How to Find Time to Do the Real Work
By Sandy Schroeder
Often daily work gets swallowed up with time-consuming routine tasks, but what if some of those tasks disappeared and key employees gained 20 percent more free time to do the work that matters?
Researchers have studied productivity and found many key leaders and managers spend 41 percent of their time on tasks that could be handled by others. They said this work flow could be changed if these key workers really looked at how they spend their day, identified important tasks, and dropped or outsourced the rest.
One sales manager cut her routine administrative tasks by six hours a week and used that time to coach her team. They generated a 5 percent increase in sales in six weeks, according to the Harvard Business Review.
Take Steps to Change the Flow
Here are three ways to make more time to do the tasks that matter.
Pinpoint Less Important Tasks
Look at your daily activities and decide which ones are not that important, and fairly easy to drop, delegate or outsource. You may find as much as 10 hours out of the week are being absorbed, sorting documents or following up on small details that could be handled by other people.
Make Delegate, Reassign or Drop Decisions
Start putting less important tasks into these three categories:
- Ones to offload
- Ones to reassign
- Ones to drop
The act of sorting will help you see what’s really going on and how much of the details can be better handled. Many people start saying no in the future when asked to add new low-value tasks.
Follow Through with Off-Loading
Many leaders found it hard to let go of some of the tasks, but when they actually did they often delegated as much as 20 percent of their work load with no decline in overall team productivity.
Every job is different, but we all understand how key efforts and decisions can make the difference in average progress and exciting advances. I have seen some groups plod along until a new leader arrived and provided the firepower to engage and stimulate the work.
If you believe you have the energy and creativity to make more things happen in your company, this may be the time to let go of some of the routine tasks to do just that.
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