The way you spend your time is directly connected to your quality of life. You must control your time as much as possible if you want to live intentionally, live joyfully, and if you want to have your best year ever. If you want to accomplish more and have more fun, take ownership of your time. This week we’ll look at taking ownership of your time at work, and next week some personal ideas for you and your family.
There are two major rules to taking ownership of your time at work:
Rule #1: Get clarity about the “real” issue at work
Rule #2: See rule number 1
Clarity = Happiness (in more ways than you know).
Get clarity about the “real” issue
Unless you are the CEO, someone else tells you where to spend a majority of your time at work. Some of the work is interesting and you have latitude in deciding how to do your work. According to the research, someone else dictates most of your work—not just what to do, but how to do it.
The best bosses help people understand what needs to be done, but do not tell them how to do it. They provide clarity. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have bosses like that. Even if that is true for you, you have more power over your time than you realize! That’s right, you have much more control than you think. Don’t just “do what you’re told,” help the organization and yourself by asking a few questions. Here’s a true story to prove my point . . .
When I became CEO of an organization in the Midwest, I met an employee who gathered and reported statistics. I asked her who read her reports. She said, “I’m not sure.” It ends up that three outside organizations requested the reports, but none of them worked for us! This full-time employee did work that was of no value to her employer; it only had value for others (who were not paying her salary!). We quickly reassigned her and gave her meaningful work. I felt bad for her that she had been doing work that wasn’t contributing to accomplishing the vision of the organization. We owed her clarity!
Are you in trouble at work? Find out! Does your boss want you to do something else? Discover the truth! Fear always involves the unknown. Clarity is the antidote to fear! If you find out the truth, fear turns into resolve and you can act accordingly.
If you have to write a vendor report, find out why. Who will see the report? What information is really needed? Who will the information truly help? Is there a better way to get helpful information? Keep asking, “What’s the real issue here?”
As my grad school professor used to plead with us: Be clear, be clear, be clear!
BONUS: Use your vacation time.
Those who schedule their vacation time NOW (in January) usually get it approved. The most effective workers in the world will tell you that time away is NOT lost productivity—it is an investment in future performance!!! As a matter of fact, while you’re reading this I’m away for a week of relaxation. When I get back to work next week, I’m going to be refreshed and ready to go! I’ll be talking about strategies to help you in your personal time management. See you then.