Discover more from How to Lead Everybody (with their permission)
Word of the Day
What time-wasting activities can suck away hours from your workday with nothing to show for it?
For me, it’s email. I get about 200-300 emails every day. If I read every one of them as they came in, I’d have no time left for, you know, work.
Consider reviewing your inbox for time-sensitive items and doing a read-&-respond to those in short blocks—I recommend first thing in the morning, after lunch, and before closing things out at the end of the day. Turn off the pop-up notifications that can pull focus when you are trying to concentrate. I still need to read emails, but I can do it in a way that minimizes the time-suck factor.
Meetings can be very effective for many teams, but there are two things that can turn them into time-wasting exercises:
“I don’t need to be here for this part.” Consider focused sub-groups for specific tasks or projects. Some meetings DO need to include everyone from the team. However, too often, the entire team in in the Teams or Zoom call or in the conference room for 60-90 minutes, and only about 10 minutes of that meeting involved their portions of the projects. Have a short full-team meeting for the full-team items, and then set the remaining sub-group meetings for the right mini-groups of people who actually need to be part of them. As the leader, you might still need to be in all or most of those, but you can free up more billable hours for all of your people, and those add up.
“What’s even the point of this meeting?” Discussions can veer off onto tangents or ramble with ineffectual discussions if there is no reason for or structure to the meeting. That wastes everyone’s time. Instead, try to have an agenda or meeting plan—what are you trying to accomplish or decide in the meeting? If there is no purpose, then there shouldn’t even be a meeting. If it’s just a one-way sharing of information, that’s the fabled “this meeting could have been an email” situation—send them an email instead. For interactive meetings with a purpose, let your people know what the topics are in advance and what decisions are going to be made in each meeting, so that they can be prepared. Even introverts will speak up if they are given prep-time. Meetings will run more quickly, smoothly, and productively if you give them some structure.
If there are other tasks that take time during your day but seem to have no benefit, re-evaluate them. Is it something that actually needs to be done? It is something that can be batched into short bursts, like the email example above? Is it something that can be delegated to someone who might enjoy it more, or needs to learn how to do it, or who might be more productive with the task than we are?
We all can find ways to use our time more productively.
(image source: https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=5850400578411695&set=a.337906762994465)
Thanks for reading How to Lead Everybody (with their permission)! Subscribe for FREE to receive new posts in your inbox every weekday.