Day 15 of 20 *Questions*: Where could I work more and achieve less?

Shoot.  I actually mis-typed that.  But it’s all good.  We gotta roll with these things.

I read a suggestion that to learn better time-management, a first step is to have a day where you work at 60% of your potential.

Let that sink in for a moment.  60%.

I love it.

And why?  Because when we try to work at 110% every day, we lose track of what we’re doing right.  We’re too busy doing it all.  When we work at 110%, sure, everything might get done, but most likely priorities were not lived out, processes were not tended well for completing those tasks in the future, and the people most pleased are probably not the people in your life who most matter.  Working at 110% means we probably haven’t made the hard choices.  For me, when I have a reasoned list of top priorities and I’ve done them well enough, I give myself a 15-minute break.  It’s a reward, sure, but the effect is also that I catch my breath and can decide what direction I want/need to go in next.  Maybe it’s returning to the things done “well enough” to make them better; maybe it’s something new that came up during the day; maybe it’s going back to my to-do list to pick out one more thing that will really ice the cake for a productive day.

Working at 60% for a day would probably be hard for most of us.  We have jobs that matter, whether they matter because of their concrete impact or because they bring home a paycheck.  But the theory behind this is sound: one day at 60% will teach us that we won’t die if we do less than the 110% that’s killing us.  It’ll also teach us to choose priorities – we know that some % of what we do is fluff/padding/not essential/not urgent, but we usually don’t know how much.  So see what makes the cut in doing 60%.  Also, doing the 60% lets you look around, see what might really help your workplace but nobody has time to notice.  Maybe it’ll help you answer the original question for today:  “Where could I work less and achieve more?”

And under all of it, I bet if you have a day at 60%, you’ll have a hard time restraining yourself to do just that much, and you will give yourself credit for how much you are already doing and how hard you work.

The question is, do you tell your boss or co-workers that “today is 60% day for me”?  I’ll leave that answer up to you!!!

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