In LEAN Six Sigma, there is an acronym for 8 different forms of operational waste called DOWNTIME (defects, overproduction, waiting, not utilizing staff talent, travel, inventory, motion, excess processing). This has me thinking about my own time this month as we head into the new year with big audacious (maybe not hairy) goals. Where will the time to make these things happen actually come from?
When we are trying to achieve something new, the most difficult challenge is often finding the time to integrate new habits or the actions necessary to make progress. I've designed this acronym to help assess our current use of time and figure out what stays and what goes.
Top value/impact - for things you do now that give you the biggest return
Investment - for things you do that contribute significantly to your future results
Must do - necessary tasks for living and working like commuting, meals, cleaning, reports, documentation
Entertainment - games, TV, social media, social outings, etc.
The key is not to see these categories as good or bad, but simply as a place to strategize the usage of your 24 hours per day.
Ask the following questions:
· Are you happy with the balance of where you spend your time?
· Are there must-do's that could be reduced, delegated or outsourced?
· Is your entertainment time giving you the return you desire or could some of it be cut back or shifted?
· Are you investing your time in a focused way that will result in specific areas of growth?
· Have you fallen into a pattern of doing things because you can and not because you should?
· Are you letting others dictate your time allocation?
If you've answered these questions honestly, you probably have a few ah-ha's and actions in your mind, so take a few minutes now and create your plan for the next 30 days. Mine looks something like this:
|My time investments are scattered and not focused||Determine focus area for the month and deep dive|
|I'm spending too much time on tv and other low impact distractions||Cut TV to 3 nights per week and keep FB/Instagram to weekly check-in.|
|There are clearly must-dos that could be outsourced in my world but I need to see them as investments and not just added expenses. Just because I can do it, doesn’t mean I should.||Evaluate workload & "home load" for outsourcing|
Your action plan will and should look different, but if you're intensely honest with yourself, you'll probably find the changes necessary to make time for the achievements that will change the quality of your life this year. These goals you have for a better life will not just happen without a sincere effort.
Let's get after it!