August 22, 2012 by Bill Bradley


Title: Stop Working All Those Hours

Competency: time management, managing self, self-development, (also an effectiveness relationship to most competencies)

Who benefits: all employees, especially at higher levels in the organization

Consultant Usage: good advice for consultant’s personal use, good resource for executive coaches

What’s it about? It’s about time. The effective use of time.  It is also about work/life balance.  About personal effectiveness.  Personal productivity.  Happiness.

Today’s post is about an impossible task. It is about standing on your feet while doing handstands.

To wit: What does your boss want from you.  Somewhere in the response you are likely to hear “high quality work” and “high quality results”.

To witless: So how is your work measured?  Likely in the number of hours you work, in some quarters that would be billable hours, and quarterly (short-term) results, as in sales quotas.  “She/He’s one of my best employees. Always puts in ten-hour days, sometimes much more.”  Sound familiar.  Folks, your performance review is very likely going to directly and indirectly reflect the amount of time you spend at work.

Please note that I closed the above paragraph by saying “spend at work.”  Because spending is exactly what you are doing.  And if you spend too much, you go (become) broke.  Time is your only nonrenewable resource.  Your account is limited.  Spend it wisely.  It gets used up too soon anyway.

We know about the hours you work.  According to a 2006 report, 62% of wage earners work 50 hours or more each week.  Sixty hour work weeks are not uncommon.  Seventy hour work weeks are labeled “Extreme Jobs”.  Those numbers are likely to still be true six years later.

More To wit: And yet no one has repealed “Parkinson’s Law” – work expands to fill the time available.  Here is an educated guess.  If you work long or extreme hours you probably go to lots of meetings.  Many you could miss.  Many you should miss.  An excessive amount of your time is spent in low priority tasks … filling out forms, writing long reports no one utilizes, maybe spending hours preparing a presentation that covers a topic best explained in another way.

This week’s link is to an article entitled Stop Working All Those Hours.  The author talks about getting your life in balance even when the organization is pushing you to excess.  The article doesn’t present perfect solutions, but it makes two extremely important points: (1) Changing your work habits begins with you and (2) you need to educate the organization on how less time at work is actually more productive.  The article will give you pointers.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to move on to the next highest priority on my “To Do” list.  It’s not work related and it is fun.  But it is important in the overall scheme of things.

Catch you later.

Bill Bradley (mostly) retired after 35 years in organizational consulting, training and management development. During those years he worked internally with seven organizations and trained and consulted externally with more than 90 large and small businesses, government agencies, hospitals and schools.

Posted in Wellness

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  • You were really talkin’ my language this morning and I have already read the article even though I have to get to LAX shortly. Good article…I really like it. thanks…

  • Karen

    It’s a very interesting article. I like it and you are a very good professional 🙂

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