Supposedly, time management is everything. We convince ourselves that if we schedule things just right we can check off everything on our to-do lists.
This is completely and utterly false.
Obsessively scheduling your day to fit everything in, from home chores to day-to-day work, is counterproductive. You're focusing on the trees rather than the forest. Look at the big picture and plan smarter. Start delegating.
Outsource Your Chores
Our work ethic today is extremely individualistic. Decades before you could rely on your communities of family, friends, religious groups, neighbors, etc. to lend a hand washing dishes or watching the kids. To make up for this new lack, you take on all the work. And you "time manage" every little detail to get it all done. But in the end, this isn't going to cut it.
Elizabeth Yin, a partner at 500 Startups and an entrepreneur, once took inventory of her week. She divided up the days by hours and the tasks she completed during them. She found she was spending an unreasonable amount of time cleaning her house and not enough with her family. Even though she meticulously planned her hours out, it didn't keep her from overworking herself. She felt like she was "drowning." It wasn't until her mentor told her her life was unsustainable that she made the change.
She finally hired a cleaning lady to help her out. It took her a bit to get over her natural inclination to do everything herself. She even stepped up and started helping clean the dishes. Despite this, she still felt relieved after. Her house was clean and she saved herself a few hours. And her cleaning lady walked away with a check. Everyone wins.
Don't Reinvent The Wheel
Just like you can outsource tasks to other people in your home life, you can do it at work.
It's pretty common for tech companies to build their tools in-house. Maybe you want to redesign how sales work, so you build your own sales CRM. Maybe customer fluency in your product is key, so you design your own help desk.
Sometimes, however, you're just reinventing the wheel. It's tempting to build your own tools because it feels original. But originality doesn't always mean efficiency. You may be sacrificing your product for your ego.
For every startup, speed is vital. Your product's competitiveness in the market depends on how quickly you get it out. Outsourcing can help you pick up speed.
ReadMe, a company whose only product is API documentation, is an example of a company you can outsource to. Their founder Gregory Koberger is the first to say his company's developer documentation tool isn't the "sexiest" business, but it's still incredibly useful insofar as it does the work for you. Similarly, Auth0 does all your user authentication on your apps. Another thing you can check off your to-do list.
Some tech leaders vouch by the idea "move fast and break things." A SaaS company helps you do that. Just like a cleaning lady could save you a few hours, outsourcing to another company might save you a few weeks. It adds up to more time to devote to your product.
Sacrifice The Short Run For the Long Run
Handing off tasks within your team is even harder than hiring out. You know people are going to make mistakes. You know they're not going to do the job the way you would. And you don't feel like there are enough hours in the day to teach them how to do it exactly right. But a sacrifice in the short run pays off in the long.
Parkinson's Law states that "work expands to fill the time available for its completion." Basically, if you give yourself time to do things, you'll fill that time up with work. We're all guilty of this. You think that you need to do everything, and so you do, even though it may not be the best use of your time. Lose the ego and start delegating.
"If you want people to learn, you have to permit them to make mistakes and figure out how to correct them," says Jeffrey Pffeffer, Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. When you delegate tasks to your employees and give them the room to do it, you're investing in your team.
Having the freedom to try things out, make mistakes, and learn encourages your employees to be better at their jobs.
And with all their mistake-making, your team might even find new ways of doing things. Experimentation leads to innovation. They might even figure out a way to do the job you gave them better than you could.
Pass The Baton
Today's work culture is extremely individualistic--we think that to get things done we need to do them ourselves. But that's not true. Delegation is a key aspect to any smart planning. From your home life to your work life, assigning tasks to others can boost your productivity and simultaneously reduce your workload. You can do more by literally doing less.