By Neal Glatt
I’ll be honest - I wrote this blog in advance because I'm on vacation today. All week, in fact. I hope you are too. But maybe you’re not. Maybe this summer feels like an endless grind that you simply can’t escape because of demanding customers, short staff, and a lack of experienced or talented people. Here’s how to stop being so busy.
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To start, question everything on the to-do list. Everyone has heard that 80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts, but hardly anyone bothers to eliminate most of the stuff they do. When we stop to question the value of activities that bog us down daily, it immediately becomes clear that there are plenty of unimportant things that can easily be cut because they don’t move the needle in terms of outcome.
I try to consider my tasks every quarter. At that time, anything that hasn’t meaningfully contributed to my actual success or has taken more than three times as long as something else that did gets eliminated from my routine. Most importantly, I try to turn down as many non-important new habits as possible to maintain minimum work obligations.
Next, question how urgent activities are. Sometimes, things have to be done right away. But not usually. Usually, what people feel is really urgent can actually be slowed down dramatically. By extending a timeline, work can often be delegated to others or outsourced entirely. This takes more time, but it takes less of our time than doing the task once systems are established and people are trained. Making this investment to delegate reaps an immense return on time.
My benchmark for delegating a task is when someone can do it 70% as well as I could, regardless of the time required, the task gets delegated. I’m unafraid to have someone else try something and fail because the reality is most things are low-risk and recovering from mistakes can actually lead to higher customer satisfaction. Delegating doesn’t mean ignoring, and it often takes as much if not more time the first time a task is delegated, but it is an investment in the future of efficiency.
Of course, getting to the next level requires a sacrifice. If you’re feeling too busy right now, you need to sacrifice something on your list or commit even more time to get past the wall. Would it be worth three hours of your time to learn to manage time more effectively? If you’re frustrated about always feeling under the gun on deadlines, angry you aren’t on vacation right now, or worried about your long-term health from all the stress, then you should make the commitment to take our course on Effective Time Management. If you do, I’m sure you’ll enjoy your new-found freedom from business!
Tags: Success , Time Management , Busy ,