3 Easy Steps to Work Fewer Hours (and Do Better Work)

Mike Kotsis People Issues Leave a Comment

3 Easy Steps to Work Fewer Hours (and Do Better Work)

Do you have enough time? Most business owners and leadership team members answer “no” to this question. Their response is typically something like, “There’s never enough time in the day to do everything that I want to do.” If you’ve ever felt like you don’t have enough time in the day, it means you’re normal.

In a recent client EOS session, I asked the question, “Who here doesn’t have enough time?” This question lit the fuse. The team unraveled quickly. It was clear that they’d been giving every ounce of their time to the business and felt like they were getting farther and farther behind. Catching up even seems to be a stretch at best, getting ahead seems impossible. They were exhausted, worn out and at their breaking points.

They were overwhelmed because they were trying to do everything themselves. They had a habit of delegating very little to others. I took them through four steps to show them how to free up more time.

1) Define the Number of Hours You WANT to Work in a Week

Pick the number of hours you want to work in a week 40, 50, 60 hrs, etc. It’s important to decide your number. The right number is the number you feel will allow you to be productive at work and live a balanced life outside of work. Then compare this to the number of hours you’re actually working now.

This team was on average at 75 hours, and most wanted to be in the 55 hour range. Twenty hours of work needed to be delegated each week.

2) List Everything You’re Doing

Take a blank pad of paper and write down everything you are doing. Include both one-time items and recurring tasks, big items and little items.

Sort the list into 4 quadrants:

Delegate and Elevate tool from EOS
Delegate and Elevate Tool courtesy of EOS Worldwide

Sort each item from your list into one of the quadrants. It’s very eye opening for most people to see on paper how many things they’re doing that falls into the bottom two quadrants. We’ll look at this more in a moment.

3) Delegate and Elevate

The ultimate goal is to delegate everything in the bottom two quadrants so that you can elevate your work to your unique abilities and focus on doing only the items in your top two quadrants. Leaders shouldn’t be spending their time on work that’s easily delegated to others who can do it just as well (or better).

If you don’t spend more and more time in the top two quadrants, you’ll burn out and lose your passion for the business. And the business will suffer as a result—it won’t be as efficient, profitable, effective or fun as it could (and should) be.

Take a hard look at the items in the bottom two quadrants and identify the ones that would free up most of your time if you were to delegate them. Then identify people that you can start delegating those items to, over time. In this case, the team needed to identify items from the “Everything Else” column that made up 20 hours of work.

Now start delegating those items. You will then be free to elevate and focus on the items where you add the most value to the business while loving every minute of it (i.e., the top two quadrants).

Newfound Freedom

This exercise gave my client’s team several revelations why each of them felt overloaded. It also gave them the ability to gain back control of their time by creating a path to freeing themselves up. It gave them hope. It gave them peace of mind knowing there is now a plan towards a better way, giving them more time in their day.

Not only were they able to work their ideal number of hours, they took more vacations—and longer vacations—and they truly disconnected from work while they were on vacation. And back in the office, they were much more effective in the business as a result. It was a positively reinforced cycle of improvement for the overall business because of following this simple discipline.

Don’t delay. Do the Delegate and Elevate exercise with your team now.

Next Steps


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