Your Productivity – Here’s Something Rather Scary

melted clock

In my previous post I took you through some steps to get your year started in the right way. I hope that you followed what I said and that you now have a clear strategic destination that you are heading for because if you’re not on your way or if you’re heading off in the wrong direction or not fully prepared then you’re losing precious time. And I mean precious – if you think, because we’re only in week 3 out of 52, you’ve got plenty of time on your hands…think again.

Go to that previous post to recap.

It’s really important that you have because here’s the scary bit – how’s this for focusing the mind – even though we’re only into our 3rd full week of the year…

You are in fact already almost through the first quarter of the year!

What? No I’m not. I’m in my 3rd week of the first month…not even a third of the way through the first quarter.
You are if you think in terms of productive working days. And it gets worse… Ok, let’s break this down…

There are 365 days in a year. Now let’s say you work 5 days a week and that you take 30 days off for holidays plus the public holidays (7 remaining for the UK). Now, let’s say you have 10 days in the year when your day is busy doing other stuff or you’re ill or you simply have a crappy, unproductive day.

Assuming you started work on the 5th January, right now (as I’m writing this) 12 working days of the year have gone.

Without spending too time on the maths, which is always dangerous for me, that adds up to 59 working days or 11.8 working weeks gone. (Remember 1 working week is 5 days.) So, if you add up your holidays, your unproductive days and the days already gone, one whole working quarter is nearly up.

Now you can argue the detail of the maths and the relativistic way I’ve bunched a whole load of days that are spread throughout the year. My point is that with regards to productive working days you have about 3 quarters left in total. Now, no one is productive for the full 8 hours. Even productive people need short breaks, lunch and so on. So we need to break down these days into productive hours.

On average, how many hours are you actually productive? Last year I heard about some research that said the average office worker is productive around 2 ½ hours a day! The rest of the day is taken up surfing, chatting, useless meetings and that time stealer, your email inbox.

So let’s say out of your 8-hour day you are on average productive for 5 of them. That’s not bad. So out of the 200 ((52-11.8)*5) or so working days, or 1600 hours, that are left, 5 hours a day are productive. That equates to 1000 hours. Divide those hours back into 8-hour days and you have…

125 productive 8-hour working days or 25 productive working weeks or about 6 months.

So in fact, when it comes to productivity…

Half the year has already gone!

And that’s if you’re productive 5 hours per working day.

By the way, I pretty sure of the maths, but it’s the message that’s important. Actually, my wife laughs at how I can struggle over simple maths. I pointed out that for years all my maths was letters and symbols…there wasn’t a lot of 2+2 when doing quantum physics and trying to figure out whether the Schrodinger’s cat would still be in his damn box.

So, back to the fact that you’ve just lost half a year of productivity…sobering isn’t it? If you now feel a little knot in your stomach and a sense of urgency, good, because none of us can really afford to waste these precious hours.

Productivity and focus is a big issue for everyone and takes planning and discipline. It’s something I’ll be talking a lot more about this year.

Now, you might argue that you don’t take so much time off, that you work longer hours and not working weekends is a bonus. Well, that’s not actually a good thing and without doubt the extra stress that goes with continuous long hours, and little time off will reduce your productivity.

If you work long days and take little time off, ask yourself why you do and others don’t. Your business isn’t really any different from theirs.

Make one of your goals this year to work less hours during the week and only at weekends if you really have to. It is possible but it needs certain things to make happen; a clear destination and strategy on how to reach it, your business flowing efficiently and you having focus and discipline.

And it needs you to have these in place as soon as possible.

And if you need help to make this happen then get it. Whether it’s buying a book, investing in a course or getting direct help, it’ll cost far less than the precious days and weeks used up figuring out how to do this yourself.