When the Harvard Business Review publishes a six-part series about a particular subject, you know it’s a hot topic. Their most recent series, which begins with “Time for Happiness — Why the pursuit of money isn’t bringing you joy — and what will,” is a must-read. As the article states, “… most of us fall into a trap of spending time to get money, because we believe money will make us happier in the long run. Our thinking is backward. In fact, research consistently shows that the happiest people use their money to buy time.”
From bullet journaling and the Covey Quadrant (is your request urgent and important?) to Elon Musk’s five-minute time blocking system, entire businesses, methods and models have been built around time management. Lately, however, the focus is shifting to reclaiming control of your time. As long you’re willing to pay, online concierge services will fight your parking tickets, walk your dog, assemble your IKEA furniture and deliver food from practically every restaurant in most cities.
In a 2017 Bloomberg TV interview, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett discussed the importance of protecting their time. While the bank accounts of these two billionaires are exponentially larger than ours, most CMOs, marketing directors and managers can relate to Buffett’s comment: “People are going to want your time. It’s the only thing you can’t buy. I can buy anything I want, basically. But I can’t buy time.”
What’s the connection? When it comes to being happy at work, you need to reclaim your time. Here are a few suggestions to help make this your reality:
Match your biorhythms to your work calendar — If you’re fortunate enough to control most of the meetings on your calendar, it helps to know when you do your best work. Many people prefer to do task-oriented work (like meetings and document review) in the morning and leave their more creative work to the afternoon.
Build “think time” into your day — Blocking out as little as half an hour each day and looking “booked” on your shared work calendar can give you the time you need to think, plan and gather your thoughts.
Don’t open PowerPoint right away — When you’re developing a presentation, begin by writing your outline entirely in Word. Do this before you even think of firing up PowerPoint. Otherwise, all of the other bright, shiny objects (like animations) will interrupt your thought processes and organization. Have you discovered Word’s “Distraction Free” mode? It’s a pretty nifty feature, but there’s an even more-generic program for the easily distracted, called iaWriter, that “removes distractions, giving you a calm, focused writing space.”
Delegate early and often — Fast Company’s article, “8 Habits Of Leaders Who Know How To Delegate,” claims the best leaders will avoid micromanaging and “define the ‘what’ and delegate the ‘how.’” It urges us to “Give the responsibility for accomplishing something to others, but let them sort out the best way to go about accomplishing it. That gives your team a chance to prove how intelligent, talented, capable, and committed they are—or otherwise.”
The Jaffe team has written extensively about time management best practices. Here are just a few posts:
Need to reclaim control of your time at work? Jaffe can help take on what you can’t get to. Contact Melanie Trudeau, Director, New Business & Digital Strategies, at firstname.lastname@example.org.