If you haven’t heard about the 80:20 rule then please have a look at How To Effectively Use The 80/20 Rule then we can look at how to have an effective 80:20 week. The idea for this is by no means original, it comes from good old Google. The appeal to me is that it is neither productive nor efficient but it is seriously effective.
The problem is that whether you work a 4 day or 5 day week the vast majority of organisations will expect you to spend all of that time on your job. Your job will be defined as completing work initiated by and given to you by the organisation. Google on the other hand use the 20% Time Rule and interestingly for many years prior to that one of my best clients had been doing the same thing.
The way in which it works is simple. Google encourages all employees to spend 20% of their time working on projects of their choice which they feel will benefit Google the most. In other words, Google trusts the employee to do work which will be outside of anything that has been prescribed by management in the hope that it will produce something different. If you are wondering if this is successful then think about a project initiated in 2001 under the 20% rule by Paul Buchheit at Goole code named Caribou. Today, we know it as Gmail.
Trust your employees to spend some time working on what they think will benefit the business. They are the experts as they see the problems at the coalface. Don’t measure productivity in traditional ways, instead look to effectiveness.
Of course there is one major problem which managers the world over need to solve first. They need their organisations to be properly resourced in order that people can spend significant amounts of time looking forward and not just firefighting the day to day. If you measure using crude productivity figures then you will show large amounts of unproductive time which looks bad to those who don’t really understand the business or who just run the business in a painting by numbers kind of a way.
The solution to this is to have leaders not managers Why Managers Are Not Effective But Leaders Are
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