We have all been there! How often do you say those immortal words… “I haven’t got time”. Your work tasks are piled high around your ears but your friends and family are clammering for your attention. You are torn. You know that important task has to be completed but your conscience is being pulled in two. Put simply… your work-life balance sucks.
It is an easy trap to fall into. We all take on those tasks that just aren’t a good use of our time. Sometimes it is because we believe that no one can quite do that job as well as we can. We may think it will take us longer to find someone to do the task than it will to actually do the task. It can be because we think it will be too expensive to outsource the tasks so we use our own valuable time instead. Whatever the reason may be, business owners, entrepreneurs and managers have all become time-poor. We sacrifice our own lives to try and achieve the impossible.
You can do anything, but not everything – David Allen
But what if there was another way? What if you could take some of those important tasks off your desk, get them completed and delivered on time with very little input yourself?
That exact scenario happened in the office last week. We have a regular client; for the purposes of this blog, let’s call him Mark. He came to us with a dilemma. He wanted to send out a corporate Christmas card to his clients. After a year of digital communication, he wanted to reach out with a real tangible item that said that he had appreciated their custom in a tough year and wished them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The only thing was, Mark had bought corporate cards last year and they were still sat in a box in his office. By the time he had gotten around to sorting them and getting them delivered by the printers he no longer had enough time to write them all and get them in the post. In the end, he had given up.
Time is what we want most, but use worst – William Penn
Over the last year, his company had undertaken a rebrand so the old cards were now just an expensive paperweight. He knew what he wanted to achieve but was so overwhelmed with the work he had on his desk he wasn’t sure he could cope with another unticked task on the Christmas to-do list.
Time for a solution?
How did we solve his woes I hear you cry? Well, here at Eighty3 we are all about coming up with creative solutions to our client’s challenges. We came up with a plan to get those cards out the door and a weight off Mark’s shoulders.
- We designed his corporate cards and print managed the job with our trusted printer. This meant that Mark never had to deal with the printer directly. He was just regularly updated by the team as to the status of his cards and when we expected delivery.
- Our development team helped him export his contacts from his CRM in a usable format. We created a mail merge, ready for getting those cards in the post when they arrived.
- Took delivery of the cards and handwrote each name, to give a personal touch.
- Delivery labels and postage were printed and applied.
- The cards were dropped at the post office with proof of postages obtained.
The whole process, including printing and postage, cost less that £150. This meant that Mark’s actually saved money based on the time he reclaimed and his hourly rate.
He was thrilled to get that frog eaten in double-quick time. It allowed him to concentrate on some key business tasks and gave him the clarity to get other business operations in motion. He wasn’t being distracted by yet another time-consuming task.
– Mary Poppins
To be completely honest with you, the team at Eighty3 are quite a childish bunch. Our desks are littered with toys, and office funnies are plentiful. (You can see more about this in our social feed) Keeping things fun and interesting keeps us productive and means that no two days in the office are ever the same. I mean, what’s the point in working in a creative industry if it isn’t fun, right? We all have those boring business jobs that we rather wouldn’t do. Or the huge mountain of a task that you can’t even work out how to start so you never really get started at all. But here at Eighty3, we have the secret formulae that will make sure those to-do lists not only get completed, but we actually enjoy getting them ticked off. (Shock horror)
So how do we do it I hear you cry? Each week we sit down as a team and put together a list of our top ten high-value business tasks. These aren’t our day to day roles. These are things that will push the business forwards and help us to achieve our goals. The list is then divided up between the team, with different members taking responsibility for their own task. We do this in Asana, just in case you wondered (other task management systems are available).
It’s All A Game
Doesn’t sound much fun? Well here is the thing, we make the whole thing into a game with varying degrees of reward depending on how well we do that week. Kind of levelling up, by collecting all that business XP. Each level brings a greater reward and making it round to Friday with no treat on the horizon is a very sad place to be. Here is our current reward structure:
7 completed tasks by the close of play Thursday – Takeaway coffees delivered to the office for our Friday meeting (Our preference is using our local cafes and coffee shops like the fab Oh, Flopping Fiddlesticks).
8 completed tasks by the close of play Thursday – We still get those lovely takeaway coffees… but we also get cake. (Our local bakery of choice is The Wheatmill) 🙂
And the big one…
Wait for it…
All tasks completed by close of play Wednesday – We go out for breakfast for our Friday team meeting.
How It Works
So, here is how we structure it. Our top ten list is put together in our Friday team meeting, we list out the points, every member of the team gets input as to what is really important to them within the business. These are then set in stone and assigned. In our Monday team meeting, we review the tasks and make sure that everyone has what they need to get things signed off. Some tasks will need input from several members of the team, or for one person to get something ready (images, content, documents etc) for the assignee to put the task into action. We thrash this out and then merrily skip off back to our normal roles. Wednesday team meeting is check-in day. We review our progress and check to see where the bottlenecks are to getting items ticked off. This is our accountability. No rushing everything through at the last minute, it encourages everyone to make progress right through the week. We can see there what prize we are on course for and it spurs us to push that little bit harder.
A Job Well Done
This week the team absolutely killed it. All tasks were neatly signed of by Wednesday and they were by no means little ones. Everyone pushed that little bit harder to get them out the door which saw us merrily skip off last Friday to the rather grand “Roe Deer“. Certainly a treat and a lovely venue to work through our list for the following week. Awesome work Team Eighty3.
Here is a little more about the Roe Deer, taken from their website, and some fabulous shots that were taken by Sian our Executive Assistant.
“The Roe Deer was a family home called Lawnswood House, built for the Foley family between 1813 and 1816 during the reign of King George III, in the Regency style. This means that it has wonderful high ceilings and huge casement windows that flood the rooms with natural light from the ancient gardens that surround it.
The building lends itself beautifully as a pub and now has a large bar at the heart of the building. Outside there is a stone terrace to the front, which enjoys sunsets framed by the grand old trees, and views out across the lawn and the fields beyond. Upstairs, enjoying the same views you will find a private dining room which will comfortably seat 14.”