Category Archives: More Time

Does your organisation value face-time over productivity?

Australians are working harder than ever to keep their organisations going through tough times, often doing unrecognised and unrewarded work, but the resulting presenteeism might be doing more damage than good, according to leadership expert Andrew Henderson.

Henderson, the CEO of Leadership Management Australia (LMA), warns that when taken too far, the result is a workplace lacking productivity and creativity. If HR doesn’t address the issue, it can lead to resentment, disengagement and ultimately departure from the organisation.

Leaders and senior managers are shouldering the biggest burden, working on average 51.6 hours and being paid for 38.9 hours, according to findings by LMA’s Leadership Employment and Direction Survey of leaders, middle managers, supervisors and employees.

Middle managers aren’t much better off, working 47.1 hours and being paid for 38.8 hours, while non-managerial employees are working 44.4 hours and being paid for 38.4 hours.

Employees are increasingly feeling ‘unbalanced’ because they are neglecting their personal lives and their efforts are going unrecognised, says Henderson, and this is causing lost productivity through stress and illness.

“It all centres around one issue,” he tells HR Daily. “For most of us, even if we love what we do in our roles and love what our business does as an organisation, work is a vehicle for us to achieve our personal goals.

“So if we have got the hours we’re working starting to encroach on our personal life and diminishing the things we want to achieve outside work or the time we spend with people outside work, what should be a vehicle to achieve our personal goals becomes an inhibitor to our personal goals.”

Addressing this head on

Henderson says the phenomena of ‘presenteeism’ is partially responsible for the more than 20 million sick days Australian workers take each year due to stress-related illnesses. According to Medicare’s 24/7 Health Advice Line, presenteeism is costing the economy more than $25 billion annually by causing six working days of productivity to be lost every year per employee.

Rather than turning a blind eye, employers and their HR departments need to address the issue directly and strive to create workforces that value productivity over face-time, he says. They can do this in three ways.

Firstly, recognise the situation for what it represents. Widespread unrecognised work is a warning sign that a workplace is out of balance, Henderson says. Managers need to make it clear to their employees it’s all right to go home at five if they finish their work.

“By sending that message, it allows people to come in in the morning and work hard and productively, knowing if they do that they can go home and feel good about their day’s achievement,” he says.

HR can advocate for this by building a compelling case as to why a culture should shift to one of measuring performance rather than measuring hours, he adds.

Secondly, managers should be encouraged to take a genuine interest in the work/life balance of their people, as well as their own work/life balance. “If you’re all about simply ‘you’ve got to put in the hours to look good here’, and that’s the culture, I’m not sure you can then genuinely say you’re interested in watching your staff achieve their goals outside work,” Henderson says.

Leaders should drive a creative culture by walking the floor and expressing interest in the lives of their staff, he says.

“If you’re a leader walking around saying to your people ‘tell me what’s going on in your life at the moment’, and one says ‘I’m building a relationship with my son, it hasn’t been terrific lately’, as a leader you’re encouraging him to get the job done and get out of work.”

Lastly, workplaces need to equip employees with the tools, skills and focus to manage their workloads to greater effect. Research has found employees can lose large amounts of productivity for each interruption they experience, Henderson says, so workplaces need to help them focus on activities that add the most value.

“Email for many of us is now a very unproductive tool, rather than a productive tool,” Henderson says. “People now focus on responding to other peoples queries rather than their own priorities. And as much as open plan offices have helped with communication, they have also introduced a whole range of interruptions which don’t allow people to focus on getting through their work.”

“In our work with organisations, when we start working with people we often find they are spending 70 per cent or more of their time on low pay-off activities, which are activities that are really non-consequential to their role and shouldn’t be done by them.

“For example, a low pay-off activity for a marketing manager is to sit at the reception desk and answer the phones. But that’s a high pay-off activity for the receptionist. So it’s not about whether what they are doing is important for the organisation, it’s about whether it’s important for their role.”

This article has been reproduced with permission from

The power of written goals | LMA

The power of written goals

Research has shown that individuals with written goals achieved approximately 50% more of their goals than those without written goals1.

A written goals program ensures that you identify achievements that will ultimately prove most meaningful to you to clarify and crystallise your thinking.

Developing a written plan for achieving your goals provides a number of significant benefits:

  • Written goals save time – write down your goals to keep you on course, to minimise interruptions and to focus your attention.
  • Written goals help measure progress – motivation is greatest when there are objective goals by which you can measure and monitor accomplishments.
  • Written goals produce motivation – written goals remind you of your mission and objectives.
  • Written goals reduce conflict – they help you identify conflicts between various priorities as they become obvious when your plans are written out.
  • Written goals form a basis for action – written goals are the foundation of success, but action is the springboard to actual success and increased productivity.
  • Written goals stimulate visualisation – with your plans written out, you can visualise future results more easily and clearly.

1 A study conducted by Gail Matthews, Ph.D., at the Dominican University

The power of prioritisation

Approximately 80% of the results you obtain stem from 20% of the tasks you perform. Are you using your time wisely?

If the other 80% of your tasks produce only 20% of the results obtained, then it makes sense to identify the most productive activities in your daily schedule and devote more time to these high payoff activities.

The challenge for all of us is to delegate or eliminate other low pay off routines and activities that absorb too much of your time. This common-sense approach frees you up for more productive work on high priority items.

Sometimes this is easier said than done, but with effort and application it can be done… and the increase in your personal productivity will be well worth it.

Are you an effective delegator?

The most successful, powerful leaders in any organisation are those who surround themselves with competent people and learn to delegate to those people. This then allows them the freedom to focus on their job.

Use the following ideas to develop appropriate attitudes for effective delegation:

  • Flexibility – when you adopt a flexible, adaptive attitude to delegation it encourages others to take responsibility for thinking creatively and about how and why they follow certain procedures.
  • Self-confidence – one common reason leaders withhold authority and responsibility from other team members is the fear of being replaced or unneeded. Self-confidence gives you the freedom to share necessary information to empower others through delegation.
  • Focus on results – when you remember that 80% of the results you obtain are from 20% of the work, it is easier to accept less than perfection in some relatively unimportant areas.
  • Team commitment – teach others to make good decisions, involve team members in the process of decision making. Commit yourself to team empowerment and allow others to succeed and excel.

Effective delegation can be taught and learned, does yours need some work?

9 steps to goal setting

Goal setting is the most powerful action you can take to improve your personal productivity; it provides a sense of direction to keep you focussed on the most important activities.

Simply defined, Goal setting is the process of:

  1. Developing a mission statement for your life
  2. Writing specific goal(s) that support your mission
  3. Listing the benefits of achieving the goal
  4. Anticipating possible obstacles and solutions
  5. Writing detailed action steps and deadlines to achieve the goal
  6. Integrating action steps to your planning system
  7. Determining a method of tracking your progress
  8. Writing affirmations to support your belief in your ability to accomplish the goal
  9. Developing a visual representation that effectively reminds you of your goal

The sole purpose of the goal setting is to guide you on the entire journey from wish to fulfilment; it provides a sense of direction and serves as a filter to eliminate extraneous demands.

What is your time worth?

Many people who would be horrified at the idea of wasting either personal or company assets, think nothing of using a significant amount of their valuable time to accomplish tasks worth only a fraction of that amount.

When you have determined the value of an hour of your time, you can make better judgements about how to use each one for maximum productivity and profit.

The chart below is a simple way of determining what your time is worth based on your annual salary.

If your annual earnings are ($): Every hour is worth ($): Each minute is worth ($):
25,000 12.81 0.21
30,000 15.00 0.26
35,000 18.00 0.30
40,000 20.00 0.34
50,000 26.00 0.43
60,000 31.00 0.51
75,000 38.00 0.64
100,000 51.00 0.85
125,000 64.00 1.07


Based on 244 eight hour working days per year (5 day week, less holidays)

How many of the tasks you accomplish each day are actually worth the cost of your time?

Improving the efficiency of your procedures

The strength of efficient procedures lies in the fact that, once established they become automatic.

As you look for ways to save time through efficient procedures, consider these four major steps:

  • Identify routine activities
  • Study existing procedures –  Look at the procedures currently in place to complete a task and ask:
    – Who does the work?
    – When is the work done?
    – Where is the work done?
    – Who uses the results produced?
    – Is it necessary?
  • Develop a new method or improve the existing one – once you understand the need and exactly who has been doing the work and how, develop an improved method for achieving the task:
    – Eliminate obsolete tasks
    – Combine several routine activities that can be done by one person
    – Rearrange the order in which work is accomplished
    – Get feedback from those who will use the new procedure
  • Apply the procedure – put the new procedure into operation. Institute adequate training and analyse the results.