The one question I’m constantly asked, although really it tends to be more of a statement as most of the people who ask aren’t really interested in hearing my reply, is “I don’t know how you do it all in 2 days a week”.
We work in an industry that for a long time has had a culture of stress and long hours, and an unnecessary 9-5 grind that has created a cult of workaholics.
Workaholics who still dread their Monday mornings, and waste away their Fridays due to the relief of it being the final day of the week and the longed for weekend.
Why is it that those who are working 70% of their week are still deemed to be better at getting things done, and therefore being more productive than us part-timers or my preferred term flexible workers?
Businesses can very much be run and managed very successfully on part-time hours and here’s why:
1. Just because you’re at your desk 8-10 hours a day doesn’t mean you’re being productive. Even the best employees only achieve about 4 hours of actual work in the office, particularly when surrounded by so many distractions. I have to manage those 2 (although it’s actually 3 days counting Saturday which is a work day for me), and split my work into short intense bursts so that I not only manage my energy but also get more done.
2. I am passionate about what I do and love the freedom my work status gives me. Working 3 days means I can spend the other 4 days with my daughter not just during the precious early years, but the ones that follow. Studies have proven that happy workers are more productive workers. I have time to nurture the relationships that are important to me, and take better care of myself, this gives me a healthier energy that supports my emotional, mental and physical health.
3. Having less hours for me creates a heightened sense of prioritisation, meaning that I have become much better at prioritising those high-value activities than I ever was working Monday to Friday, 9-5.
4. I adopt the 80/20 rule. 80% of production comes from 20% of effort, so working less hours I constantly identify what those 20% activities are each week and eliminate the rest.
5. I don’t work on the always available attitude. Even though we now find ourselves driven by an instant gratification led society and world it doesn’t mean you have to be switched on and available 24/7. I clearly let my contacts, customers and peers know the days I am available and how they can reach me for anything urgent outside those hours. It is incredibly rare that I will receive an email or call outside of the days that I am working, and the majority of my calls and emails get done during the time that I am working.
6. Automation, automation, automation. I schedule and automate the more mundane and repetitive tasks of the business by truly embracing and allowing technologies to free up time for me to do the more pressing and complex tasks, which in turn then increases my output.
7. I recognise that there will be times when I need or may want to work an extra day, or need to pull a 12 hour. I work in the events industry after all, it’s a given when an event is approaching. However, I keep in my mind constantly that my priority is my daughter, and if she needs me then I need to be there for her. Life happens, and life and work should no longer be separated, they are both part of living.
8. Lastly, I don’t measure my work by the number of hours I work but by my output. As a business owner I have a strong production mindset that looks at what has been achieved during the week, and ultimately how that has impacted on the revenue coming into the business. I don’t ever feel pressured or obligated just because of the industry I work in to be working longer hours, or to feel any less of an event professional because I don’t live my life on trains, planes and automobiles, or in hotels. That’s because for me my success is not measured by how many hours I work, it’s measured by the difference I make, the impact I have and what I have achieved, and most importantly by the quality of the relationships I have and ultimately my quality of life.
So in a nutshell, that’s how I do it!
Until next time #eventprofs…