Time Leaking: End of Day and Not Much Done
Ever been driving home from work – feeling really tired – but when you think about your day you realize that nothing significant was accomplished as well? I think this happens to all of us – and to some more than others.
Didn’t see his daughter awake
There was a manager of a financial services company whom I was coaching a couple of years ago. He was a really nice guy, working very hard and one of the top performers of his company. He was married and had also been blessed with a daughter who was around one year old at the time of this intervention.
His problem was that due to work pressures – office leaving time was mostly around 9pm. Getting him home around 10pm. This meant that he hardly got to see his daughter awake and play with her. Quality time with his wife was also in short supply.
When I asked him why he couldn’t leave earlier – he said that he always had so much to do that even leaving at 9pm wasn’t enough as on most days the day’s work had also not been completed.
So leaves late – not completing all his work – no work life balance – not a happy family – not a happy situation. I had to help him figure out if he was inefficient (not able to cope), or was he overloaded (too much work) in order to help him manage his work day better.
Work Log – Where did my time go?
So after thinking for a while – I asked him to maintain a work log for two weeks. Basically where he would write down what he had been doing – or how his time had been spent each hour. So what did he do from 9 – 10am; then 10 – 11am, and so on. Not to think about what he had been doing when writing it down – but to just take a few seconds and log his activities each hour.
Analysis after two weeks
So we sat down and analyzed where his time had been utilized the most by grouping the activities he had been engaged in – and then working out what % of time had been utilized for each activity. And what a revelation that was. We found that around 60% of his daily time was utilized to talk to customers. And the average call time was around 30 minutes. Well that’s a long time – but justifiable as well – as these customer calls resulted in business. However on analyzing the average – typical call, we found that of the 30 minute call – only around 5 minutes was spent on business. And a whopping 25 minutes spent – just socializing and talking about – well almost everything else. Was this important? Yes certainly – as it helped in developing and maintain the relationship. But did it have to be so long! Hm… we didn’t know – but it did seem excessive.
Do you want to make a change: Change is Courage!
In this case the manager was desperate to make a change and get home earlier. So he came up with the plan of – taking 5 minutes and talking business; and another 5 minutes and talking ‘shop’, and then having the discipline to complete the call. Well yippee it worked! After getting into the practice of doing this – he is now able to leave work between 5.30 and 6pm each day. A huge improvement. And also guess what – he completes more work each day, and most days, completes everything he had to do for the day. A phenomenal improvement.
Do you have the same type of problem?
Not sure where you day is going and what you are actually doing with your time! Well maybe you can do this as well. So what are the stages we need to pass – to make a change?
- Identify that there is a problem
- Analyze where the problem lies
- Accept that change is possible
- Have the courage to make the change
- Make any course corrections
- Reap the benefits