Will you get more done by doing less?
I recently read an interesting article by Alex Cavoulacos on wework.com which is an online magazine. The article was called called One founder´s best productivity tricks: save time and do less.
In the article Alex gives some great tips and tricks that really work in todays busy work life. She sets the article up by asking seven powerful questions that encourage you to really look at how you spend your time.
Her seven questions are as follows;
1. Do you say no?
2. Are you delegating enough?
3. Is everything on your to do list necessary?
4. Are all of the recurring meetings in your calendar necessary?
5. For one-off meetings, is your default length too long?
6. Do you even need a meeting at all?
7. Are you a slave to your inbox?
She details constructive ways to improve your productivity while saving time.
I like her article and find it easy to understand as well as informative. It is always refreshing to get new incites from others.
A lot of what she says are the staples I also use in my practice and with my clients when working on time management issues. As in number one where she says “Do you say no? “. So many of my clients come to me with this exact problem. They are unable to effectively decline even when they know that they should. When that happens they become overwhelmed and stressed out causing the workload to not only pile up but seem insurmountable. Being able to say no to assignments, favors or requests is an essential part of managing your time and work life balance.
Her second question ” Are you delegating enough? is a great question. One of the issues a lot of my clients have is that they feel if they do not do the job themselves it wont get done. I can understand why they feel this way however that thought is counterproductive. All of us generally want to do thins right but that does not mean we need to do them. Some of the greatest CEO´s know that delegation is the key to getting more done. This also works in the work world. By delegating projects that you do not find interesting or that you know someone else can do sufficiently you can free up your time to do the things that really require your attention.
Her third question “Is everything on your to do list necessary?” is an essential question to ask because it is so easy to get caught up in the little things. We try to over accomplish, over do and we load ourselves up with tasks that do not really bring us closer to our goals. Not only should you be asking yourself that question but also is my to do list helping me to accomplish the right goals. That said those goals need to be SMART goals. Specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable, and timeset. If we pile on things to our to do list that do not help us to achieve our goals or if we put too many items on our list we are actually working against ourselves. Everyone has things that come up unexpectedly each day and in order to feel and be productive you need to account for that rather than trying to do too much at once and not finishing anything.
The fourth question she wants you to ask is “Are all the meetings on your recurring calendar necessary? Ahh, love that! How many times have you found yourself in a meeting checking your email, posting on Facebook or wasting time? Yep thought so. I have attended countless meetings that could have been avoided by proper planning, delegating and oral communication throughout the day. She mentions the cost versus the value of the meeting which I am so happy about because it is often an overlooked factor in business expenses. A lot of times businesses save the pennies but spend the dollars. This is common in daily life as well.
Have you ever heard of having standing meetings? Have you ever brainstormed in a time crunch and had great results? Her question “For one-off meetings, is your default length too long?” is about that very situation. During my practice I have heard of countless situations where clients experience situations that are long drawn out conversations that go on endlessly when getting to the point would be more effective. It makes a big difference when the persons involved in the meeting get to the point. I run an internship program in the summer and have had to teach the interns to be exact, concise and specific, only reporting what is truly necessary because as we all know time is money. Protect your time and help others to protect theirs to.
Number six was “Do you even need a meeting at all?” Good question. Meetings are often unnecessary and waist time. Before you agree to a meeting make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to get out of it and make sure to evaluate if it is needed. Could you close the issue with a phone call or a quick conversation? Think about it. It is your responsibility to make sure the meeting is worth your precious time.
Last but not least is number seven “Are you a slave to your inbox?” I guess I come from the old school where picking up the phone was just the way we did it. I have noticed that in companies it is the norm to send countless emails that need to be answered and kept track of. The time between the question and the answer is often so long that it either not relevant anymore or has become a distant memory. Try picking up the phone and dealing with the matter immediately or walking over to the individual and communicating with them. You might just save yourself some time.
The conclusion is that this article certainly has some great points which would benefit everyone.
If you are interested in reading the article here is the link.
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If you need help becoming more productive contact me for a free consultation to see if you are a good candidate for coaching.