Thoughts on achieving more by working less

Whilst preparing my annual report to the board of trustees and referring back to my previous year’s report my first reaction is that I seem to have achieved more in 2016 than I managed in 2015. In some respects this would be a logical outcome based on 2016 being my second full year in this CEO role, and a direct result of becoming more familiar with my tasks. However, my diary tends to tell a different story in that the number of hours I seem to be committing to the task of being CEO has significantly declined.

Always looking for an opportunity to research and learn from experiences I noted the following comparisons:

2015:

A typical working week, with no out-of-office appointments:

07:30 am – 8:45 am. Commute on the train, working on papers and emails.

08:50 am – 09:30 am. Commute Underground train, reading working papers.

09:30 am – 4:40 pm. Typical working day, no lunch break

4:35 pm – 5:20 pm. Commute Underground train, reading working papers.

5:30 pm – 6:40 pm. Commute on the train, working on papers and emails.

Five days a week results in 55 hours a week.

2016:

A typical working week, with no out-of-office appointments:

07:30 am – 8:45 am. Commute on the train, planning and thinking

08:50 am – 09:30 am. Commute Underground train, private reading (books, magazines)

09:30 am – 4:20 pm. Typical working day, one hour for lunch at the gym or walking

4:30 pm – 5:10 pm. Commute Underground train, private reading (books, magazines)

5:30 pm – 6:40 pm. Commute on the train, working on papers and emails.

Four days a week results in 34 hours a week. Fridays I now work from home and usually work for 7 hours, allowing time for a swim at lunchtime and two dog walks at the beginning and end of the working day. Total of 41 hours – a saving of 14 hours a week.

Where and how have I saved those 14 hours? It could be improved plans, the new strategy, method, order, technology, spending more time mentoring my staff, indeed there are many ideas I have embraced over the past year. What I do know is I am achieving a lot more in less hours per week. Moreover, I am using those saved hours for reading, writing, exercising, relaxing and volunteer activities – despite spending 4 1/2 hours a day commuting my quality of life has never been better.

Over the coming weeks I will explore in this blog some of the ideas I have embraced which has directly resulted in significant time savings and efficiencies.

How did I land up in a ‘hipster’ magazine?

Last summer my blogging colleague the Grey Fox contacted me to say a talented local photographer in London called Chris Aadland was looking for subjects for an upcoming magazine article called “Men and their dogs’ – would I be interested in being photographed? This would be a first – I have never been professionally photographed.

I made an appointment to meet with Chris at the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park, across the road from my Club in Piccadilly. It did not take long to learn how I must “keep my chin up”, smile (endlessly), look relaxed (whilst being concerned about how I appeared!). However, my aged dog Oscar did not share in this new found skill set – he simply refused to look at the camera. Easily distracted by everything (Oscar is recovering from a stroke, has no teeth left following a gum infection, is 15 years old and deaf!), the longer the shoot took the more tourists kept stopping to take photographs and added to the distractions for Oscar. We tried standing, crouching, even me holding Oscar like a baby in my arms. Then, after countless images (and the heat of June getting to me) Oscar finally turned to look at the camera and voila – an image to keep!

 

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The article appeared in MITT (Men in this town) in November, and I proudly traveled across London to Islington to the only shop in London who stock the magazine (the magazine is based in Australia) to purchase my copy. We (Oscar and I) are very proud to have been selected from the many men Chris photographed to appear in the final article.

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Whilst showing my staff in the office the magazine they commented on it being very ‘hipster’ in its style – I had completely missed that in my enthusiasm to read the single article! Anyway, it has raised my credibility with my younger staff – a 56 year old man in a hipster magazine. Whatever next!