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How to Spend Time on High Value Activities - 5 Key Tips

February 13, 2018

Most roles have aspects to them that we don’t really enjoy and that don’t add a lot of value.  The more time we can spend on the things that truly add value, the more fulfilled we will be.  Not everything we do is equally enjoyable, but taking a little time to step back from our busyness to evaluate what we are doing, and why we are doing it, can lead to significant improvements in our productivity and our sense of fulfilment. These five tips will help you learn how to spend time on activities that really matter!

1. Think about the purpose of your role. 

Most of us think about the purpose of our roles only once - when we are new to the role!  Then we get busy, and never stop to ask ourselves and our managers whether the goal posts have moved. By checking in with the purpose of our roles, we can better understand where we should focus our time and be clearer about what really is high or low value to our role.

2. Analyse your activities. 

Take a look at what you are spending your time on. Think about the activities you do daily. Which ones are taking up most of your time? Which ones should be prioritised? Which ones are adding the most value? What roadblocks do you continually encounter and how are they impacting your productivity? Activities that drain you without helping you meet your goals, should be minimized or done away with altogether. Can you invest more time in activities that bring you closer to your goals?

3. Delegate and automate where possible.

Sometimes, we are just trying to do too much. If there are certain activities that you can delegate to someone else, by all means do so. You cannot control everything, so don't try to. Also, if you can automate certain things (such as bank payments, certain communications, or online forms), that will save you time that you can then invest in what is truly important. Delegate and automate.    

4. Ask for help. 

The only other person who is as invested in your role as you are, is your manager. He or she is there to support you to succeed and to ensure that nothing is getting in the way of that success.  By taking the time to share with your manager what you are doing well and where you are struggling, they will be able to provide you with the support you need.  Being proactive about asking for help will be seen by your manager as a sign of your commitment and dedication to the role.  It will also have the added benefit of freeing up some of the obstacles that are holding you back and give you more time to spend on what you enjoy.  When you approach your manager to ask them for further development opportunities, they are also more likely to support you, because they know that you’ve really thought it through and are clear about what you need.

5. Take a team approach. 

Ultimately, nobody works in isolation.  Chances are, the things that are holding you back, are the same issues being experienced by the wider team.  Taking a team approach means sharing what you are struggling with and brainstorming solutions that the whole team can be part of.  Everyone in your team will have different strengths and preferences.  Talking through what impacts you, often means that others in the team get the opportunity to step up, fill a gap, or grow their skills. Remember, the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts.

In conclusion, our roles are continuously changing, and we are getting busier as we are asked to take on more and more responsibility. Taking time to reflect on why we are in the role and what’s important, gives us an opportunity to get more enjoyment out of what we do.  Working with our managers and teams to reduce low value activity and get rid of roadblocks means that we not only feel more fulfilled, but we also have a much more positive impact on the organisation and our customers, as we spend more time on high value activity.   Feels like a win/win solution all round!