Try the “Four Day Workweek” Principle
Living in the Whirlwind
Overwhelmed …. too much to do …. too many meetings …. too many requests for your time. What to do? If this is how your work life feels, you’re not alone. Executives at all levels feel stretched thin and pulled in too many directions. There’s simply NOT ENOUGH TIME to get it all done AND live a “balanced” life.
But …. it doesn’t HAVE to be this way. It’s our choices and quality of planning (or lack of planning) that create the chaos. Many of us simply have a hard time saying no and fall into the trap of ALLOWING OTHERS to rule our calendar.
It’s Aways Your Choice(s)
The answer is to MAKE BETTER CHOICES and develop a habit of planning your week at the beginning of the week, every week, without exception. I’ll talk about the importance of weekly planning in another article, so let’s focus today on the CHOICES you make.
The way you spend each day, the meetings you attend, the calls you make, and the actions you take are a function of the CHOICES you make. Some choices are deliberate and planned, but many are simply driven by the “easy thing to do” — it’s easy to say yes, it’s easy to agree to do something with or for someone, it’s easy to just do it. Saying no is difficult; saying no can be uncomfortable; saying no can make you feel guilty (but shouldn’t), saying no requires effort.
Apply the Four Day Workweek Principle
One way to FORCE yourself to make better choices and to say NO to more is to immediately adopt and implement the “Four Day Workweek Four Step Process.”
Step 1: If you only had only FOUR days each week to work, and you worked no more than 8 to 9 hours on each of those days, what things would you definitely have to SAY NO to? Look back at the past four weeks of your calendar, and give some thought to that question. Consider …. (1) What regular or recurring meetings would you decline (or delegate to others)? (2) What activities would you definitely STOP doing? (3) Who would you spend less time with? (4) What “time wasters” would you eliminate from your work day altogether? (5) Who could take care of some of your responsibilities for you? (6) Which things simply do not need to be done by you or anyone? Why are you even doing it? (7) What things are simply not that important for YOU to do?
Step 2: Apply the Four Day Workweek principle to trim your schedule, to make saying “no” easier, to direct your focus toward ONLY the most important things. How? …. Do this …. Make a LIST of everything you COULD eliminate or delegate from your weekly schedule. Work hard to find eight solid hours worth of “stuff” to trim or eliminate during the week. Force yourself to make some tough CHOICES about how you spend your time. Choose wisely; make smart choices. Say no, subtract, eliminate, delegate, let go of the unimportant. Review and vet your list, but make sure it totals approximately eight hours worth of released stuff. Use your list THIS WEEK and going forward to help you FILTER your choices and say no to the kinds of activities included on the list.
Step 3: NOW …. what important things have you NOT been getting to that CAN BE incorporated into you calendar to fill the time you’ve just eliminated? Let the motivation of getting THOSE THINGS done fuel your desire to eliminate the items on your list. Write those things down; keep a running list of those things that you update weekly.
Step 4: Leave some cushion. Replace only HALF of what you eliminate. Remember, we tend to underestimate our time to do things. Give yourself some breathing room.
Call to Action:
Build your Four Day Workweek list today and begin putting it into play this coming week. Take CONTROL of your calendar and CHOOSE how you plan to spend YOUR time.
A bit radical? Maybe … but the PROCESS behind the principle works. Try it and see.
Leave a comment below and let us know how it works for you.