The other day while reflecting on things I wanted to do for the next year, I was reminded of simple business improvement calculations that I used in my younger days. The calculation is a simple one. The average person has available 450 minutes of work time in a day of which only 320 minutes is considered productive. This means we all waste about 130 minutes of time each work day; that’s two hours and ten minutes each day of complete and utter waste.
Some of us are more productive than others, others less so. At best, the value of productive time is likely in the neighborhood of 70% of the 320 productive minutes. So this means working really well, I’m only actually producing any value for about 224 minutes or just under four hours a day. So what happens to the remaining 3.5 hours a day? It’s wasted, each and every day for a working career of forty years. That‘s equivalent to less than four years of wasted time.
Thoughts of what to do for the year then turned to ‘how do I stop this blood-letting of wasted time?’ I began to ask myself what I would do with this extra time. Interestingly, working more was not at the top of my list. My revelation is that I’m not a workaholic! I work because I have to work and this saddens me. But, this reality is no reason I can’t ‘live.’
I realized that I can work more intelligently and not waste this time. To start, I looked at the time I spent in meetings. This for me is the biggest time sucking activity anyone could have invented. Seriously, think about it. How many meetings have you been to that have been useful and value added? Likely only ten minutes of a meeting was of value, the remainder complete waste. So reduce both the duration of meetings and the meetings themselves. Seek agendas and negotiate to arrive only when your topic is up. Think of what you could do with an extra four years in your life! I took a simple approach. I began requesting teleconference coordinates for meetings then I would call in, put my phone on mute, and read an online paper. I used this time for me. Slacker you say. On the contrary, I’m doing what you only dream of doing while you‘re suffering sitting around a table full of egocentric idiots. The point is that I focus my attention where it provides the greatest value during the meeting. I request my items at the front end of the meeting, do my spiel then refocus on me.
What are you doing with your time?
Feel free to share your answer in the comments.
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