Procrastination At Work Makes Launching Your Venture Prohibitive

Employment's Impact On Starting A Business

Guideline # 9: The Work You Measure Is Not Always The Work That Matters. So Measure Only What Matters!

measure performance Workers are pushed to produce busloads of reports. How much of it gets read? A large company produces at least 100 different reports a day.

Take one example:

One of the largest companies that I worked for had at least 10 different sets of reports on marketing campaigns.

There were reports for trade show booth surveys, seminar invitation emails, conference reminder emails, email response rates, email bounce rates, email opt-in rates, email opt-out rates, etc., etc., etc.

As the years passed, the inventory of spreadsheets on marketing campaigns got larger and longer pushing into the thousands. They required building a database to store all this information and a whole new system to pull the data out from various sources to populate new reports with it.

While it's good to sift through reports, report building and metrics tracking can also be a sign of gross procrastination. Who said a company will fold up just because managers don't devour the 101st report of the day?

Get to the bottom line. Filter through the essential information and read that only. Identify those tasks that are truly urgent using the most critical report information. Don't make busy work for yourself or others. Life is too short and your exciting business venture awaits for you.

The Boss Needs To Know Only What's Important

If your boss requests that you investigate an incident, do a thorough job and not a half-baked one the first time around. Use your detective skills so that you submit a full report giving all the facts and circumstances of the incident.

By doing a thorough job the first time around, you avoid having to do a re-investigation because there were questions from your boss that you couldn't answer. Have the courage to tell your boss that you'd prefer not to redo work that has provided sufficient information to meet the original objective assigned to you.

If the boss insists on a re-work, then give him a price for it.

Do not work on your dime to redo work that was done right the first time around, but that the boss is now curious about how it might have turned out, if he had given you different instructions to begin with! This is how you end up embracing someone else's procrastination in making use of the information that took you so much hard work to do and which you already got paid for.

Remember also corporate culture. There must be something about board rooms and conference rooms that make people gravitate towards them.

May be it's the mahogany wood, the jelly croissants served to keep people awake on a sugar high. Perhaps it's the new projector, the cushy leather chairs, the smell of whiteboard markers. God knows what.
conference room sleep
But meetings take up a lot of time. Not that they're useless. They're just mostly useless.

Too many meetings happening is a clear sign that people do not know what their job is and seek to avoid stepping all over other people's turfs and having their turf infiltrated by others.

If you take the number of man-hours per day consumed by meetings, multiply that number by 5 days and then multiply that again by 50 weeks, which excludes Christmas, New Year's and a 1-week vacation, what do you get? You get a monstrous number that somehow must be justified as producing some kind of return for the company.

Compare that figure to the company's annual generated revenues. If we took half of those man-hours spent on meetings and made managers stay at their desks doing their work, imagine how much more revenues could be earned.

But first they'd have to know what their bloody job truly is, so they can stay at their post doing it rather than meeting to talk about it!

Don't doubt it – meetings are a great time to daydream. They're fantastic opportunities to give ourselves to our distractions. They make a "perfectly legitimate" excuse not to have reviewed last month's accounting expenses or the sales forecast that are due next week, or some other more important task that you're paid to do.

Defeat The Meeting Hog To Leave Work Energized

Nothing builds up stress like knowing that a certain meeting is robbing you of precious time and now you won't be able to complete your work. So you might have to work late or take work home with you to do on your dime.

When will you ever start working on your own business then?

Don't allow this! Make demands of meeting organizers. Ask for an agenda ahead of time. Evaluate whether your attendance is truly necessary in light of your primary work responsibilities.

Ask for minutes for any meeting that you missed, where your presence was necessary. Show up on time, leave on time. Always conclude with action items. Make this a habit and teach others that you take your meeting time seriously.

Take control of your time. Track it. It's your most precious commodity. Everybody gets the same 24 hours per day. But however you use them up, you cannot replenish them. Guard them with your life. They are your life.

Employee commitments are the most demanding and draining activities of anyone who wants to start a business on the side. They demand time and energy. It's tempting to procrastinate starting your own business, because you put more effort serving your employer than working on your venture.

But you can gain an enormous amount of momentum in building a side business simply by improving
    a) the choice of work that you undertake for your employer
    b) how you do your work with your team
    c) how well you track your work, your energy and time
Becoming a more optimal employee frees you to do with your free time far more than a procrastinating, overworked, excuse-riddled employee can do with his.
Tomorrow we will discuss practical steps that you can take to move ever so much closer to starting your own business.

Click for Prior GuidelineClick for Next Guideline

What To Do

Please answer the following micro-poll, so you can better understand the kind of community who, like you, takes this e-course.