The Chief of [email protected]#$ing Everything Officer – No more!
By Julia Capon
A few years ago a friend was gifted a desk sign from her team declaring her as the “Queen of [email protected]#$*ing everything”. An epic accolade, right?
Was she great at her job? YES. Did she do great things for her team and organisation? YES. Did she have a to-do list the length of a football field? YES. Was she doing waaaay too many hours? YES. Was she on the verge of burnout? I think you know the answer…
Does this sound familiar?
It does to me…Go back a few years and I had an email signature with my work title as the “All-rounder and Founder” of Do Good Jobs (it even rhymed!), for years I prided myself on being the Chief Do-er.
But, Do Good Jobs was stuck in a rut, not going anywhere fast. It was like my play button ▶ was jammed on, with the same tracks on repeat. With the playlist featuring: Write that newsletter, approve that job, deal with that email question, adjust the website, post to social media…
I enjoyed doing these things, and I think I do them pretty damn well, BUT I began to realise that I was stuck in the DOING.
I knew I needed more time to DREAM and scheme about the next evolution for Do Good Jobs. I was dreaming about having more time to learn. More time to connect and build new relationships and networks. More time to build strong relationships. More time for systems. More time, for me.
I had started reading and absorbing what I could about getting more productive to get even more stuff done. But the more I read, the more I realised…
All the gurus on productivity and efficiency were saying the same things – it’s not about getting more stuff done and being more productive – it’s about focusing on the right things, the most important things and to learn to just STOP doing all the rest.
Ha, sounds simple right?
What it means is you need to figure out where you add the most value – where you help move the needle for your cause, or make the MOST impact. Do you bring the most value by doing admin, bank reconciling, and writing that newsletter, OR is it building relationships, developing your strategy, and talking to funders?
How much of your time do you spend working where you add the most value? How much time do you spend working ON your organisation and its growth versus working IN it? I’ll take a guess (backed by evidence from students who I have worked with in my Delegate for Impact workshop) that it is probably a lot less than you realise and a lot less than you’d like.
Side note: I’m just about to open the doors again to my popular Delegate for Impact workshop – if you want to be the first to hear about this and our special open day offer, add your name to the earlybird list here.
Win back time!
I know it sounds scary, but the first place I started – and recommend EVERYONE start – is with a time audit.
I feel like I am losing you already…BUT please, grab the life buoy…. stay with me!
Time is THE most valuable resource we have. We can’t make more of it, we cannot get it back. Nothing you can do can buy you back time. So we have to get better at using it wisely, or risk finding ourselves in the same position one or 10 years down the track. Spinning wheels and not getting anywhere fast.
I did my first ever time audit in early 2018. Tracking every 15 minutes of my time at work. This data was powerful. It shed new light on where I was spending my time – and spoiler alert – it definitely wasn’t on the things that were going to move the needle
Prioritising like Eisenhower…
With my time audit data, I was then able to analyse the use of my time using the Eisenhower Matrix, said to be how US President Eisenhower organised his workload and priorities. It separates your actions based on four possibilities.
- Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
- Important, but not urgent (tasks you will lock in and schedule to do later).
- Urgent, but not important (tasks you need to delegate to someone else).
- Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will delete).
Eisenhower recognised that “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”
When I applied this to my time audit data, I had so many a-ha moments. It highlighted a whole load of things that needed to change, how much time I was spending on the not important, and how much time I was spending in quadrants 1, 3 + 4.
My a-ha moments
- I needed to invest in streamlining and automating my systems as much as possible. I’d already achieved a lot, but the audit highlighted a few other time wasters.
- There was plenty I was doing that could be decreased (25% of my week was spent in meetings!), so I needed to figure out how to decrease these – and one simple step was bringing in a calendar management tool (calendly) and making my default meeting times 30 mins, NOT one hour!
- 60%-80% of my time was spent doing a lot of things I was really good at, but that pretty much anyone could do. From this audit, I hired my first team member to take on the admin, finance and customer service tasks
- I was stuck working IN, not ON the organisation. Not making time for things like networking, visioning, dreaming up new ideas, running trainings and courses – the things I needed to be doing if I wanted to make impact and change.
Does any of this ring true to you too?
If I hadn’t done this time audit, I would probably still be in the same place – an overworked, wornout, one-woman band… reconciling my banking.
So, for any of you out there who say “I don’t have enough time to do everything”, my first question is SHOW ME THE DATA. Commit to a time audit to recognise where your time truly goes and then make adjustments. Let’s automate, delegate, decrease, delete and get on with the important, impact making work only you can do.
And while I tell people to do time audits, very few actually do this. Those who DO… Oh. My. Gosh. It changes everything. So here is your moment of truth. Will you commit to a one week time audit?
Delete, decrease, delegate and do
If I haven’t convinced you to do a time audit, I encourage you to think about what ONE important but not urgent thing you know would make an impact on your cause if you were able to give it more time?
When you identify this, think about how you will go about delegating, outsourcing, finding volunteer support and asking for help to get rid of the other, busy work that leaves you spinning wheels and getting nowhere fast, so you can instead focus on this ONE activity and start making an impact.
Learning to delegate can feel daunting. The concept of letting go or delegating might sound great in theory, but you are probably thinking ‘I just don’t have the time to put in place the systems AND train someone to do the things I do.’ Or, perhaps you have tried to let go and delegate in the past but it didn’t go very well. It’s time to try again…
Delegation and documentation don’t have to be hard
Over the past four years, I have learned so much that has revolutionised my way of working, allowed Do Good Jobs to grow significantly year on year, increased our team, and freed me up to focus on the work that I both enjoy doing AND makes most impact.
This year I am delivering my Delegate for Impact workshop for the third time – sharing my tips on how you can learn to delegate to free up more time to make a bigger impact on your cause. It’s a 2 x 1.5 hr workshop run in May, where I teach simple ways to delegating tasks, recording standard operating procedures (without looong and boring documents!) and setting your organisation up to grow with ease.
Be the first to hear about the doors to Delegate for Impact opening.
Registrations will be open for a very short window of time in April – so don’t miss your change. As a sweetener, those on the earlybird list who commit to take action on the open day will also get access to my mini course on “Winning back time..”. Interested? Add your name to the early bird list here.
Your cause needs you to be the best version of yourself – and to show up as your best, you need to get rid of all the things that are slowing you down. Holding onto the badge of Chief Everything Officer isn’t serving you, or your cause. And when you focus on the core things that really shift the needle, I promise you, it will make a HUGE difference!