Majority of our workday time is consumed on discretionary tasks that offer little personal satisfaction and could be handed competently by others. This would include things like administrative works and pointless meetings.
Among common quotes I heard is “Why do it yourself, if other can do it better & faster‘. Although logically it would make sense and easy to off-load or delegate some of this works, or at least to me, it sometime hard to do. Among the reason I believe include
- Typically, most of us feel bad off-loading work.
- We don’t want to let our colleague / employers down.
- we worried our support staff won’t be able to do it as well as we can.
- Frankly, we want to feel & look busy even if its with mundane tasks.
But to be truly and fully productive & successful at work, you have to focus on your most important task, to re-think and prioritize your activities, delegating or outsourcing anything that fall below the bar (I referring to your own standard of critical tasks).
In order to help me maximize my time usage, I just remember this 5-steps process (Identify > Decide > Off-load > Allocate > Commit).
- IDENTIFY – Some might resort to time diary to clearly identify their daily time consumption rate ( i don’t have the time luxury to actually do this). However, it can easily done by identifying low value added task in your daily routine. For example, ask yourself, it is really necessary to spend so much time beautifying that presentation? Isn’t there anyone else whom can do that for you?
- DECIDE – Once your identified your tasks, decide whether to drop, delegate, our-source or redesign your tasks.
- OFF-LOAD – Pass or delegate 20% of your work to colleague / employee / support staff with no decline in productivity / quality. This would not only free-up your valuable time but also would be seen as empowering your colleague / employee / support staff.
- ALLOCATE – Allocate your free-up time carefully. Fill your free-up time with business critical work. Also you might consider to list your business critical work based on priorities and urgency.
- COMMIT – Commit to your plan by sharing it with your boss / employer/colleague.
One additional note, in order to guide you through your 5-step process, you might consider using YOUR GOAL as a guide.
- It helps you to gain a sense of direction for you & your team.
- Devote less energy and valuable time to non-critical tasks.
- Increase your job motivation & satisfaction.