Stop the Insanity

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:35 pm

More, better, faster. In today’s highly competitive world, busy professionals need to create habits that support the achievement of greater levels of performance and effectiveness in both their work and personal lives.

This sounds impossible doesn’t it?

For many people, it seems like life is progressing at an increasingly accelerated pace, while others seem to have the perfect work and personal life balance achieving a high degree of productivity and effectiveness. While we may not be able to control the volume and pace of our work, the most effective professionals recognize that how they organize their work and schedule greatly impacts their productivity and effectiveness.

Corporate and personal habits make the

difference

This is a key point. It’s important to understand that we behave our way into success and/or failure.

Our personal habits and behaviors will enable or disable our ability to reach greater levels of productivity, effectiveness and overall success. Let’s take myself for an example. Early in my career, I was very reactive to my surroundings. I would drop whatever I was doing in order to attain a level of hyper-responsiveness to the needs of employees, clients and vendors. Little did I know that I was killing my productivity and overall effectiveness. I had unwittingly given up control over my schedule and didn’t even realize it. I enabled my employees, clients and vendors to control my schedule and ultimately my productivity and overall effectiveness.

A change in my life came when I finally acknowledged my own inefficiencies and created a modified work schedule that enabled a higher level of overall effectiveness in responding to the needs of our employees, clients and vendors.

Assess your situation

It’s time to control your schedule, instead of allowing your schedule to control you. When assessing your own personal work habits and work structure, start by identifying the following:

• Identify the things outside of your control.

• Identify the things within your control.

• Identify your most important priorities.

• Identify your momentum killers (interruptions, responding to e-mails, voice mails, etc.).

• Identify the inefficiencies consistently disabling your productivity and effectiveness.

Once you’ve identified your priorities and the inefficiencies in how you approach a typical work week, it’s time to make some adjustments.

Create a weekly structure that supports success

When creating a weekly time structure that supports your productivity and efficiency goals, be sure this structure is a repeatable process that can be duplicated week after week, ultimately creating momentum in your work life.

The attached illustration shows how one business owner, who was struggling with achieving the right level of productivity while maintaining the correct work and personal life balance, created structure to his work life.

Piled higher and deeper was how he felt about his work life. With overall P&L responsibility along with sales and marketing, it was important that this busy professional create a structure that enabled him to achieve momentum each and every day. For him, this meant organizing his work so he was focused on completing similar activities in a given day, as opposed to time slicing each and every day with a myriad of dissimilar activities.

When he assessed how he had approached a typical work day, he found he was living in a continuous start-stop mode. For instance, he’d come into the office before 7 a.m. on most days, do a little admin, write a letter or two, check e-mail and call a client or prospect, all before 8 a.m. By 8:15 a.m., he was out the door on his way to an appointment. Back in the office by 11 a.m., and into a couple of spontaneous meetings, checking e-mail, voice mail and out the door at 11:40 a.m. to attend a lunch meeting.

Again back in the office by 1:45 p.m., on the phone for an hour and into an internal 3 p.m. meeting. Paperwork, e-mails and voice mails, etc. occupied the balance of the day until 6 p.m. This was his daily schedule five days a week.

Focusing on too many different types of activities each and every day disabled his ability to be effective. Having a consistent approach that provided himself with focused time on similar activities created great momentum in his work life. Just by restructuring his weekly schedule, he changed his life within 12 months. He increased his individual productivity and effectiveness dramatically. His success enabled him to increase his total compensation by 25 percent in a single year, while moving to a four-day work week.

Overcoming the

obstacles

This is a tough concept for many people to embrace. In fact, too many people immediately disregard this approach to managing their work schedule, probably because they are stuck in a rut and also stuck inside their old paradigms. We are conditioned to think that when the phone rings, we must pick it up. When a colleague calls with a question we are conditioned to think that we must respond immediately, instead of at the end of the day.

Developing an organized approach to how your work week is structured enables you to better manage distractions, interruptions and, ultimately, workflow. This doesn’t mean you are providing a lesser level of support. It probably means you are communicating better so that people understand how you’ve organized yourself enabling you to provide a greatly enhanced level of responsiveness.

If you feel your schedule is managing you, instead of the other way around, try creating a revised structure/approach to your work life. In the following worksheet, create a weekly schedule (or weekly structure) that you believe will support the improvement of overall productivity and effectiveness in both your work and personal lives.

Philip Mydlach is the owner of Mydlach Management Advisors, a corporate planning and performance improvement practice in Waukesha. He can be reached at (262) 662-4646 or pmydlach@aol.com.

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