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How You Can Make Time for Work that Really Matters

 

Wouldn’t it be nice to have 25 hours in the day?

The fact is that we often say we wish there was more time in the day, but what we’re really saying is that we wished we had less to do. Now here’s the good news: the average person can actually free up nearly 90 minutes of time on an 8-hour work day just by setting realistic and rigid priorities.

This is because our days are often filled with an emphasis on “being busy” instead of an emphasis on “being productive.”

So here’s what I’ve found can be done to make sure there is enough time for the work that really matters, which will help us all become less busy and more productive every day.

#1. Identify all of your low-value tasks.

Nearly 25% of the tasks you perform at work are either going to be relatively easy to stop doing or aren’t really important to the future of your company or your position. Something as simple as dropping a needless meeting can free up 1-3 hours in your weekly schedule instantly. You might also be too involved in the daily details of a project, wasting time by sorting documents, or bogged down in other routine administrative tasks that may not even need to be completed.

#2. Make sure you’re not being a martyr.

If it seems like you’re too busy at work, then there’s a good chance that you’ve chosen to be this way. There are ways that you can lessen your workloads, even if there are tasks that rise above low-value status. You may be able to delegate these tasks to other members of your team if you cannot drop them completely. It may also be possible to restructure how that work is being completed so you can become more efficient at it.

#3. Find a way to let the worries fade away.

One of the biggest struggles we all face in terms of delegation is fear. Because we’re letting other people finish the tasks for us, we’re essentially vouching for that person. My first issues with delegation certainly hovered around this. Yet at the end of the day, when I could get past worrying about the tasks I’d delegated, I learned that developing an entire team is just as important as learning when to delegate.

#4. Use your new free time wisely.

The first time I had freed up my schedule enough where I had an extra 30 minutes, I just sat behind my desk and did nothing. I unplugged my phone, put my feet up, and enjoyed the silence. That was useful for one day, but it wouldn’t make me productive from a long-term perspective. When you’ve got extra time, make a list of the things you should be doing, but are not. Then keep a log of what you do during your free time to make sure you’re remaining productive.

#5. Commit to your plan.

None of this is going to work unless you stay committed to the goal of making time for work that really matters. You can’t go back to being a martyr. You must keep delegating. You must take advantage of the free time you have. You must look to the future instead of worrying about the past. Not every day will be easy – I can vouch for that – but there is the potential to be rewarded with more time every day.

Stop being busy. Start being productive. That way you can enjoy all 24 hours that we have in the day.

What has been your biggest struggle in making time for the work that really matters? I’d love to hear how you were able to overcome these challenges.

Why Are So Many People Quitting Their Jobs?

 

Many companies are experiencing higher-than-normal turnover rates these days. Job satisfaction in some industries are at all-time lows. We also live in an area where employer monitoring of employees is at an all-time high. Accidentally click on an email that takes you to your LinkedIn profile and you might find yourself having a conversation about your workplace happiness.

Employers have a right to be concerned about high turnover rates. The costs of training new employees are much greater than the cost of maintaining the current work force. Instead of creating Big Brother scenarios that make good people want to leave their job, however, some are looking to actually answer this very important question.

Why are so many people quitting their jobs?

And the answer, it turns out, is pretty simple: dissatisfaction.

Dissatisfaction with the Boss: The #1 Issue

Most people have had at least one bad boss in their life. It’s the one person who is always looking over your shoulder, telling you everything that you do wrong, and then takes credit for all of the hard work that you do. Employers are finding out that employees aren’t quitting jobs. They’re quitting bosses.

To stop this issue, a multi-faceted approach is being implemented. Ongoing educational opportunities for entry-level and mid-level managers is becoming mandatory. Larger companies are also tracking employee behavioral patterns through ID swipes or building entries/exits to determine if someone could be interviewing for a new job. If those patterns are positive, then a closer look at that employee’s boss happens to make sure the supervisor isn’t the cause of losing a great employee.

The Problem of Employee Undervaluation

“It’s 2008. Our economy is in the gutter. We need to be lean and mean.”

It’s something many companies told their employees nearly a decade ago. It made sense then. Unfortunately, some employees haven’t seen a raise since then. Others have had to endure pay cuts or benefit reductions. Fewer people are doing the same work and it leads to burnout.

“If you don’t want this job, there are a dozen people who will take it in a heartbeat.”

Undervaluation in certain positions is another reason why good people are quitting in droves. Telling people that they are expendable only increases the chances of someone quitting. This is why internal recruiters within some companies have started to contact employees directly to let them know of new job openings that may have better hours, better pay, or both.

Credit Suisse starting doing this and estimates it has saved over $100 million in rehiring and training costs.

Avoiding the Counteroffer Scenario Completely

So maybe you found something great when you accidentally clicked on that link to LinkedIn. You got a pretty great offer. You decide you’re going to accept it, but then as you tell your boss that you’re quitting, they agree to beat that offer you were given by 10%. What do you do?

If you’re like half of the people in this type of scenario, you’ll take the counteroffer and then wind up quitting in 12 months or less.

For this reason, employers are being more proactive about identifying their best talent. Those people who are always going above and beyond expectations. Then they are offering them something to recognize that offer – a raise, a couple extra vacation days, or flexible scheduling are popular options.

Why? Because recognizing the extra effort is also a reward for that employee. Add in the perks and the appreciation offered becomes the chance to build loyalty with that employee.

Sometimes people quit jobs because they need to move or the circumstances of their life has changed. Employers can’t really do anything about those employees leaving. When there is dissatisfaction present, however, then employers can and should do something. The evidence is clear: when an employer is proactive about keeping their best people, then turnover rates can be lowered.

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