Have you ever thought about what you would absolutely love in your work life? Maybe you’d love to land the job that feeds your soul. Maybe you want to start a business or a nonprofit organization? Would you love to have some extra help at work to take more of the mundane tasks off your desk?
Well, let me tell you, I’ve had all of those desires and I’ve been successful at doing all of those “loves.”
The key to getting what you want in life is to first know what you want. So many times, I work with people who are so overwhelmed that they have a hard time compartmentalizing their work tasks in order to discover what they need the most help with. I suggest doing a time study.
Here’s how it works:
Keep a log on your desk that list every work task of each day. Your list will have some duplicates, such as checking and responding to emails and standing weekly meetings.
The log should include the date, name of the task (ie. emails, calling donors, etc.), the time of the day and how long each task takes you to complete.
I suggest keeping this list for one month. A month will give you a clear picture of what consumes your time. Plus, you’ll be able to see how many interruptions or unplanned tasks jump on your schedule in a given week. You will be able to quickly compartmentalize what takes pockets of your time that someone else can do, such as scheduling meetings, writing a column for the company newsletter, writing grants, reviewing contracts or posting on social media.
This method will highlight your busiest time of the day, the mundane tasks that you can pass to an assistant or other staff, and non-productive time. Conducting a time study will also help you to prioritize the tasks that require your attention. These are the things that only you can do or things that are best for you to address, such as Board issues or legal matters.
Once you have everything written down, you’ll be able to determine the talent you need to hire or assign to make your life more organized and manageable. Most importantly, you will free up some time to be intentional about planning and strategizing, as opposed to just reacting to issues at work.
Once you are no longer overwhelmed, you can take time during the day to think and even dream about what you would love in your career, how to move your organization to the next level and how to make your place of employment the best place to work and build a career.