The techniques in this book can win you back at least four more hours’ worth of productivity per day. Simple techniques, such as applying the 80/20 rule, choosing the right time of day, eating well, and working to your own attention span, taking short breaks guarantee that the work you are doing is the best it can be.
But the question I have to ask, is once you learn how to gain four more hours of productivity per day, how would you use them? If your answer is simply to send more emails or attend more meetings then you will have gained nothing. Because it is highly likely that most of those emails and meetings exist only because there is time to spend on them. If this extra time wasn’t there, we would have to find another way. But because it is there, we fill it up with less-than-optimum tasks. This is a direct application of Parkinson’s Law, which states that “work expands to fill the time available”. In other words, doing more of the same type of stuff isn’t progress; it is ergonomic inflation.
If you could gain four more hours per day, how would you use them? More emails/meetings is just ergonomic inflation.
Think about that for a moment. Everybody wishes they were richer; they wish they had more money than they do now. So just imagine I am able to give you a raise of $500 per week. That’s $2000 per month, or $24,000 more per year. Even after taxes, that’s a lot more money available for you to do whatever you want. But most people – everyone except the most diligent and self-disciplined saver – will quickly grow used to this money.
Plans for paying down debts or saving for the future get eclipsed by an increased cost of living. Having more money means you now need more things – a nicer car, some extra clothes, more things for the house – and soon the pay raise becomes invisible, you still feel short of money and the debts are still there. It is very easy to get used to a windfall, whether it comes in the form of money or time.
The moment we open the door to the possibility of having more time available is the moment that an avalanche of additional unnecessary tasks pour in – tasks that would not have existed if the time had not been made available. That’s the danger inherent in winning back more hours per day: they get wasted.
There is a solution, of course, and it comes in the form of the 80/20 rule, in which time invested in planning out the day pays back in true productivity and easily sidesteps the dangers of Parkinson’s Law.
This is an excerpt from my book, Cool Time: A Hands-On Plan for Managing Work and Balancing Time. If you would like a copy, hop on over to my Books page. If you would like me to come and speak to your group, contact details are available on my Speaker page. Either way, you will win back time and money. It’s just practical common sense.