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Rejiggering a 110-hour workweek

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in Office Management,Time Management

Stephen Shapiro used to work 50 hours a week for a computer manufacturer. His boss worked 60 hours a week, but after she was laid off Shapiro’s job expanded.

His employer expected Shapiro to absorb his former supervisor’s responsibilities. To his horror, he concluded that he’d need to work 110 hours a week to get it all done.

So Shapiro analyzed all the activities on his plate and found only a small percentage of those activities truly mattered.

Over a weekend, he separated essential duties from extraneous ones, eliminated unnecessary tasks, delegated ones that others could do more efficiently, and identified only those high-priority activities that he needed to perform.

The result? He stopped doing what he deemed unnecessary tasks—and no one noticed. Then he delegated other tasks to colleagues who were more qualified to handle them. He harnessed technology as a timesaver. By automating certain transactional procedures, he saved more time.

Within two weeks, Shapiro had re­­duced his weekly work hours from 110 to 20. As a result, he could focus on innovating and improving operational results.

In recent years, Shapiro has become a speaker and consultant. His research shows that salespeople, on average, spend only 20% to 35% of their workday interacting with customers. The rest of their time is spent in meetings or doing paperwork.

If you manage salespeople, revamp how they spend their workday with the goal of doubling their time in front of customers. This will maximize their efforts and boost their production.

— Adapted from Best Practices Are Stupid, Stephen Shapiro, Portfolio/Penguin.

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