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How to Win at Work

Lesson 7 from: What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

Laura Vanderkam

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Lesson Info

7. How to Win at Work

Lesson Info

How to Win at Work

How we spend our work days so we talked broadly in the morning about strategies for work and life within looked at how we're spending our mornings in the last session, we looked at how we spend our weekends, and now we're in a study our work days. How can we use our hours to achieve our professional goals and make a difference in the world? And over the years of writing about how people spend their time, I've come across a few people who really just blow me away in terms of productivity. And linh pham as one of those people. So she's, a children's book illustrator, almost having story time here show you one of her books, the boy who loved math, improbable life of paul kurdish but just just to show you these intricate, beautiful pictures right there, really gorgeous, and they're incredibly detailed to the well researched, so here little paul is climbing up on a dresser in that picture on the dresser is actually his father, so she found photos of his father and drew that so all kinds of ...

beautiful, beautiful pictures in here. And so you look at a children's book like this children's books are usually about thirty two pages that's about how they're printed, and they could have one or more paintings for paige. And they're the kind of paintings that are really gallery quality paintings I mean they're not just you look at that somebody had to paint this this's a painting and so a normal artist you think about how many of these thirty two painting books you could dio during a year perhaps think maybe a couple maybe two three right? But sam is doing about eight of these I hear she is doing about eight of these years and you do the math she's probably doing about one painting per day and they all have to be sketched out beforehand right? So that you have them looking right when you're done and so you might think, well, maybe the quality would suffer right at that level of output but I've been following her career for several years and they keep getting better these paintings keep getting better and she absolutely loves her work I mean, you probably imagine that if you get to be a children's book illustrator as your job you'd love your work but I mean she really loves her work she's the way she's talks about it she's constantly in a state of flow you know, you talk about slow and they were doing something difficult but doable and time seems to stand still and as she put it when I'm on a roll and I'm inspired and it's just coming out I don't even know how to quantify time anymore I'm whipping through it and it feels really, really lovely so she's working late at night she's cranking out all these paintings and yet it feels really, really lovely well, so naturally I find that incredibly intriguing and I've interviewed her several times at this point kind of to the point of stalking, trying to figure out what it is she does how does she do it? President of the question here what is her secret of astonishing productivity's it's a good question because here is something that pham does not have more hours than the rest of us right? She has the exact same one hundred sixty eight hours per week as any other artist as any other person and she can't work for all of them not only does she have to sleep probably not as much as she'd like, but she does still have to sleep and she also has two young children that she likes this see on occasion as well so she can't work more hours instead what she has figured out is how to make each hour count war right how to make each hour count multiple times so she plans every illustration beforehand planning is built into the rhythm of her days so that by the time she's painting she knows exactly what that painting is going to look like right? Because if you have to repeat paintings it's going to be hard to do a painting every day she's home her techniques to basically be creative on demand right that she's gotten so good at that that she can come up with a painting I tell you to illustrate this she'll come up with it right away and she's always learning new techniques and that makes each new project easier to start. She finds inspiration anywhere. So even a trip to the store could be a chance for inspiration as she studies colors and paintings and how they work together there's a painting in that book of paul air dish at a cafe in budapest and basically she got the image of a cafe walking into a cafe right this is what it looks like oh, this is interesting. I should paint that even reading bedtime stories to her children is a chance to check out the competition right and learn something from them, see what they're doing and how she can be inspired by other artists working in the same field. So she makes each hour count more and there's kind of a financial analogy here. So if you think about the money that comes in and out of our lives, some of our money is just spent right to think ah late fee on a cell phone bill a sweater you never where you spend the money the transaction is done, nothing more will ever come from it, but hopefully some of our money is invested I think about money in your retirement account you put money in and it grows it bears returns over time that money will keep paying you back again and again it counts more to people with the same incomes could have vastly different levels of wealth if one person has spent everything coming in and the other person has invested some chunk of what is coming in and it is the same thing with time, some of our hours are spent and done, nothing more will come of that. But then people like fan have figured out how to invest as many of their hours as possible, and that enables them to do more with the time they have. We all have the same amount of time, but in their case each hour bears returns. That is the secret of astonishing productivity that's how people build wealth with their hours and they build wealth in the form of a life's work well, so how do you invest your hours instead of spending them? What is the difference between investing your hours and spending them? And as I've identified successful people over the years, I've interviewed them, I've looked over people's time logs, I've kind of found seven daily disciplines that will make work hours count more, and then when these air practice repeatedly, you will get more out of the hours you choose toe work we'll talk through these seven disciplines in this session c leiva strategies to get more done than you imagined at work and in less time than you thought possible. So first discipline one mind your hours I know I feel like a bit of a broken record today about keeping track of your time but that's because it works when it comes to work hours we have a tendency to think, well, we may be working around the clock or particularly from the phone on, and we're checking email here and there sometimes people tell me, you know, I was working all weekend well because they were checking their email twelve times on the weekend that's fine, but each email check was about two minutes, so really that was twenty four minutes it wasn't the whole weekend, but we have a tendency to let that time define all of our time discipline one is to be honest about how many hours you're working and how you're spending them, so keep a time log. This is easier with work time than personal time because you may actually already have a work calendar. Many people already have a work calendar that's telling them what they're doing but I want you to think about it a minute try to reconstruct yesterday yesterday at work what did you do yesterday at work think through your hours see if you can reconstruct it think about how many hours you probably worked yesterday think about the number of hours I can tell you it is really hard toe log, long work hours so I kept a time log last week we saw a few of my days earlier and we saw two work days at the end of session one and on those days I was doing work in the morning I was working at night like ten thirty pm and yet both of those days, I really didn't manage to bill more than nine hours of work, right? It is really hard toe log long hours if you're looking at actual focused hours as opposed to just I'm taking a break again, and I'm not the only person who would overestimate my work hours if I didn't know differently. So in session one, we discussed a study that had people compare estimated work weeks with actual work weeks, and we found that people who claim to be working seventy five hours or more were in fact working about fifty hours a week. Now fifty ours is a lot fifty hours is a long work week that's about how many hours I worked last week when I added it up, it came out right at fifty on the nose, but that's, not seventy five hours fifty is not seventy five it is most definitely not one hundred nor is it one hundred eighty right if anyone's going to try and claim that what we find when we are honest about our work hours is that most full time workers are logging between forty to sixty hours a week it's usually closer to forty but some people are in more extreme jobs with travel that it gets more around sixty but we're usually a forty to sixty hours a week so if you think about fifty weeks during a year fifty work weeks during a year that gets us to two thousand to three thousand work hours maybe even a little less if you take a lot of vacation so that's it that's all you have whatever you want to accomplish professionally in the next year needs to occur during those two thousand to three thousand work hours and I find that to be a very focusing thought because if we only have two thousand hours what do we intend to do with them right? How can we use them best? So in addition to knowing how many hours they weren't, I also found that successful people who are really into their jobs also tend to develop a very good sense about how long things take a right they have a good sense from minding their hours of just how long the things that they do repeatedly take so think about activities that you do repeatedly in your job for me that might be writing a block post or coming up with sources for two thousand word piece these are discreet activities that take a predictable amount of time so I know how much time that is do I someone like pham nails right? I interview her and she's talking about watching television while she paints she walks watches television so she's occupying that half of her brain so the other is focusing on painting so how long did it take you to make a painting? Well, it takes me a seinfeld episode twenty minutes plus commercials to do a painting she knows she knows exactly how long it takes. So what activities do you do frequently and think about? Put an estimate next to those how long tio each of those take think about that for a minute things you do repeatedly at work an estimate how long do each of them take? If you're having a little trouble with this that's an even better reason to start keeping a time law because you can start to see it start to say, oh yeah that task always takes me twenty minutes or it always takes me it'll be arranged but I'll be eighteen to twenty two minutes I know that it's always going to take me eighteen to twenty two minutes so you start to see how long things take and even better exactly what can fit in a day and what can't write because time stretches for no man we can on ly fit so much into a day, so if you know that a photo shoot takes you let's, say, two hours and choosing the right photos from that shoot, we'll take you thirty minutes and loading them on a web site. We'll take you thirty minutes. Well, that informs how many of those you could do it a day, right? If that was a three hour process, there's only so many of those that you can do within a work day, and that could inform your scheduling. You can also start to make smarter choices as you mind your hours. So as you're keeping track of your hours, you start to say, I'm better able to do certain tasks at certain times than another. What is my most productive time of the day? When and my best able to focus? What do I spend more time on that I would like to be doing? One busy doctor who kept a time log for me actually took her time log to her clinic director to show how much time she was spending on administrative work, right? To make the case that maybe we could hire more administrative help so I could see more patients, right? Because that's, what I do best, that's what we're getting paid for here, so how can I maximize my work hours and as I've been keeping time logs I've started to see that I am much better able to focus in the mornings that I am in the afternoon in the morning have that burst of will power and energy and motivation aiken tackle different things in the afternoon not so much and so I've started trying to schedule phone calls on lee in the afternoon and doesn't always work it doesn't always sometimes there's somebody I really need to speak with and when they can talk it's nine thirty but often people say hey can we can we get some time tomorrow? Well if I get to offer up times it's not going to be nine am right I'm not going to put that out there is an option unless someone really pushes because nine a m has a huge opportunity cost for me that's when I can write where's afternoon doesn't have that same opportunity cost so if you only have forty to sixty work hours per week or two thousand three thousand per year success requires being smart being mindful about how you use them so discipline one is to mind your hours discipline too plan we keep coming back to planning don't way I like to play on what can I say? I know not everyone does but I do so now that you know how many hours you're working you want to figure out what to do with um knowing where you're going vastly increases the chances that you'll get there. One study of ceo time use that publicly traded companies found that the firm's sales rose as the ceo work more hours, I guess that's a good thing, I really hate to find out that it went the other direction we lose money every hour you're working so yes, that's a good thing, but the correlation turned out to be almost entirely driven by our spent in planned activities, and if you think about it, one of the most limited resource is in a major corporation is the leaders time he or she has just one hundred sixty eight hours a week, just like the rest of us, and that person can't work for all of them, they have to sleep, so thinking through how that scarce resource should be allocated increases the chances that it spent an optimal ways and it's so it's again exact same thing for the rest of us, and I like to be a spontaneous ideo, but I really do think that successful people make a habit of building planning into their lives. That's certainly what I've seen from time logs, but before you think, I mean, you need to plan every single minute because we've come to that a lot, let me stress there is no right way to plan. All right, people do this in different ways some people plant more broadly, some people like to really get into the weeds of what I'm doing minute to minute I tend to do my planning on three levels which helps me think about the long term in the short term, the long term is actually kind of fun to think about so one of the exercises that we did in session one that everyone got most excited about is coming up with a list of one hundred dreams anything we want to do or have more of in life are professional goals air travel, gal's our personal goals well, that's planning right that is planning that is thinking about things we would like to have our lot in our lives thinking about what they would look like so I want to do another little exercise now at which is a little bit more immediate than the list of one hundred dreams if you have your list of one hundred games, you can look at it specific, you know, especially if you had professional goals on there it's a personal goals as well, but if not if you don't have that list from this morning that's fine, we can go from where we are, so at the start of each year I try to write the performance review I would like to give myself at the end of the year so those of us who are self employed don't really have a boss who's goingto sit down with you in december, and so this is what worked well this year this year. These are the areas that we need to improve on no one's going to do that for you. If you're your own boss, maybe you should do that to yourself, right? But I was doing this for a while thinking, okay, well, what did I do this year? Was it was it a good year? Was it about you and it's? Really? You know, I'm not sure how much I get out of that, you know, when I get more out of is thinking through what I want to do next year because then I can do something about it, so I want you to take a minute and think about three professional goals, three professional goals we're not going to twenty thirteen because twenty thirteen's almost done, but make sure people have time to achieve their goals. But the performance review you would like to give yourself at the end of twenty fourteen so three professional goals you would like to accomplish by the end of twenty fourteen we had some men that would be great, I would like to hear them great three eighteen media says professional goals are to build a creative collective for my business relaunched my business website and create a sellable product awesome sellable product is a good product, a good goal to have for the end of twenty fourteen any other sort of coming asleep, b says. Finished training my staff create presentation that describes what my staff does and delegate financial reports good goals toe have by the end of the year get the financial reports off her plate and that will open up all kinds of time for other things. Do you have anyone here or who's got a couple professional goals you'd like to accomplish? We got the so I would like tio be consistent have been consistent with my newsletters and block posts all right now they're just kind of scattered and I know that that needs to be locked down. I want to finish and launch my website magic workshop, which is to help photographers be able to manage their own website it's okay to create it, and then I really need to find a bookkeeper that will be able to work with me. All right, finding a bookkeeper hiring someone is a great way, a great professional goal for the year to grow in that way, just to give you some of mine for twenty thirteen, which is almost done, I wanted tio come up, I wanted to finish the draft of my novel. Have done good um I wanted to get a contract for a new nonfiction book and I wanted to double my block traffic so we're still working on doubling the block traffic people want to come visit me there I would I would love to do that laura vanderkam dot com on I'm still working on what the twenty fourteen ones are going to be but I kind of like to write it's the first installment and a children's chapter book siri's yeah so that's something for twenty fourteen I'll be honing that over the next month you can do this in your personal life as well. So thinking about you ever thinking first about what you would put in your urine performance review for yourself well at the end of the year a lot of people send these little misses called the family holiday letter I'm sure you guys get these they're often really russian taught her some literature I mean they're even over the top bragging or they're incredibly dull but they serve a purpose which is that they tell your friends and family what you did in your personal life that mattered to you over the last year right? But we can write the's in the future as well because then that it can inform us what we want to do over the next year so I want you to take a minute and be writing down three things I'd like to do and your personal life three professional goal night sorry three personal goals they would like to have achieved by the end of twenty fourteen three personal goals yes let's get that great three eighteen media says take a vacation take a vacation taking vacation three eighteen media has apparently been over work lately needs to take a vacation but a vacation is a great thing to be thinking about what you'd like to do in the next year because if you start now you know what that isthe you'll probably be able to book a lot of places somebody fill up other times do have any others that came in and leslie b says develop regular spiritually practiced a regular exercise habits and shift actions two priority who actions to priorities I like to do that I like to do that that's great do you have any hair personal things can we pass the microphone down to cheryl well the first one is I want to four weeks of off the grid vacation off the grid vacation yeah I seem to find place that can go with cell phone still works you don't want to go to this place way well there's at least I'll get you know the message we back man you're I just couldn't get through to you good I've been planning a custom made wardrobe for several years actually wanted go through with it now nice and I want to be an established romantic relationship who a good goal to have for next year is anyone else have won some personal goals for twenty fourteen they'd like to share anyone okay, plus the dental is I have to wonder I've been talking about for a while and one is new someone is I wanted to start a blogger with a friend of mine we've been talking about it and talking about it and it's a baking blogged about not only our own baking things but sort of a he said she said in different bakeries and place all around the area because there's so many starting the baking block twenty fourteen the year the baking blogged start finally start talking about it and then um maybe visit somewhere new locally because I talk about wanting to travel all the time I do get to travel but in between time I just I dream about it s o making myself go out and take maybe once a month a day trip somewhere okay, I think something new around here. Yeah, so your holiday little letter will be informing your friends and family that here's the baking blawg and where you can visit it and by the way, here are all the wonderful day trips that I took this year yeah, that would be a great thing to say and you know, sometimes these don't always happen right? Sometimes people shy away a little bit from making perspective lists like this like well I don't know what's going to happen in twenty fourteen right? I don't know life changes things happen you might get a totally different job that shifts your professional ambitions in a different direction and that happens life happens that's fine especially if it's a grant green new opportunity why hold this something you know old just because you have a goal and sometimes things just don't happen like I've set goals to run a thousand miles in the year I set a goal to run a thousand miles this year I am way behind it is not going to happen I will not be able to say at the end of twenty thirteen that I ran my thousand miles and you know what? I'm ok with that it's fine but I've still run mohr in twenty thirteen that I would have if I hadn't set that goal so I'm moving in the right direction even if I'm not going to achieve that particular goal so think about this you can you can elaborate on this more when we get when you leave but that's something to think about so the second level I like to plan on is the weak but week is one hundred sixty eight hours a week corresponds with the cycle of life as we actually live it so I find that a week is a really good way to plan s o I try to think through well especially for looking at this list of our professional goals are personal goals for twenty fourteen is there anything you can do in the next week to advance yourself toward one of those goals? There are obviously things you have to do in the next week in life in general that you'll have to plan, but as you're planning think about, well, I have these goals. What could I do to advance myself toward one of these goals in the next week? I think somebody could spend some time thinking about what the name of the baking blawg would be, or researching what the right blogging platforms might be for that if somebody wants to be in a romantic relationship by the end of twenty fourteen there's various steps one could do you know, maybe if you're gonna be doing online profiles, you say, well, do I have a head shot? I like right? Dr photos, I like, what would I like to say about myself? Let me let me start pulling my friends about what are my best attributes? It's, right? What would they say about me if they were describing me to a potential blind date? Or you can start telling the friends, hey, I'd like those tates you can start setting me up with amazing people, so they're all often things we can do and the next week so we start to think about that on the weak and then the third planning level is of course the traditional one what am I doing tomorrow all right, what am I going to dio tomorrow on so I try to plan you know that one a little bit more tightly what I'll be doing different times of the day but always with a bit of slack and slack is a wonderful word that means space in your schedule because life is going to happen right? So as you're planning, make sure you leave space because things can go longer than intended or amazing opportunities might come up right I get an opportunity to dio radio interview for a great station maybe that'll just come up during the day if I don't have space I can't see that so you want to leave open space plan but leave open space and you've been planned in whatever way you want I mean this is these are all just guidelines the important thing is to do it build planning into your life you think about teachers, teachers have a planning period right that is built into their days and it doesn't always work right we all know if that many teachers get their planning it's taken up by other things that they have to do but the idea is that you want to think through what you're going to be doing with children before you're on hours in front of children right that you'll be doing lessons then and you need to think about what you're doing before it so you should be good about protecting your own planning period give yourself a planning period I like sunday nights or friday afternoons, but you can do it whenever you want. The point is just to do it because knowing where you're going drastically increases the chances that you will get there so discipline one was to mind your hours discipline to is to plan and disciplined three is to make success possible. So if you haven't necessarily been building planning into your life when you first start doing it is going to like this fire under you, right? You're going to come up with all sorts of great ideas for your business, for your personal life, you to think of one hundred things you want to do you think of one hundred people you need to meet all these tasks you're gonna do but don't overwhelm yourself you need to pace yourself because here's, the crazy thing I discovered aa lot of successful people have incredibly short to do lists. I mean, we're literally talking three to six things a day on the to do list here and it doesn't make sense at first, right? They have a million things to do, but they aim to do just a few so I talked tio fitness personality charlene johnson if anyone's ever done the turbo jam videos that's her and she's told me that she has six things on her daily to do list and three are steps toward a big annual goal and three are things that have to get done that day that's it six things but here's why your to do list should be about things you actually intend to d'oh right there's the to do part of it it's not a to not do list or maybe get to list this is a to do list the things you are actually going to do and you can do a few things you can do three to six things you can't do one hundred things life comes up time is limited he will definitely not get through one hundred things but you will get through three and so your to do list will become the source of progress of motivation of success whereas if there's a hundred things on it your to do list becomes this daily source of failure right I failed again so I can tell you of all the things I talk about limiting your to do list is probably one that people resist most right there's planning your weekends people people give me grief about that they don't like that but they also don't like the idea of plant of limiting your to do list how can I limit my to do list I can't just have a few things on my to do list I have all this stuff to do can't you see I have too much going on, but the problem is that there is no moral virtue and putting something on a to do list and then not doing it that is the equivalent of not putting it on the list in the first place, right? So better to keep the list short and if you finish it great, go choose some other stuff, right? I'm sure you have all kinds of other stuff there's nothing wrong with keeping a someday maybe list people have read david allen's books getting things done he talks about this someday maybe list this is a catch all spot for things that you know you'd like to get to maybe they'll happen that be awesome if they did you can think of, you know, your list of one hundred dreams is a sort of more positive focus on that, but there's also things like fix the car so you put that on the someday maybe list but keeping today's list short by keeping your intentions limited and clear it you make today's list more of a contract with yourself whatever is on that list is going to get done often as a matter of personal pride, you were going to get through that whole list and cross it off and that's a good thing cause slow progress is still progress slow progress is great as long as it is steady so three things a day does not sound like much right but three things a day is fifteen things a work week fifteen things at work week if you work fifty weeks a year that's seven hundred fifty things if they all mattered if those were all important things that would be quite the year and just to get put it in perspective if each one of those things was right two hundred words you can write two hundred words in a couple minutes at most if each one of those things was right two hundred words you could write three fifty thousand word books in a year right that is what slow progress means study progress if you do them without fail and there's a second part to calling it a contract with yourself because I found that successful people were also very good about holding themselves accountable for the things that they intended to do so think about a system that would keep you accountable to your goals in discipline to the planning one I mentioned that one of my professional goals for this year have been to finish the manuscript of a novel and while I like writing fiction and I want to do it it had a tendency to fall to the bottom of the to do list because it's completely speculative so no one's paying me for it until it gets published and no one cares if I do it either. Where isthe if I have a deadline for assignment, that person really does care if I do it, so it was always falling to the bottom of the list, so I needed a system to get it to the top, and what I came up with is that a friend of mine and I would email each other on friday to say if we had achieved our personal goals for the week, right? So mine was to write two thousand words in the novel, and so every friday I needed to email her if I had done it or if I hadn't, and you know what? I really didn't want to send an email saying I failed. I did not want to send that email, so if it was friday afternoon and I had not done it, I would sit down and write the two thousand words just to avoid sending that email, and over time it gets its own momentum, right? It gets its own momentum and there's some great accountability systems out there, people have people of absolute websites, obviously he couldn't have enough accountability group think about what might work for you and there's some research in terms of how much more likely we are to achieve our goals if we set these systems up so there's this organization called stick s t I c k k that has let she set up systems for this usually for personal goals like stop drinking soda right and so if you wanted to stop drinking soda you could set up a system where you bet some money on it right and if you fail that money could go to an anti charity is the charity whose mission you do not support so if you were in favor of gun control it might be the nra or you know maybe it's the bill clinton presidential library if you tend to vote the opposite direction so whatever it is it's an organization that you definitely do not support you can also put in the email addresses of your friends right so you fail your money is going somewhere you don't support and your friends are finding out about it and they found that systems like this triple your chances of success and frankly I'm kind of surprised it's on ly triple because with all that I don't think any of us would want to slip up we choose success when success is the easier choice successful people know that will power is awesome but it's also a virtue that many of us possess and limited supply so we want to set up our lives to make success possible so he can get more done the discipline for discipline one was to mind are ours discipline to to plan discipline three makes success possible and disciplined for is to know what his work and what is not, so I get, you know, I write for a couple different publications, and I get a lot of pr pitches from people, and I find that a lot of people like to put numbers on things it's one that people like to give things, sort of a gravitas that I'm not sure it always deserves. But people send me statistics often about how much various things cost american business and lost productivity. All right, you know, this sort of genre of story of, like, well, fantasy football costs, american business one point, one billion and lost productivity per week or march madness costs one hundred thirty million dollars in lost productivity in the first two days of the tournament alone, as finally statistics pretty hilarious, right? Because it assumes that we'd all be the sleek, productivity's machines if only we weren't so annoyingly human, right? Because I say, if we didn't have march madness to talk about, we wouldn't talk about anything else. We wouldn't talk about what the kids did this weekend, what the movie is now, we wouldn't do that, so it's lost productivity, right? Yeah, but the other problem I have the statistics is that they don't actually identify what I think the big productivity losses I think these are things that drain far more than one point one billion lost weekly to fantasy football but the problem is that they look like work but aren't actually work so you know what I mean? Meetings called to cover someone's rear end another meeting called to clarify lines of communication that should have been clear in the first meeting that was called to cover someone's rear end whole email chains sent to apologize for original misunderstanding that resulted from a typo right? So email and meetings look like work they certainly look like work if you're in a meeting you're checking your meal like I'm working can't you see I'm working but these are ours and ours thrown it things that are not advancing us towards our goals and they're not advancing our organizations toward their goals either none of this is stuff that we would say in the end of year performance review that we talked about and discipline to so that is a big big problem. Frankly I think it's a lot bigger than fantasy football we only have so much time so making the most of our time at work means filling our two thousand three thousand work hours with on lee the things that deserve to be there so I found the successful people are constantly calculating the opportunity cost what else could I be doing with that our what am I not doing? Because I'm doing this right, because time has an opportunity cost an hour spent it a meeting could be an hour that you're reaching out to a new client forty five minutes spent answering email is forty five minutes. You could have been coaching an employee to get a better performance out of that person. Time has an opportunity cost sometimes it helps to actually put a dollar figure on it. That's why those people are putting those dollar figures on the fantasy football status because it really focuses it for us. So maybe you have a weekly team meeting that's long outlived its usefulness, and yet it kind of soldiers on like a zombie despite everyone's attempts to kill it? Well, you know, if you have ten people in a meeting that's two hours that's twenty hours, that is the equivalent of a part time person, right? Is that meeting adding more value to the organization than a part time person would? Well, maybe, but maybe not right you should think about these things and successful people try not to mistake things that look like work for actual work, but there's a corollary to this, which is that you shouldn't fail to see as work things that really are, and for many of us these are things like taking breaks and what I call filling the pot so breaks are productive, they really are and there spend some research finding that people who are counseled on taking regular breaks actually outperform people who don't on matters that impact the bottom wine and it's just common sense, like if you don't take a lunch break, you were gonna be useless after three p m so wouldn't it have been better to take that half hour out of your workday and actually get that extra time in the afternoon? Brakes are great, and you can try to think beyond grabbing the coffee and cookies from the office kits, and there are lots of other ways you can energize yourself beyond grabbing a cookie and grabbing a coffee to take a minute and I want you to write down things you could do that will energize yourself and ten to fifteen minutes, so you're out work ten to fifteen minutes to energize yourself. Sometimes I call this bits of time for bits of joy list what can you do and less than fifteen minutes to make yourself more joyful and more energized? We have some coming in from the internet. No wonder you mad panda says I work at the library is a graphic designer, so sometimes I'll venture off into the bookshelves and find an inspiring book. Oh, I love that, so if you're working at the library, take a quick break to look in the stacks. And jacqueline says, stop think about something that really inspires or stokes your fire and get really congruent with how that feels wonderful to have any others that have come in or, uh not quite yet, okay? They're coming in way. We're getting some ideas on breaks from the people who are at home do we have any hear things you could do in ten to fifteen minutes that really energize you? Yes. Taking a lock, taking a walk as I was walking around the block or and making a phone call and taking a look to making a phone call and taking a walk. That's true, we talked earlier about how, uh there's certain things that we know boost your energy levels and people have recorded you know how energetic d feel at different times during the day and people who've had a coffee in the previous thirty minutes I have a certain level of energy. People who exercised have a higher level of energy right exercise actually boost your energy that energy more than caffeine does so this calling a loved one and connecting with that person so but somebody who has really had a connection with the loved one in the previous thirty minutes would have a higher level of energy than someone who had grabbed a coffee does anyone else have anything they do to energize themselves during the day during their breaks lots of maps coming in lots of naps coming and naps naps are good I uh will take time and just reorganize the shelf it helps just kind of focus my mind and let it kind of wander but I'm still kind of being productive but not really it's enough busy productive ity where that just lets me it was different also you're standing up I mean that's a big part of it I'm sure is that you're standing up you're taking your eyes away from your computer screen that in and of itself is something that can energize you and yes naps naps khun be productive you wantto hopefully have at least a few minutes that you have as we learned nine minutes is hard to make work in the morning with this news button but if you do have time for a twenty minute nap at work that might actually energize you quite a bit so that's a great one so so think about things you could do intend to fifteen minutes to energize yourself oh I would love to hear some more yes uh lala says checking in with a colleague and just offering how are you feeling? Really and what can I do to make your life easy for five minutes oh nice I want to work with her I work for twenty five minutes and take five minute breaks then I lunch I take a thirty minute break and those free five minutes I do some yoga flows, it helps to keep my body moving to let's. Go to a yoga pose is something you can definitely do to energize yourself, and they're just make a list of these things because part of the problem is when we get a moment like we've been working really hard on something, we often take a break by checking email, right or surfing the web, sort of randomly check cnn si what's coming on and that's fine, but email doesn't necessarily energize you as much as taking a brisk walk, right, or going to say hello to a colleague is also taking a break and really connecting with each other. So make your list your bits of time for bits of joyless and keep it somewhere near your desk. So if you're sitting there thinking, what do I want to do with myself? I've got some time here. What should I do with myself? You can choose something from that list instead of just checking email.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Laura Vanderkam Bonus Workbook.pdf

bonus material with enrollment

Laura Vanderkam Bonus Schedule.pdf

Ratings and Reviews


Listening to the free on-air version. She's got a good presentation style - nice to get someone who doesn't have the "ums" and "uhs" every other sentence. She's engaging but also delivers good content. It's not the same old time management stuff: she's got realistic ideas and innovative suggestions. I like the way she refers to published research, too.

vol leo

This class was amazing! A must for anyone that's at a stand still in life! Awesome!


This is a really useful class. It's pretty involved but you walk away with a useful plan for how to more effectively start your day.

Student Work