Stop working Fridays

1st November 2022

All of us would love to free-up time.

It might be so we can stop working Fridays. Or spend more time with the family. Do more of our hobbies… or simply stop the unending treadmill of back-to-back meetings…

When child #3 was born (she’s nearly 14), I decided I wanted to stop working Fridays. So I did the exercise you’ll read below. And as a result, I achieved two things – (1) I stopped working Fridays and (2) my business grew by a third.

(Which shows that this technique must be really good. Or that I was ridiculously inefficient before!)

Let’s assume it’s all to do with the technique. Here it is…

1. Review the LAST fortnight

Review everything in your diary in the last fortnight. And for each thing, ask yourself four questions:

  1. Was it needed? With the benefit of hindsight, did you need to do that activity at all? What harm would it have done if you didn’t do it?
  2. Were you needed? Even if the activity had to happen, did you need to attend it? Could you have sent someone in your place? Or asked them to send the Actions Arising after it?
  3. Were they needed? Did every attendee need to be there? For example, was there a meeting of ten people, but only three spoke – the other seven said nothing, had their cameras off, were on mute, didn’t contribute?
  4. Could it be shorter? Could the 60 minute meeting have taken 45? Could the weekly update happen every two weeks? Could the face-to-face meeting have been virtual? Did the duration really have to be a multiple of 30 minutes?!

(Extra hint: spend time on this exercise, and do it properly. It took me an hour. I printed off the last two weeks’ diaries. I really challenged myself – ‘I MUST find time savings!’ I didn’t ask the positively-worded “can I justify this being in my diary?” (because we can justify anything to ourselves!) Instead, I used the negatively-phrased “would it do any harm if I removed/reduced this?”)

2. Review the NEXT fortnight

Doing this previous exercise will show you huge time savings. For each of the four points above:

  1. If it isn’t needed, next time – cancel it
  2. If you aren’t needed, next time – decline it
  3. If they aren’t needed, next time – un-invite them
  4. If it could be shorter, next time – shorten it

So, now look at the next two weeks in your diary. For everything scheduled, take the necessary actions to remove/reduce them.

You might not save ten hours a week.

But you’ll save a lot more than none!

Action Point

This is the only thing I’ve ever done that (1) took me one hour and (2) saved me ten hours per week (3) every week (4) for the rest of my life.

It’s well worth making a cuppa, grabbing a pen and spending one hour on this. It is literally life changing.

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