Most traditional office jobs measured by a clock are out-dated (pun intended)
It sounds great. A 40 hour-a-week job where you spend eight hours of your day in an office. The reality is you probably only work 25-30 hours a week. Most of the rest of the time is waiting for someone to get you something or in meetings that could have easily been an email or 5-minute call.
The truth is your bosses have their own tasks to attend to and can't spend all of their time assigning you work. They're busy just like you. They have goals and objectives that make up those goals just like anyone else. Your job makes up a small part of those goals. You should do it as efficiently and to the best of your ability. However, keeping someone at an office for a set amount of time is pointless.
Everyone should do their tasks and be allowed to live their lives. We should be focused on maximum output and employee happiness over total hours worked.
The only people who should have consistent shift work are people who are frontline with customers.
Fix: Jobs should be task based
The better way to operate is to have a task list for any given day, week, month or quarter with expectations for completion dates. Allow flexibility on where someone works and when they work. Coming from the start-up world I would sometimes have to work 14 hour days to accomplish the goals I needed to and at other times I could work 3-4 hours and be perfectly fine. I could leave in the middle of the day to go eat and work out, then come back. Often I worked until 5-6 PM, but I felt good from moving around mid-day.
What was nice about that is it left me room to handle errands, fitness and other tasks in my everyday life that are important to me. Do you know hard it is to get your car serviced or get a haircut when you work 9-5 every single weekday? Everyone crams into those few available Saturday or evening spots.
How much more relaxed would you be if you finish all of your tasks by Thursday afternoon allowing you to grocery shop, hit the gym and get your car serviced before hitting the road Friday afternoon for a 2 1/2 day weekend?
Constant email bombardment
We all hate it. Ping...ping...ping...ping. When I first took over my job I was still getting forwarded all of my predecessor's emails. Between my mail and hers I was getting about 150-250 emails per day. In reality about 90% of this was junk I could ignore. It was an amazing relief to disconnect her old account to mine. But with every notification to avalanche against me built.
What makes the matter worse is the expectation that you have your work email attached to a device that you take home with you. For a while I got away with this, because I refused to step into the smartphone world. Ultimately I ran out of options at the phone store and got an iPhone. Every time my phone vibrated it brought a little bit of stress with it, like "Oh, there is one more thing."
I started reading some time management books and email was seen as a constant distraction. Essentially if you claim to be multi-tasking you're probably not good at any tasking. Focus in one doing one task really well and then move onto the next. Mute your email until your next time you assigned to check it.
Fix: Only check your email 2-3 times a day. Never check it once you leave for the day.
This was a game changing behavior move. Once I relieved that I didn't need to check my email inbox every time one came in it allowed me to focus on projects. If you invest all of your time to solving the shallow problems that you get in an email inbox then you won't have time for the deeper more time consuming problems. I check my email 30 minutes after getting to the office, before I leave for lunch and then one hour before I leave for the day. I really only answer what I need to.
When I'm at a conference I will only check my email once a day. In my mind, my job is to be absorbing as many ideas and techniques as possible at the conference, not attending to needs at the home office. It is a waste of time if I am not meeting with peers and spending every free moment on my phone or in my room. What is the point of going?
The constant 24-7 connection is a lot of the reason, combined with virtually unlimited entertainment at your fingertips, are some of the main reasons there is less civid engagement from young people. Also an environment where both partners have to work to maintain a household of expenses beyond what they need.
Minimal meetings or committees
There is no phrase that gives me more chills than "Let's form a committee". What this really means is we don't waste any of our time, so let's create more meetings for someone else. I'm a bigger fan of handing out tasks to the people that best can handle them and reporting back to the group ASAP.
Most meetings could be a simple email with an assignment. Back away from that person and let them come up with their own ideas. The problem with meetings is that often the highest paid person in the room gets deferred to. This isn't fair to that person nor the others in the room. An open and honest dialogue has to be had to accomplish anything. A good productive meeting is like 15-20 minutes tops.
I once had a week where I had 17 meetings that ate up 24 hours of my 40 hour work week. I got dreadfully behind on what I was supposed to be doing. The lesson you have to learn is....
Fix: Sometimes you have to say "no"
Whether this is towards sales reps that want to take an hour out of your time to come in, 15 minutes of your time by phone or an organization that wants to eat away at your time everyone wants a piece. Only you know your limitations and can properly budget your time for what is important. If you don't think it is important then don't set time aside for it just to appease someone else.
After hours business networking
I've been to countless numbers of after-hour business functions over the years. They really only accomplish three things:
These events tend to be costly and at hours only really convenient for people that wrap up their day at 5 PM or a little after. In previous jobs I've been done at 4:30-4:45. My gym only offers evening classes at 5:30 and 6:30, but the majority of after hour events start at 5:30 or 6 . What does someone in my position expect to do for an hour?
Fix: Time to volunteer in the community
I've developed waaaaayyy more good business contacts with simply being visible in my community through my own personal life than anything else. That is my gym, going to the library, cooking classes, recreation sports, volunteering at businesses and a host of other opportunities. These are things I love doing in my spare time anyways. If you're social and active you'll do just fine in a way more fun environment.
My local community does a "Day of Caring" which allows you to tackle community problems as a team. I LOVE these kind of events. The best friends and contacts I've ever made have come from working together for a common goal in a fun way.
The goals you should take away from this:
Who makes up the top 10 cities for NFL players all-time?
In this list above, which covers the entire history of the NFL according to Pro Football Reference we see a lot of traditional blue-collar northern cities and some large southern cities. How does that differ from what we see today?
Who makes up the top 10 cities for active NFL players?
What about at the state level?
Throughout the history of the NFL you've seen a certain hierarchy of players coming from California, Texas, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois and a few others. As rust belt cities have shuttered, people have retired to the south and jobs as a whole have moved below the Mason-Dixon line you've seen a shift in the concentration of NFL players.
and for active NFL players?
With current players you've seen Florida strengthen and the emergence of Georgia and Alabama make its way to the stage. This is great news both from a recruiting and development standpoint for the universities in those states. Not only do you have a multitude of players to choose from in your backyard, but you also can boast that you have a lineage of NFL talent and point to recent examples.
If you want to play around with the Tableau Public chart feel free. The chart that I think will interest you the most will be the last page which shows what are the top HS's for producing NFL talent in each state. I eliminated any school that has any less than 7 players from the model to keep it to a cleaner look.
Dude, did you get robbed?
This is a phrase I hear occasionally the first time someone comes over to my place. Why? I simply don't own a bunch of items just to fill a space. I've grown an appreciation for a wide open and clean room. It is relaxing to me to not be surrounded by stuff and clutter. However, I don't get weird about it like sitting down to thank every item for the value it brought to my life. I come in more like a contract killer and quickly put the item in a donation bag. If an item isn't bringing value to your life regularly it isn't worth keeping. Find a way to sell it, gift it or donate it if possible.
When you're thinking more about the usage rate and the milage you'll get out of an item the less stuff you'll likely end up buying. Short-term use items should be avoided if at all possible.
DVD, CD's, Blu-Ray, etc.
My rule for movies is if I haven't watched them in the last calendar year they go out the door on January 1st. Like most people I have a handful of favorite films. At one point I owned upward of 150 movies on my shelves, but living this rule for the previous five years I have narrowed down my movie collection to around 40 films. Playing into this has been the growth of platforms such as YouTube, Vudu and Netflix competing for my time.
This is admittedly a bigger challenge for me than the movies. I say this because over the years I've probably had a bit more of donation regret. I don't allow myself to keep any more books than I think I could read in a normal year. For me that is around 40 books total. If I were trapped on a tropical island what books would I want with me? Haha, outside of survival books. Currently, I won't buy a book brand new unless I've already read it and loved it. If I buy books it is almost always second-hand books. Rarely do I pay more than $5-$6 for a book. If I am going to experiment with something I haven't read I rely on the local library system to do so.
We're creatures of habit. We tend to eat the same things every week and find ourselves filling up our carts and baskets with the same items every single week. So why do we have pantries and basements full of pre-packaged food. It is one thing to have grown and canned your own food to use throughout the winter, but why do you need 96 granola bars and 3 economy sized bottles of Ranch dressing? I think that getting a good deal has outweighed the practicality of what you actually consume. In the United States we throw away nearly 40% of the food that we buy. This is a number we all need to work on. Buy local and maximize your food.
The way I think about this is "How much time do I have between each wash/dry of my clothes?". Seeing that I still live in a coin-operated world my timeline is washing about every two weeks. With this in mind I keep about two weeks worth of clothes in my closet and drawers. This is the way people should be thinking to maximize the use of their clothes and minimize the cost associated with something you won't wear. Anything that goes beyond what you wear in a two week window can be donated. The process will get harder the closer you get to the budgeted number, but believe me you'll be amazed at the space you have and how little you miss the items.
I also have four scenarios I dress for: work, home, gym and dressing up. This is where you could react a lot of different ways to what I have:
"The United States has 3.1% of the world's children, but 40% of its toys"
This is a stat that blew my mind. As a full disclaimer, I don't have any kids. However I have many friends and family that have kids and totally believe the stat above. Many family members and close friends want to spoil little kids, which turns into huge mountains of presents at birthdays and holidays.
A good rule of thumb I've learned here is to teach kids about budgeting early. Not from a financial standpoint, but if a kid only has so much space to store their toys. Whatever they don't place in a toy box or chest gets donated to children who could play with it more. Let them decide what is and isn't important to them. Let them know that their toy isn't being thrown out, but is finding a home where they can be better appreciated.
Something I've heard that is a pretty cool idea is the gym membership concept brought to toys. A play space is created and loading with all the newest and coolest toys. Families pay a membership fee and have access to all of the toys in either the space or checking them out like you would a library book.
We face it all of the time. I work in marketing, so it isn't unusual for me to get items that grease the wheel from sales reps. When I go to a baseball stadium occasionally they have a giveaway item they're handing out to fans. It is really easy to accept everything handed your way. What if you don't really need it or know someone to immediately give it to? Why not just walk out wide and not pick up the items. Why not say "no thanks" to a gift bag? This stuff piles up in homes and offices everywhere. I avoid giveaway items like the plague.
This is a bit more of a challenge, because some kitchen tools you have are simply for one particular dish. Think of a pan you'd put a turkey in during Thanksgiving. For 363 days a year it collects dust in a basement, cupboard or attic.
My situation kind of works itself out naturally. Over time items just collect dust or see minimal use and are pretty obvious that I don't use them. Whatever rarely sees the light of day gets loaded into a donate bag. It keeps my kitchen uncluttered as much as a small kitchen can be.
This is much of the same approach I take towards tools. In my experience I don't use a great number of tools on my car, at home or camping. Most of what I use can be placed in a single toolbox. If I need larger items we have local access to a collection of tools that you might need for a one-off job or you can rent them from home improvement stores.
About the Author
Andy Rupert is a Penn State (B.A. John Curley Center for Sports Journalism 08') and a Southern Miss (M.S. Sport Management 09'). He has spent his whole career working in sports and tourism digital marketing and metrics.