80/20 Principle: Workplace Revolution Update

80/20 Principle: Workplace Revolution Update

by Brenton Russell on

I recently wrote about the start of my workplace revolution using the 80/20 Principle so I thought that it was about time to give you a progress report on the revolution.

Twice Daily Email Reading

Out of all the initial revolution measures I thought that setting an email autoresponder to notify people that I will only be checking my email at 11.30 am and 3.00 pm would be the most controversial and poorly accepted.  I was wrong!  My direct boss (who emails me a lot) didn’t even flinch and has never raised the issue with me.  A number of peers commented on what a great idea it is and are contemplating it themselves.  One colleague commented that he had received a similar auto response email from other department so it seems that the ground may be more fertile for revolution than previously thought!   I have also noticed that it allows me to delete a lot more without action as issues often have already been overtaken by events and become irrelevant.

Next step – check emails once daily!

Protecting My Most Productive Time

Making myself unavailable during my most resourceful and productive time (8.30 to 12.00 am) has resulted in massive productivity gains!  Whilst I haven’t moved to a different office during this time like I wrote about in the original post, I have found that closing my door has been just as effective.  Using laser-like focus during these periods to concentrate on the Vital Few tasks has seen me drastically improve my effectiveness.  It has also forced my department to start solving their own problems and make more of the decisions within their authority without deferring to me.

Not answering my desk phone during this isolation period and screening my mobile calls has also had a significant effect.  I have noticed that only very few unanswered calls to my desk phone have been important enough for the caller to follow up with a call to my mobile.  On the few occasions when my discipline has waivered and I have answered my desk phone it has always resulted in a distraction from the Trivial Many.

Reducing my time for the Trivial Many people has been less effective.  It seems like this will be an extended campaign.  Regardless of how much I ignore the Trivial Many people, most just don’t seem to get it and constantly try to distract me with emails, text messages, phone calls etc.  I guess that’s why they are the Trivial Many! I am going to continue my current approach of ignoring their attempted distractions and if this doesn’t start working, then it might be time to openly discuss my new approach towards my time for them.

The Biggest Challenge

Only checking emails twice daily has easily been the biggest challenge.  By forcing myself not to check emails outside my schedule has, however, given me the clarity to stop and decide to work on a more productive task rather than aimlessly check and respond to emails which largely relate to the Trivial Many.  This choice often means going outside for some fresh air for the 10 minutes that I would have wasted on emails which increases my overall effectiveness throughout the day through the positive effect it has on my wellbeing.

Turning up the Revolutionary Heat!

The first step of the revolution has encountered less opposition than anticipated.  In fact the supportive comments that I have received so far suggests that my workplace might just be a hotbed of potential revolutionaries who just need a little encouragement! So now its time to turn up the heat and start implementing some more revolutionary measures.  I will detail these new measures in a post soon.

In the mean time, send me your ideas to inflame the revolution!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Tony August 1, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Encouraging! It will be interesting to see how this experiment develops over the coming months!


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