How do you go from working about 80 hours a week down to 40 hours a week, and have the two most successful years of a 20+ year career?

Well, I did just that only a few years ago.

 

THE WHY…

During the final two years of my corporate life I took my business area, currently lying 48th out of 51 after yet another re-structure to 2nd in the country by the Time I left, all whilst working less hours than I had done in the previous years.

I’d had a reasonably successful career, achieved great results, kept getting promoted, (not saying I was perfect – I wasn’t, am still not, and never will be), and often asked to support colleagues doing the same role.

I’d achieved this through hard work and long hours, believing that was just how it was.  One of the most irritating phrases I used to hear was “work smarter, not harder”, and I remember thinking if it was that simple we’d all be doing it wouldn’t we!

I wish I could say this transformation in how I worked was part of some big master plan, but in all honesty, it came out of pure desperation!  Stressed out, knackered, frustrated (along with many of my colleagues), I was close to quitting my job.

THE SOLUTION…

Realising this wasn’t necessarily the smartest thing to do at the Time, I paused for breath and asked a smart question…

“If this was my business, what would I do?”

The answer was a simple one…

“A lot less than was being asked of me!”

I then did three simple things:

ONE:  Took all the activities being asked of me and worked out how much Time it all added up to.  It totaled over 90 hours a week!  Becoming aware of this was step one, I was now in a position to make some changes.

TWO:  Created my SmartWeek, taking all 168 hours in the week and completing an exercise I call TimeChunking, where I planned for all 168 hours (inc sleep) with the activity I wanted to do, over a four-week period (to account for the ad-hoc and monthly activities).  This one change enabled me to take back control of my Time!

THREE:  With each of my Teams (individual businesses) created a simple one-page plan every quarter, focussing on just three things (there were up to 29 areas of focus for some!).  See the template.

And since 2010 working with SME Business Owners and Entrepreneurs, I have developed and refined this system into what it is today – SmartWeek.

Now more than ever is there a need for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs to find a way to take back control of their Time in this busy, distracting, interruption-filled chaotic world we now live in, to enable us to Free up Time, be More Productive, and Achieve More.

THE HISTORY BIT…

I come from a retail background, starting as a Sales Assistant and over the years progressing to Manager, onto HR Manager, and the final nine years of corporate life as a Field Manager, working for companies like Iceland, Morrisons, Texaco and LloydsPharmacy.

And since leaping off the corporate cliff in 2010, I’ve worked with SME Business Owners and Entrepreneurs, as well as Managers in larger corporates.  In total I’ve had the privilege of working with over 800 people on a one-to-one basis, as well as thousands in Teams and training workshops.

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon (I certainly don’t have the intelligence for that!) to identify the trends experienced by Individuals and Teams preventing them from having the Time to achieve more.

THE NEXT CHAPTER…

Since 2010 working with SME Business Owners and Entrepreneurs, I have developed and refined the system I used into what it is today, and I’m now on a mission to get it – SmartWeek – into the hands of as many people as possible.

And to help us realise the solution doesn’t have to be to work harder and for longer, there really is another way, to be Smart with our Time, design our SmartWeek, and ultimately be able to…

 

Free up Time > Be More Productive > Achieve More

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