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Workload Management : Is Time Really the Issue?

A recent poll of our readers showed that "Time Management" was one of the greatest challenges they are facing right now. Does this sound familiar? Well, let's look at the real issue - it's not how much time we have, but our attitude towards our workload management that's the key.

Time is a finite resource and its passing is something we can't change. This is a lesson life teaches us early on. Yet most of us continue to "struggle" with a "lack of time" in all aspects of our lives. But don't worry this isn't going to be another lecture on diary management. Instead there are some core principles you can apply that will dramatically improve your productivity so that issues such as a "lack of time" start to fade into the past.

You Reap What You Sow

If there is one business sector that truly understands the principles of productivity its our farmers.

  • They have a plan for what crops they want to grow and educate themselves in 'best practice' for growing that crop.
  • To get a bumper crop farmers know they need to focus on creating the right environment for the crop to grow well.
  • They know there are certain factors they can influence to achieve success (e.g. weed control, moisture retention, seed quality). These factors become the focus of their efforts.
  • There are also a large number of factors farmers have no influence over, such as the timing and amount of rain or insect plagues. Farmers have learnt how to respond to their changing environment.

These principles, which have been developed over decades of farming, also offer highly valuable lessons for the rest of us.

What Crop Are You Growing?

  • Have you really decided what outcome you want?
  • Are you clear and focused?
  • What's important to you?
  • What really are your goals and vision for your business?

The clearer and more specific your vision and goals the more productive you will be. It's a well-known principle in psychology that people are motivated by what's important to them. Get clear and focused on goals that are important to you and the pieces of the puzzle start falling into place more easily. This will have a dramatic affect on your productivity.

Focus on What You Can Influence

Pinpoint what you can actually influence to get the outcome you want. There are a lot of factors that determine business success that we have absolutely no control over. When there is downturn in a market business owners spend a significant amount of time and energy implicating the election, drought, stress, compliance burdens, fear of the future, war, fatigue or all of the above. Generally we don't have any influence over these factors. Instead redirect that energy into activities that you can influence (e.g. your marketing) and determine how you and your business can continue to respond to change.

Develop a Calendar of Events

Farmers understand the systemic nature of business better than any other sector. They know it's easier to work with the cycles of nature rather than against them. They understand the interdependence and natural order of events. Do you work this way in your own business? Or do you attempt to swim upstream and cause yourself a lot of stress in the process? Develop a plan for achieving your goals working with the cycles of business rather than against it.

Work Smarter

Our successful farmers didn't get their knowledge of how to be productive overnight. It has developed through a process of continuous learning.

To induce your own process of continuous learning, ask yourself at the end of each day "Did I work smarter today?" Check the answer you get and see what little adjustments you can make to ensure tomorrow is more productive.

The Role Eyes Wide Open Can Play

Developing a more effective method of workload management isn't rock science. Most people have the skill to do it for themselves. However the challenge is you can be too close to the issue to see the most effective path forward.

Eyes Wide Open can help you step back and get clear about your business priorities and then work with you to build the disciplines necessary to achieve your business goals efficiently and effectively.

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