Following the theme of January TIME and the start of a new year, I’ve been thinking about what would be my ideal split of time at work. I came to the following:
- 60% on predefined tasks. I have a set of deliverables (big reports, projects, etc.) that is defined before the start of the year.
- 20% on unexpected/new tasks. There are always new things than land in my plate that were not predefined, somehow I managed to deal with them but it’s not an ideal set up.
- 20% time to reflect and creative work. I think this is super important for my personal and career growth. If I’m focusing 100% in defined things, I don’t have space to think beyond what I am doing. So ideally, I’d like to have space to think, reflect, and have a long term view of issues at work to better support management for strategic decisions.
This split is definitely a depart from the usual set up, which is about 100% on predefined tasks. Maybe that works for some people, but given the amount of unexpected demands I get throughout the year, I always ended up doing 120% if not more. To safeguard my personal time and also ensure I deliver the highest quality of work, I need to get my manager to agree to schedule those 20%. And the 20% of “free” time sounds like a luxury but other successful companies, especially those in creative work, do schedule it for their employees, like google and apple.
For this set up to work, my main challenge is to free up my predefined tasks so it could reduce from 100% to 60%, which requires management support. Let’s see if I get to convince him.
I am grateful to be in a position to even think about this change, I know. The other day, hubby was working on a Saturday and I was annoyed with him as it was supposed to be family time. He responded: “not everyone can say ‘i won’t respond emails on weekends like you'”. Very true. For that to be possible, one needs to be valued at work and that I draw my boundaries. Going further, even if it might impact on my career progression, I don’t care. My time to relax with my family is more important than getting any promotion. I made my mind about it so drawing boundaries came easy. (This is applying essentialism principles)
If I do a time tracking of Lizzy, I think it would be 40% sleep, 10% eat, 50% of play.! hahaha…. eat and play are her favorite activities. She even asked me (after we visited the cemetery) if she can eat if she’s dead. 😆