把時間留給關鍵工作

Make Time for the Work That Matters
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影片載入中...
觀看本影片,可讓你每個星期最多挪出一天去做最重要的工作。改編自朱利安.柏金紹和喬丹.柯恩的文章。

時間是所有人都能更加善用的東西。研究指出,知識工作者有41%的時間花在低價值任務上。人們若要留出時間去做重要的工作,就應仔細思考自己如何運用時間、決定哪些任務最重要,並捨棄或卸下其餘的工作。在一項實驗中,有15位高階主管發現,自己平均可把每週文書工作時間減少6小時,每週會議減少2小時。

換句話說,他們每週可挪出一整天時間。要做到這一點,不必付出很大努力,也不需要任何主管的指令。來看看某位實驗參與者是如何做到的,她是保險公司主管蘿塔。她很快找出好幾個會議和日常行政工作,是可以取消的。如此一來,她就能花更多時間在直屬部屬身上,聆聽他們的銷售電話,提供他們一對一的指導,並與他們一起制定改善策略。

成效很明顯:短短三週內,她那個單位的銷售額提高了5%。要在行程表中挪出時間,關鍵在於檢視自己的一天,找出不重要且容易卸下的任務。研究顯示,知識工作者的活動中,至少有四分之一屬於這兩種類別。有些公司用一些措施來協助員工消除任務,像是禁止在星期五發送電子郵件、限制會議時間。但要改變制度規範很難,而不支持的人會找到創意的方式來抵制。

所以,在個人層次做出改變,常會更有效。若要設置自我介入措施,請遵循作者提供的五步驟流程。

第一步,弄清楚可以排除哪些任務,這需要回答一系列問題。首先,列出你昨天或前一天執行的任務,盡可能具體說明它們。例如,不只列出「電子郵件」,而應說「寄電郵給我的支援人員」或「回覆客戶的電郵」。

你花多少時間去做每一項任務?問問自己,每項任務對公司的主要目標有多大貢獻?假設你正在向資深高階主管,報告你績效的最新情況。你是否會提到這項任務,並提出合理原因說明為何花時間做它?接下來,評估每個任務的必要性。假設你上班遲到兩個小時,以便去處理緊急事件,現在你必須重新安排一天工作的優先順序。這個任務有多緊急?

接著評估你從每個任務中獲得多少價值。假設你的財務獨立,可以創造理想的工作。你是否樂於做這項任務,因而要保留給自己做?最後,自問是否可以外包這項任務。

假設你獲派領導一項重要計畫,必須重新分配你的一些工作。哪些任務必須由你親自完成?你可以委派或捨棄哪些任務?有了這些問題的答案之後,你就可以在這樣的四方格上,安排日常活動。你能看出自己應該繼續做哪些事,但可以花更多時間去做;你應該繼續做哪些事,但可以做得更有效率;以及你可以完全停止去做的事情。你可以找出一些會議和例行的行政工作,是可以從日曆上刪除的;你也可能會發現,你過度參與專案規畫的細節。

下一步是決定要如何把那些任務移出你的工作項目。首先將目標任務分為三類:你可以立即排除,不會產生負面影響;可以用最少精力委派給別人;必須重新設計或徹底改造的工作。請記住,你的直屬部屬,不是你唯一可以重新指派活動的人。你也可以把任務外包給外部服務公司,聘請虛擬個人助理,或爭取一些行政支援。

現在來談最困難的部分,那就是委派工作。你必須找出承接這項工作的最合適人選,並花時間訓練他們。這項實驗的參與者承認,這不見得很輕鬆。他們覺得很難處理的事情包括:衡量資淺人員的能力,並管理工作交接事宜。主管最終會發現,為卸下工作所付出的努力是值得的。大多數參與者克服了絆腳石,把工作委派出去,而自己或或團隊的生產力都沒有下降。

他們每週都省下很多時間。參與者表示,減輕工作量讓他們感到更放鬆、壓力更小,而且更有活力。額外的好處是,資淺員工很珍惜自己得到的新機會,也開始因參與更多而受益。

找到時間去做重要工作的第四步,是決定如何處理你找出來的時間。目標不只是要更有效率,還要更有效地利用多出來的時間。把時間用在你已經在進行的最高價值活動上,是顯而易見的選擇。

但另外兩個做法也有幫助:寫下兩、三件你該做而未做的事,然後開始寫日誌,評估自己是否有善用時間。那項實驗的一些參與者發現,自己多出來的時間花在新問題上。但大多數人把它用來做更好的工作,例如,給予員工深入的指導,專注於策略,或深入了解客戶需求。其他人選擇用多出來的時間陪伴家人。最後一步是做出承諾,要按計畫行事。

雖然這個過程是個人自己推動的,但很重要的是,應該與你的上司、同事或導師分享你的計畫。說明你會卸下哪些活動及原因,並同意在幾週後討論你取得的成果。如果你不這麼做,會很容易故態復萌。你的上司或同事,也可以協助你找出可以委派工作的對象。這個做法應該可以大幅提升你的生產力,你不必重新設計組織的各個部分,也不必重新設計流程或改變商業模式。你只需要提出正確的問題,並根據答案採取行動。

(劉純佑譯)


Time is the one thing we could all use more of. And research shows that knowledge workers spend 41% of their time on low value tasks. People can make time for the work that matters if they think deliberately about how they spend their time, decide which tasks matter most, and drop or off-load the rest. In one experiment, 15 executives found that, on average, they were able to cut their weekly desk work by six hours and their meetings by 2 hours.

In other words, they freed up one full day a week. And they achieved this without making a huge effort and without any management directive. Let's look at how this worked for one participant in the experiment, an insurance company manager named Lotta. She quickly identified several meetings and routine administrative tasks she could drop. That allowed her to devote more time to working directly with her reports by listening in on their sales calls, giving them one-on-one guidance, and thinking up improvement strategies with them.

The payoff was clear: In just three weeks, sales in her unit increased 5%. The key to freeing up time in your schedule is to look at your day and identify tasks that are both unimportant and easy to off-load. Research suggests that at least one-quarter of knowledge workers’ activities fall into both categories. Some companies try to help their people eliminate tasks through initiatives like banning e-mail on Fridays and placing time limits on meetings. But it's hard to change institutional norms and workers who don't buy in find creative ways to resist.

So making changes on a personal level is often more effective. To set up your own self-intervention, follow the authors’ five-step process. The first step - figuring out which tasks you can eliminate - requires answering a series of questions. First, list the tasks you did yesterday or the day before and describe them as specifically as possible. For example, instead of just listing “e-mail,” say “sending e-mails to my support staff” or “responding to e-mails from clients.”

How much time did you spend on each? Now ask yourself how much does each task contribute to your firm's main objective? Imagine you're updating a senior executive on your performance. Would you mention this task and justify spending time on it? Next, rate how necessary each task is. Imagine that you've arrived at work two hours late because of an emergency, and now you have to reprioritize your day. How urgent is this task?

Then assess how much value you get from each task. Imagine that you're financially independent and creating your dream job. Do you enjoy this task enough to keep it? Last, ask whether you can outsource the task. Suppose you've been tapped to lead a critical initiative and you'll have to reassign some of your work. Which tasks need to be done by you? Which could you delegate or drop? With the answers to those questions, you can lay out your daily activities on a grid like this one. You'll be able to see what you should keep doing but could spend more time on, what you should keep doing but might do more efficiently, and what you can stop doing all together.

You may identify meetings and routine administrative tasks you can get off your calendar, or you might realize that you're too involved in project planning details. The next step is deciding how to get the tasks off your plate. Start by sorting the targeted tasks into three categories: Things you can drop them immediately with no negative effects, activities that can be delegated with minimal effort, and work that needs to be redesigned or overhauled. Bear in mind that your reports aren't the only people you could reassign activities to. You might outsource them to an external service, hire a virtual personal assistant, or enlist some administrative support.

Now comes the hardest part: delegating. You'll need to identify the best people to take this work on and invest some time in training them. Participants in the study admitted that this wasn't always easy. They struggled with things like gauging junior people's capabilities and managing handoffs. In the end, managers found that the rewards of off-loading were worth the effort. Most participants overcame the stumbling blocks and delegated their work without seeing any decline in their productivity or their team’s.

And they saved a lot of time each week. People said that lightening their load made them feel more relaxed less stressed, and more energetic. As a bonus, junior employees appreciated their new opportunities and began to benefit from being more involved. The fourth step in making time for the work that matters is deciding what to do with the hours you’ve found. The goal is not just to be more efficient, but also to use the extra time effectively. Spending it on the highest-value activities you already do is one obvious way to go.

But two other exercises can help: Write down two or three things you should be doing but aren't, and start keeping a log to assess whether you're using your time well. Some people in the experiment found their extra time was eaten up by new problems. But the majority used it to do better work - for instance, to give employees in-depth coaching, focus on strategy, or learn more about customers’ needs. Others chose to spend the extra hours with their families. The last step is making a commitment to follow your plan.

Even though this is a self-directed process, it's crucial to share your plan with your boss, a colleague, or a mentor. Explain which activities you'll be off-loading and why, and agree to discuss what you've achieved in a few weeks’ time. If you don't do this, it will be all too easy to backslide. Your boss or a colleague may also help you identify people you can delegate work to. This exercise should significantly boost your productivity and you won't need to redesign parts of your organization, reengineer processes, or transform your business model. All you have to do is ask the right questions and act on the answers.



本篇文章主題時間管理