Busy Work

Peter Drucker, one the most celebrated management minds of the twentieth century, applies the 80/20 rule to time management. Drucker says that managers spend 80% of their time on busy work, and only 20% of their time adding value to the organization. Do you think this is true?  Is 80% of our time at work really just wasted?

In management, value flows from effective professional relationships.  And face-to-face communication brings relationships to life.  So, are we spending our time creating relationships or just keeping busy?

Here’s a test for whether you are spending your time wisely. What’s in front of you more at work, a computer or a person?

When you are in front of a computer, chances are you are doing busy work.  Here are some common time wasters:

  • Email
  • Spreadsheets
  • Reporting

If you are spending time with people, chances are you are adding value.  Leaders add value by:

  • Training (show them how)
  • Coaching (performance review, goal setting)
  • Communicating company vision and strategy

So, spend more time creating value this week.   Turn off your computer and ignore the email alerts on your phone.  Try to catch your time-wasting patterns, and break them. Talk to customers, associates, peers, and managers.  Build the relationships that create real value in the organization.