MNC Consulting Group Newsletter
October 2011
The Efficient Organization

PushBack Zealots 
 

NoInterruptions are the number one time waster. These come in many forms - intrusive phone calls, intrusive and unwanted e-mail, staff who drop by to ask you a quick question, socializing, handling others' perceived emergencies, and so on. I'm sure you can add to this list easily.

 

You may be surprised to learn that staff experience interruptions at work an average of every eight minutes. By my calculation, that's a staggering 60 times per day (although studies have pointed to the average worker being interrupted about 73 times per day!). When you consider that after each interruption, about 20 minutes is required to return to the task at hand (if you can even remember what that task was in the first place), it's no wonder that executives and others experience overwhelm at work.

 

In his The Simplicity Survival Handbook, author Bill Jensen suggests that to effectively manage one's time, one needs to use one (or more) of the following three words more often - No...Whoa...Why. Those that are able to use these words more often to help themselves manage their time are what Jensen refers to as "pushback zealots." In fact, he claims that 100% of the leaders that we admire are PushBack Zealots and 100% of our coworkers who are truly happy are also PushBack Zealots.

 

To limit interruptions and return at least two hours to your day, become a PushBack Zealot. Here are some ways to do this.

  

  1. Let others know that you do not wish to be interrupted. Put a sign on your door that tells people when you will be available and make it clear that you are not able to handle any interruptions in the meantime. Give them an alternate contact if needed.
  2. Close your door, if necessary. Nothing says 'unavailable' like a closed door. And don't worry - if you're normally an 'open door' kind of individual, staff will understand that if your door is closed, you must be working on something important. They won't hold it against you.
  3. Plan your work schedule every day and dedicate time for uninterrupted work. See 1 and 2 above.
  4. If you get an unexpected visitor, stand up and remain standing. It's more difficult to carry on a long conversation or discuss business in-depth when you're both standing. Try it and see.
  5. During your uninterrupted time, turn off your telephone ringer and email notification. But remember to turn these back on when you're done with your scheduled uninterrupted time.

 

If all else fails, try asking the "Why" question more often. Why do we have to do this now? Why do you need me for this? Why can't Sally help you with this? Why do I need to attend each weekly/monthly meeting? Try this for one month and see how much time you'll gain each day.

Pursuit of Profit
Hour Glass
 
Buying Time
 

Time is money. According to Wikipedia, the saying was first introduced by Benjamin Franklin and refers to time being valuable and money wasted when a person's time is not used productively. Therefore, time and productivity together is about using time wisely by engaging in activities that benefit oneself or one's organization. But did you know that by pinching pennies on business expenses, this can actually hurt an organization's bottom line in terms of productive time?

 

Say you earn $100,000 per year. Divide this by 1,500 hours per year and you get $67.00 per hour. Now let's use this amount to see where your organization is saving money while losing productive time.

 

For instance, using less expensive transportation to attend a client meeting - taking a bus or a ferry (as the case may be) rather than booking air travel may save immediate hard cash, but the losses in productive time counter the cash savings. Taking a ferry between Victoria and Vancouver, for example, requires at least 3.5 hours travel time each way (that's a whopping seven hours). By comparison, air travel uses about two hours each way (for a total of four hours). At $67.00 per hour, the cost to your organization for your time to take the ferry is $469 versus $268 for air travel. By paying for air travel, it will cost the organization $201 more in cash, but it gains three hours of your productive time (which is also $201 in cash, but the return to the organization in terms of value of your work during those three hours is much higher).

 

Another example includes the cost of taking a taxi compared to the cost of taking a shuttle bus (even when you're on vacation!), the difference in time, and the value of your time.

 

And what about employee brown bag lunches? Whether you're out at a restaurant or in the boardroom, you'll still be talking business and the change of scenery away from the office will add the creative spark needed to be more productive. That should weigh more positively than the cost of the lunch. 

 

Other areas to consider when "time is money" include the cost of meetings that start late and therefore don't accomplish all they intended. Also, webinars versus in-person workshops are one of those blurry areas where employers might think they're saving a lot of money. Depending on the topic, the webinar may make sense, but if personal interaction is important, in-person workshops are the way to go.

 

The bottom line is that "uber" penny pinching does not boost productivity nor does it provide enduring value to your organization, regardless of the economic climate. Penny pinching on business expenses and training quashes morale and productivity, and does not significantly impact your bottom line. 

 

In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)

How many organizations or individuals do you know that have re-done projects because of repeated failures? And how many of those failures can be attributed to hiring the least expensive resource or buying the least expensive product? Sure ... sometimes we get lucky and really do get a bargain, but that's like playing the lottery. Odds are stacked against you if you think you can always pay less to get more. In the end, you really do get what you pay for. IMHO.

 

"Things that matter most should never be at the mercy of things which matter least."

(Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe)

 
About MNC Consulting Group
Our goal is to help you to dramatically increase efficiencies that immediately boost your profit margins.

 

ISSN 1925-8941   

Extreme Profits is a monthly electronic newsletter discussing how leaders can be more efficient and areas where organizations can save more money. 

 

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mary@mncconsultinggroup.com | MNC Consulting Group |

5536A Hamsterly Road | Victoria, B.C. V8Y 1S5 | 250-658-4873

 

In This Issue
The Efficient Organization
Pursuit of Profit
In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)
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