Especially for SME’s – 39: Time – Avoiding so-called “busy” jobs and improving effectiveness in genuine busy jobs.

11 May 2022


SME 1: That is a great observation: identifying forced idle times. What do we do about busy times?

Mr. Lowe: As I said we have to improve the rate of output during busy time. For this at your level, You must have a to do list, listing both the jobs to be finished on a day and also futuristic jobs that we discussed. Not only prepare a to do list but you should assign a priority for each jobs. It is not enough if we have them in our mind, we have to have it in a list written down in front of us. Similarly when we are busy we may not be optimally busy. The one completely avoidable busy time is when we search for anything that we need or others need from us. If only we have a specific place for everything and make sure we put the thing back in its place after use, how many hours a day we can save and put the time so saved to better use. Even if we put the time earned out of avoiding searching to relaxing or doing nothing at all, it is much better for us, because this searching becomes a habit otherwise and we start enjoying searching and pride ourselves with the feeling we are experts in searching and locating missing things. Searching, is a completely avoidable waste of time, thinking we are after all busy, searching!

SME 2: My secretary is very good in searching; she pulls out the things that I want right from my own table!

Mr. Lowe: One subtle observation here is: When we at CEO or owner level or at top levels of management do a task that is directly or indirectly giving + to the correctly chosen SS for that task we are usefully busy. But if we are doing a task that is not even required as a step to give + to the correctly chosen SS for that task, the task we are doing is avoidable. The thought we are busy doing such a task is erroneous- as erroneous as we think we are busy searching!

Mr. Lowe: Having thus reduced idle times, forced idle waiting times and avoidable and illusionary busy times, we now come to the actual time when we are in fact busy. The first thing we should do, is to question the roles we are now doing. Should we do these roles ourselves or should we ask some other person who can do that equally well or even better? You will find the trivial many roles accounting for two thirds of the time you are spending will be knocked out of your to-do list altogether! Or, can you think only which specific tasks within the processes – both vital few and trivial many- are vital few and only those, if you think there is no one else to do those tasks, you do and leave out the trivial many tasks within the trivial many roles at least out of your domain of doing and spending time.

SME 1: That is a good idea to reduce the time we spend every day on trivial many tasks and processes, as e.g., signing every cheque, checking every petty cash expense and several other activities which we do not let others do the tasks. But let us also remember doing something suboptimal is better than doing nothing at all or remaining idle. If you are doing suboptimal things as the head of your unit or family, your unit and family will be suboptimal too.

Mr. Lowe: You can take a look at the chart below if you want to know what exactly I mean by effective delegation at your level which is a must for your unit. Do you agree with the results to number of tasks ratio in this chart and how much of your valuable time as the head can be released by following this chart in practice?

SME’s: We definitely agree.

Mr. Lowe: But for this you have to first put your objectives and the key and non-key factors that are responsible to produce those activities.

SME’s: We get it and get back to you if we are in doubt.



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