A couple of years and a few lifetimes ago I built a campaign for the City of West Hollywood to highlight the non stop night life and daytime attractions.
The campaign was called “24 hrs isn’t enough.”
With workforce reductions, smaller budgets and increasing pressure to enhance profitability, many clients are faced with exactly that conundrum; more deliverables and less time, resources, money and internal expertise in which to deliver them.
Based on my experience at The Search Agency, here’s a few thoughts on how you or your company may be able to do more with less.
1. Keep a ‘wish list’ – make notes as things happen of things you want, need or are asked to do.
2. Keep a ‘to do’ list - Only add to it two or three times a day. Use your wish list and filter everything for:
- “Does it really need to get done?”
- “This definitely needs to be done”
- “This is a whim I can live without being done”
3. Keep a calendar - Working off your to do list, assign each one to a date, ensuring that each work day has at least one “to do” to be done!
4. Prioritize – Take a look at your calendar and shuffle things around based on need vs want vs desire.
- Need means it must get done.
- Want is it should be done at some time.
- Desire means it’s emotional as opposed to need or want – so if you find some time it may get done…
5. Delegate – Look at your prioritized list and honestly divide to dos amongst your available resources. Honesty is key here, and I tend to use “The Bus Rule”
The Bus Rule – If I got run down by a bus today, who would most likely be given this task to complete, who would it fall to without assignment, and who would do the best job at it (as I’m laying under the rear tire)?
If there’s no one to delegate to, work to “The Entrepreneur Rule”
The Entrepreneur Rule – If this was my business, what would I need to get done to make or save me money today? If this is my business, what would a client need me to deliver to make or save them money today?
6. Hire - I know at least three companies that died because they had too much work. Yep, the worst thing any company can do is work its employees or owners into the ground. Interns are a good source of enthusiastic (good) work ethic – take some time to hire the good ones, ones who are going back to school or have big ideas of what and where they want to be. Be sensible as far as managing sensible growth, and give all employees a small share in the business or commission, or both. Having a dog in the fight can make all the difference.
7. Balance – Together with staying sane comes some advice I am the worst at following. Balance your work with “life”. At the end of the day, go home, work out, or paint or walk or play video games something that isn’t work. You’ll actually be amazed at how much more you can get done when you’re not doing it 24/7. Same goes for taking a lunch break or tea / coffee break. Generally, balancing work with “life” = better and more productivity.
8. Know when to quit – This isn’t about leaving your job or running away from responsibility. It’s more about knowing your limits, knowing when you’re too tired to be your best, and knowing when someone else can get what needs to be done done. It doesn’t always have to be you at 3am finishing off the presentation (though sometimes it does!) and then being dead tired for the following day’s presentation (yes, the client knows when you feel like crap). Knowing when the impossible is just plain impossible is an important, life saving and sanity enhancing realization. For those that have been in the military (I spent a year in the reserves) – rest can be your greatest ally.
Although the eight points above apply to personal prioritization, organization and getting things done, the exact same criteria can be applied to projects, deliverables and business opportunities.
Key to success? Time is finite, work smart and smell the roses every now and then. Sanity is priceless!