First, don’t complain about it. Not to your boss. Not to your fellow workers. Not to your spouse. And not to anyone else. Instead, take charge of your own schedule.
Take an inventory of the work you are assigned over a week’s time and sort the tasks into four groups:
Figure out how much time you are devoting to each category. Make sure that 80% of your time is devoted to important tasks. If it’s not, promise yourself that you will make adjustments.
Recognize that you can’t focus on more than five significant tasks at a time. If there are more than five big tasks on your plate, make yourself a promise to do something about it.
Make an appointment with your boss and show him the list of tasks you’ve been given. Have five of those tasks highlighted. Say, “I’ve identified all the projects I’m working on now and have highlighted five that I believe are the most important. Can you look over the list and tell me if you think I’m right in planning to spend most of my time focusing on them?”
What I see in many consulting assignments is that people really have too much to do, but their failure to have SOME method of organizing their tasks kills them. Also, I find people are unwilling to invest time in solving an issue, to minimize its recurring negative effects. For instance, they won’t take an hour to reorganize their files, so they spend one extra minute per day finding things. They genuinely feel that they don’t have the hour, so they spend one minute per day for the REST OF THEIR LIFE. Think about that math. By taking the time to solve a root problem, you really can “recover” extra time, even hours, per day, which then allows you to be more productive and happy.
A real life example? I save a template for writing these articles every month, rather than recreating it. Also, I typically write three articles at a time. The editors love it as my stuff is usually early. I love it because I don’t stress at the last minute. I can write three articles in an hour or two, and I know if I stop at the end of the month to write one, it takes at least an hour to do just one so I save one hour each quarter. It may not seem like a lot, but when you apply that to lots of tasks, you will increase your productivity with the “found” time. I also put an alarm in my palm reminding me when it’s time to write three more.
Remember only you can make business great!
Ron Sturgeon, business owner, consultant and peer bench marketing leader, combines over 35 years of entrepreneurship with an extensive resume in consulting, keynote speaking and business writing. Ron can be reached at 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117, 817-834-3625 or by email at rons@MrMissonPossible.com.