How to Find an Extra Hour in 3 Easy Steps

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Springtime is almost here! The promise of sunshine and warmer temperatures makes most of us smile wide enough to crack the dry skin on our cheeks that has accumulated during the cold winter months.

As a rite of passage into the next season, most of us in the United States must pass a productivity challenge: the time change.

We affectionately refer to this weekend’s time change as “Spring Forward”.  It brings to mind sunshine, flowers and bunnies.

white flower

So What’s The Problem?

There’s a dark side.  When we bounce ahead, we lose one whole hour of our already precious 168 hours that we are allotted for the week.

We each have a critical decision to make. Lose an hour of sleep and drag ourselves out of bed before we’re fully rested. Or sleep in and spend the entire day feeling one hour behind.

In addition to that, we’re just getting used to having some daylight peek through our windows to get us going in the morning.  We will once again be relegated to morning darkness.

This can wreak havoc on our sleep schedule and require some time to adjust.  Any negative affect on sleep has the potential to negatively affect productivity.

We do it for the sake of saving electricity costs and it’s coming whether we like it or not.  Let’s ensure it doesn’t take a bite out of our output for the week.

The Supervisor’s Challenge

If you are a business owner, leader or supervisor, you’re responsible for not only your own production but that of others.  So rolling the clock forward affects you more because it can have a negative effect on each person on your team.

In addition, you’re burdened with reports, meetings, emails, and supporting your staff on top of producing work of your own.  How can we make sure hopping on this time pogo stick doesn’t hurt us? Can we even go beyond reversing the time loss and reclaim an additional hour of time?

Below are three steps that I’ve watched the calmest people in these roles commit to and succeed.

Three Easy Steps

1. Capture your own golden hours.


For many people the most productive time of day is in the morning when they begin work.  But others are night owls or find their flow at other times.  Pay attention over the next week and identify when your best work hours are.

Then guard them with your life.  Block the time and mark it as “busy”.  Resist the temptation to book this time for a meeting.

This is your time.  It is worth twice as much as other times in terms of what you can get accomplished.

You’ve probably heard this advice before.  So why aren’t you doing it?

You might think it doesn’t work for you.    Have you tried it?  I mean, really tried it?  Not just once but over a week, two weeks or a month?

Commit to doing this habit and you will feel a difference in your ability to manage your work.

2. Remove unnecessary work and delegate or automate the rest.

For one full week, question everything you do.  Reports are a great place to look to uncover time.  That report that you’ve given to your boss for years, does she even read it?  Talk to her about it.  How does she use it?

If it it’s not useful, stop creating it.  If it is, can anyone else put it together for you?

Only work on things that only you can do, delegate the rest.  Questioning everything you do will uncover at least an hour per week and typically much more.

Some people feel they don’t have time to do this. You really don’t have time not to do it!  Look at it as an investment.

If you spend two hours this week and it saves you only an hour a week for the remaining 49 work weeks of the year, that is over 2,000% return on your time investment!

3. Focus on people.

Finding time in your day not only requires that you stop doing the unnecessary things but also requires that you focus on doing the things that will result in the greatest impact.  If you supervise other people, you should spend a big chuck of your time interacting with those people.

Supervisors who are more often than not behind closed doors working, in meetings or out of the building are typically not as effective as those who have regular face time with the people they are there to support.

If you feel you don’t have time to do this, check out #1 and #2 above.  You must make the time.  It will make those who you work with more productive, and that is what you were hired to do.

If you dread spending time with your people, it may be a sign that supervision is not the role for you.  Not everyone thrives on working closely with other people.  If you prefer to be in your office getting your work done, you are an individual contributor and every office needs more of those!

It takes courage to admit you are in the wrong job and some more to take the steps to find which one is best for you.  But it is worth it.  You and the people reporting to you will be happier and therefore more productive.

It’s More Fun When We Share!

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts about how these ideas have worked for you, not worked for you or other ideas you have about how to reclaim the lost hour.  Please post in the comment section below.

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Here’s to making more time!


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