If you run a Chamber of Commerce or Association, or work for any sort of membership organization at all, you’re probably pretty familiar with the OLD way of doing things. You know, you’re working on a project until some other fire pops up that you just have to put out immediately. You have every intention of going right back to work on “Project #1”, but by the time you finish clearing up the emergency situation that interrupted that work in the first place, two more “hot spots” have popped up and need your attention right away. This sort of frenzied, frenetic approach to managing our time simply won’t work any longer. I question if it ever DID work, really. While I don’t have a magic wand I can wave over your desk to stop time long enough for you to get it all done, I DO have a pretty simple process I’ve used and trained others to use successfully for almost two decades. Are you ready to get your calendar back?
For the next few days or so, I want you to track EVERYTHING you do during the work day. If you read or respond to emails, jot it down! If you take a break (or 12) to talk with a co-worker, capture it! If you go out on sales calls or visits with members, write it out. The more you can record in this step, the more time I’m going to help you win back in the end.
Next is a very easy but VITAL step in the process. I need you to figure out what your time is worth. If you’re on salary, this is easy enough. Divide your income by your actual hours worked and come up with an hourly value on your time. If you’re on commission, this is a BIT harder. I want you to use the weekly salary you DESIRE versus the number of actual hours you work to come up with your hourly number. When you’re done, write that number down. You might find that your time is worth $35-$50 an hour as one of my clients did just last month, or you may be surprised to learn your hour is worth more than $150! Either way, you must know this number and keep it in front of you at all times. I always have my number on a sticky note on my desktop, on my dashboard in the car and a few other places I’m sure to see it.
Now for the FUN PART!!! I want you to stop reading this long enough to grab a pad of paper and a pen. Draw two vertical lines dividing the paper into three equal columns. At the top of each column, write the following words in BIG, BOLD LETTERS:
DO DELEGATE DELETE
Once you’re convinced that you’ve fully captured everything that you do during a given work week, and you know what an hour of your time is worth, I want you to force yourself to put each and every item from “Step One” into just one of these columns. Some things are so important and integral to your job description that they must not only be done, but they HAVE TO be done by YOU! Some have to be done, but there are half a dozen other people (subordinates, interns, volunteers) who could do them for you…they just aren’t valuable enough to rate the expense of whatever your hourly rate came out to be. The rest, well…you know what DELETE means. Stop doing those things NOW!
And now for a very special bonus: If you will follow these steps, a LOT of things will be eliminated from your day, but you will also have done one other incredibly important thing for yourself and for your organization. You will have identified those 80/20 Rule tasks that force you to be more successful…the DO items on your list! If you’ll dedicate some of that newly-found “free time” to do more of those things on your DO list, I bet you’ll see that hourly value of your time begin to creep higher and higher!
We want to hear from YOU! What have you been able to Delegate or Delete from YOUR schedule, and what will you be focusing all that extra time on doing from here on out?