A couple of years ago I built a campaign for the City of West Hollywood to highlight the non stop night life and daytime attractions. The campaign was called “24 hrs isn’t enough”
My blogging appears to be suffering from the same issue, with days (and early mornings and early evenings) being filled with work, a couple of hours of a commute, and evenings of ‘other projects’ including my auto body repair site Instant Estimator.
Seems most people (family, colleagues and friends) I know are also juggling available time with an excess of things to fill it with, so it’s no surprise that clients also appear to be suffering from the same issue, especially during these challenging economic times.
With workforce reductions, smaller budgets and increasing pressure to deliver, many clients are faced with more deliverables and less time, resources, money and internal expertise to deliver them.
Resetting client expectations isn’t always practical, especially when there’s internal pressure to deliver more.
Here’s a few thoughts on how individuals can do more with less.
1. Keep a ‘wish list’ – make notes on it as things happen of things you want, need or are asked to do.
2. Keep a ‘to do’ list – Only add to it two or three times a day. Use your wish list and filter everything for “does it really need to get done?” or “this definitely needs to be done” or “this is a whim I can live without being done”
3. Keep a calendar – Mark a date next to your “to do” and ensure that each day has a number of “to dos” to be done.
4. Prioritize – Really all the items above are about priority. Take a look at your calendar and shuffle things around based on need vs want vs desire. Need means it must get done. Want is it should be done at some time. Desire means it’s emotional as opposed to need or want – so if you find some time it may get done…
5. Delegate – Look at your prioritized list and honestly divide to dos amongst your available resources. Honesty is key here, and I tend to use “The Bus Rule”
The Bus Rule – If I got run down by a bus today, who would most likely be given this task to complete, who would it fall to without assignment, and who would do the best job at it as I’m laying under the rear tyre?
If there’s no one to delegate to, work to “The Entrepreneur Rule”
The Entrepreneur Rule – If this was my business, what would I need to get done to make or save me money today? If this is my business, what would a client need me to deliver to make or save them money today?
6. Hire – I know at least three companies that died because they had too much work. Yep, the worst thing any company can do is work its employees or owners into the ground. Before a company with too much business dies, hire someone to help. Interns are a good source of enthusiastic (good) work ethic – take some time to hire the good ones, ones who are going back to school or have big ideas of what and where they want to be. Be sensible, and if your business model allows, give all employees a small share in the business or commission, or both. having a dog in the fight can make all the difference.
7. Balance – Together with staying sane comes some advice I am the worst at following. Balance your work with “life”. At the end of the day, go home, work out, or paint or walk or play video games *something* that isn’t work. You’ll actually be amazed at how much more you can get done when you’re not doing it 24/7. Same goes for taking a lunch break or tea / coffee break. Generally, balancing work with “life” is better and more productive.
8. Know when to quit – This isn’t about leaving your job or running away from responsibility. It’s more about knowing your limits, knowing when you’re too tired to be your best, and knowing when someone else can get what needs to be done done. It doesn’t always *have* to be you at 3am finishing off the presentation (though sometimes it does!) and then being dead tired for the following day’s presentation (yes, the client knows when you feel like crap). Knowing when the impossible is just plain impossible is an important, life saving and sanity enhancing realization. For those that have been in the military (I spent a year in the reserves) – rest can be your greatest ally.
Although the eight points above apply to personal prioritization, organization and getting things done, the exact same criteria can be applied to projects, deliverables and business opportunities.
In my own field, prioritizing Search Engine Optimization tactics, realizing what’s possible and ‘keeping it real‘ as far as expectations over time, are key to delivering great results in an organized and manageable way.
Key to success? Time is finite, work smart and smell the roses every now and then. Sanity is priceless!