Useful work or administrivia?
One of my managers told me, “Bryan, you don’t work hard enough. I put in 60 or 70 hours a week. Even if I’m just in here filing stuff, I’m getting more done than you.” I couldn’t answer him. I was too amazed. He took my silence for the deep pondering of a well taught student and left. I am grateful he could not read my mind.
The hardest working people I know are paid about the same as others who work steadily and put in 40 to 45 hours a week. Both the 70 hour week and 45 hour week people are VP’s and directors. They are paid the same.
The people working seventy hours a week focus on the 3 do’s differently. They focus on working efficiently or hard. They want to get a lot of work done. At the end of the day they point to the fact that they did the work of 3 people in only 70 hours.
The 3 do’s
- Do it.
- Do it right
- Do it right now
The people working 40 to 45 hours a week also focus on the 3 do’s. But they first prioritize. They try to avoid adminstrivia, the things we are asked to do that don’t really help.
One director I worked for said, “When my boss asks for a new report, I faithfully send it to him for 3 weeks. It is always a masterpiece. The fourth week I prepare it for him and don’t send it. If he calls and asks for it I apologize and he has it in his hands in minutes. Most of the time he never asks for it. I prepare it for a couple of more weeks just in case, then I stop entirely.” He was one of the most highly rated directors in that company.
Now lets get something straight. 45 or 90 hours of wasted time will get you nowhere. Solitaire, internet poker and reading the news don’t count as well spent time. You have to be doing what’s most important for 40 hours each week to beat out the person working 70 hours.
In your job search or your job this lesson applies. Are you only putting in the time or are you focusing? Are you doing the hard things that will have the biggest impact, or are you spending your time in the same online job boards praying for miracles?
Do it. Do it right. Do it right now. Don’t get distracted. Focus on what is most important. Then take some time off with your friends and family. They’re important too.
Something To Do Today
It is time to figure out what you are doing. Really. Make a list of the things you do at work or in your job search each day and each week. Think about it. Are you consistently working on the most important stuff, or are you merely focusing on activity?