By Friday of every week, my desk (well, now my dining room table, because, well yeah, COVID-19) is littered with florescent colored Post-it notes. Scribbled on them are lists of things I need to do. Some of them have completed items crossed out, while others have items that are circled aggressively several times as a reminder that it is a really important task that I still need to finish.
At the end of the day on Friday, I look at the rainbow explosion of Post-its to assess what I have finished and what I'll need to complete the following week. This often leads to the feeling of having too much to do and not enough time to do it.
The feeling of having too much to do in both our professional and personal lives is overwhelming, no matter how well we organize. No matter what form of organization you use, isn’t that feeling euphoric when you finally cross something off that you’ve completed?!
But sometimes just one of many tasks being finished isn’t enough. And no matter what we cross off we still have too much to do. In one sense, no amount of organization will ensure we do the things that matter most.
I think we can all agree that time is money. Where the problem lies is how we interpret this.
Generally speaking, we see time as a valuable resource, and because of that, we tend to think it's better to do all the things and do those things as quickly as possible. We try to squeeze in as much as we can during our day, which means we often end up cutting corners to get things done.
And a lot of times we’re doing it this way just to be able to cross those tasks off a list, fully knowing that maybe we didn’t do our best in the way we completed them. But hey – you got to throw away your Post-it note, right?! Winning!!! Or not so much?
Yeah, maybe that crumple of the Post-it or cross off the list was satisfying, but what if we thought about “time is money” a little differently?
Instead of just trying to get everything done, what if we think about whether we’re doing the right things, and how much time it takes to do them. Are there things we're doing that really aren’t that important and aren’t adding value to our organization or our day?
Maybe you’re doing these tasks because that’s how they have been done “forever.” In reality, maybe some of them are actually value deficient – they don’t add value to you or your organization. What if you could remove these tasks from your daily lists and just not do them at all without any real consequence? Instantaneously, you have more time to tackle those items that truly bring value to your organization or day.
And as a bonus, because you have more time, you can put the effort into them that they have always deserved and never received. You no longer have to half-heartily complete the things that really matter most. Just think, it you are able to eliminate recurring efforts that add little value (weekly or monthly activities, or whole programs), you reap significant extra time because, like investments with interest, it compounds over time.
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
Imagine not only being able to truly prioritize your tasks every day, but also understanding the level of effort to complete them.
With understanding the importance of the tasks and the time it takes to complete them, you now have a value to “cost” ratio. Are you spending tons of time on things that really have minimal value or importance to your organization? Are you not spending as much time on the really impactful ones?
By looking at the Value Return on Investment (VROI) on the things you do every day, you can begin to assess which of those you can remove from your day. And if you can’t remove them, maybe you can see how you can reduce the time you spend on them.
All that earned time back can go into making your day more productive and meaningful!
If there was ever a time to reassess how we do things and make changes, NOW is the time.
We find ourselves in unprecedented times. We are seeing more clearly now what adds value to our lives professionally and personally and what is just taking up unnecessary time and actually decreasing value from our days.
This is our chance. Let’s make the most of it so that when our heads hit our pillows each night, we feel accomplished and know that our precious time was not wasted, and we did something great! Time really is money.
Do you have a similar question that needs addressing? We’d love to help you change the way you’re viewing your problem by incorporating Decision Lens methodologies! Please reach out to a member of the Decision Lens team today - we’d love to chat with you!