According to a productivity experiment conducted by Professors Jordan Cohen and Julian Birkinshaw, 41 percent of an participants’ time at work was spent doing discretionary tasks that weren’t particularly satisfying and could have been done by another individual.
The experiment showed that once the individuals were trained to slow down and think differently about their tasks, they significantly increased the amount of time that available to them. So, what was the trick?
The researchers instructed all participants to analyze their to do list and ask themselves the following questions:
- What can I stop doing altogether?
- What can I outsource or delegate to someone else?
- What must I do, and how can I do it more efficiently?
Following these steps allowed for an average weekly time savings of 6 hours of desk work and 2 hours of time spent in meetings. That’s practically an entire work day! That’s huge.
How Can This Work for Me?
Put this productivity method into action by simply reviewing your agenda or to-do list for the upcoming week and ask yourself the following questions:
- How much value is this task or project adding to my company? If I were to drop it, what would happen?
- Who else inside or outside the company could complete this task or project?
- How can I be more efficient with the tasks that I’m responsible for? How could I do this task if I had only half the time?
If you’re a small business owner or a freelance worker, the delegating option takes a little more creativity. Since you don’t have many (or any) subordinates to offset the work load, you’ll need to find another solution. Fortunately, with the rise of on-demand services, there are a few helpful options out there.
Take a hard look at what’s taking up your time. Maybe some of your work tasks can’t be delegated out, but maybe some of your personal tasks can. For instance, maybe there is a more efficient way for you to pay your bills with automated services. Maybe you feel that you waste too much time shopping for groceries. Well, services like Peapod and Instacart can do some of that for you. Maybe you can delegate some of your administrative tasks to a virtual assistant through TimeSvr.
The point is, there are options available if you are willing to ask the questions and figure out the solutions. You don’t have to be bogged down anymore. Take control of your schedule and learn how you can take your productivity to the next level and make your schedule work for you instead of the other way around.