of your results. What if you cut out 80% of the time you are currently spending and identify and focus on the “20% tasks” that produce the best financial results for your business. Then immediately identify what you will stop doing (part of that 80%) and be firm about this. This might involve a combination of eliminating some of the unnecessary items you are doing (checking emails/texts, phone messages throughout the day rather than once or twice a day) and hiring someone to do some of the 80% that you do not have to do.
- Managing your time – How often are you frustrated that you never complete your “to do” list? Maybe you have too many things on that list. Identify your 3 top priorities each day and get those 3 key items done. Then you will be able to use the remainder of the day on additional projects. Think about incorporating a bit of that time daily for fun and relaxation – even if it’s just a walk around the block. You may be surprised to find it stimulates your creative brain and you will come up with that design solution or answer to some challenge with which you have been wrestling. Do you allow yourself “thinking” time each day? If not, incorporate that into your daily calendar.
- Aiming for excellence – not perfection – Perfection is highly overrated, can often be a time waster, will be frustrating to yourself as well as others and can block you from excellence. Aim for excellence rather than focusing on the paralysis of perfectionism. A quote from an article I came across is a great reminder to post by your desk: “Perfection fears failure. Excellence embraces opportunities for growth.”
Finally, remember the advice of Peter Drucker: “Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.”