.”The person that’s leaving early on Friday probably isn’t disloyal.”
That’s quote from an real business owner. One who had never considered that the first person to arrive and the last to leave wasn’t there because he has working hard, but because it was what they needed to do to stay caught up.
I’m not saying the I want people working for me to be slacking off. Sometimes, especially as an entrepreneur, you have to work weekends or evenings or even pull a few all-nighters.
I want their passion. I want them to believe what I believe, and I want to know that they’re working with me because the work is as meaningful to them as it is to me. Not the least because no salary nor benefits will ever be able to compete with that.
I’d rather have somebody working for me that turns in a high-quality, high-volume of work early and goes home for the weekend well rested and ready to tackle the week next Monday. I’d rather that than somebody who has to come in early, leave late, and come in on the weekends just to keep up. Because how useful are they when it really is an “all hands on deck” situation?
If your measure of a worker’s productivity is that they’re the first to arrive and that last to leave, then I would suggest that you really don’t know what they’re doing, or how well they’re doing it. And that’s a problem.
This is something I work on every day. If somebody asks me to do something, sometimes their lucky if I remember what it was half an hour later. I get distracted easily. But the research consistently shows that we’re at our best when we’re focused on one thing at a time.
Sometimes you have to multitask. Sometimes your job is interruptions or multiple balls-in-the-air juggling. But as much as you can. Do one thing at a time.
I call it an addiction, because it gives us the hit of feeling like we’re accomplishing something when we’re actually being distracted from the most important things we do that bring value to the company. Not sure I agree with Jim Schleckser on the “Do Nothing” suggestion, but you should certainly set up rules for your in-box. My favourite one is “If I’m not on the To: list, file it. ” Saves a lot of time not reading CYA (Cover Your Ass) emails.
One tactic I’d add would be to turn off your notifications and chimes that tell you when a new email has arrived. That really is an interruption that will destroy your productivity faster than just about anything else.
Lolly Daskal lists ten mistakes unhappy people make every day. I’ve been guilty of all of these at one time or another, but especially #8 Spending time with negative people and #9 Perfectionism (an effort to control something, anything, when I couldn’t affect the things that really mattered.) I’m better now.
We never seem to be able to finish our to-do lists. Maybe it’s just me, but I suspect not. One of the reasons we keep a to-do list is to remember what we wanted to do when we’re in a place to do it. But what about when we have just five unexpected minutes?
I like to think of them as “gift minutes”, and they add up during the course of a day, month, year…