Do you ever feel like there is too much to do, and not enough time to get it all done? I think most of us feel that way at least some of the time.
Last week, I kept track of how I spent every hour of my work day – I wanted to know if I am spending my work time wisely by focussing on the important tasks. I also wanted to be able to identify the time zapping tasks that don’t add anything of value for our clients.
I did this quite simply by using categories in Outlook to colour-code my activities. I used green to indicate the “important stuff”, which is engaging with our clients. This is the single most valuable thing that I do in my role, and should always be my number one priority. Then I used yellow for all the other necessary activities, such as answering emails and completing administrative tasks. Pointless activities were coloured orange – these are the things that I would like to delegate, or simply drop altogether.
The results are in!
At a glance I could see that about half my time was spent on important activities, and about 40% on the necessary tasks. I only spent about 10% of my time on activities that don’t really add any value.
I think this information gives me a really good starting place to track my productivity going forward. I would really like to shift the balance much more towards the “important stuff”, which is helping advisers and their teams to outsource work to us. I have some ideas about how to achieve this, and now that I have a baseline I can measure my success going forward.
I plan to track my activities for one week every quarter, just to keep myself honest and to confirm that I’m gradually improving my focus.