How often do you go through your day constantly redirecting your attention away from your work to address every new issue that pops up in front of you? If you’re like me, the answer is all day long.
How to balance the work I need to focus on with the constant barrage of the unexpected in my day got me thinking about how I spend my time any given day. What I’m intrigued by this year is the notion of proportion. By that I mean, we all have a finite amount of time and resources — mentally, physically and financially. We can’t add more hours into the day any more than we can instantly increase our physical, mental and financial resources. So I’m evaluating whether I am spending the right amount of time on things that matter the most, both personally and professionally. What will the outcome be if I consciously decide to allocate more of my time working on things that have the greatest impact?
As health club operators, there’s no getting around having to address new issues on a daily basis. But we do have control over how we spend our time outside of those hot-button items.
At work, my goal this year is to spend a higher proportion of time working on the things that potentially have the greatest impact on the business. I believe Stephen Covey called it the Important/Not Urgent quadrant. These are the items that don’t have a scorching deadline but have a great return on time invested, like long-range planning and strategy sessions.
But it goes beyond that. I am thinking about departments that are large revenue and income producers versus small departments with very little financial impact. My focus is to shift more time toward the areas with the most impact. With staff development, I want to spend a disproportionate amount of time with staff members who have the highest impact on the business and the greatest upside potential. We have all spent too much time with a pain-in-the-neck employee who has very little impact on the business. This may mean severing ties much quicker than previously planned.
On a personal level, I’m working to proportion more of my time on future planning than on past situations or experiences. I know it’s a common cliché, but there’s a reason the rear-view mirror is a fraction of the size of the front windshield — forward focus. I’m resolving to reproportion my thinking to focus on future planning and education, activity that actually has a return for my brain power time. I’m also challenging myself to spend some proportion of my time committed to learning.
In writing this I ask you to think about what is the best use of your time to improve the business and be disciplined, selfish and focused on the things that matter the most. Resolve to avoid time-wasting, low-impact tasks, and hopefully by the end of the year we will all see great results.