Podcast: Play in new window | Download

Bonjour. In this video, I want to challenge you to say “no” much more.

When I work with leaders and their teams, I take them on a four-month journey. We cover many areas. But, there’s an exercise that is really interesting which consists of analyzing how they want to spend their time. I always start with people’s personal time: their health, family, sleep, lunch.

Yes lunch. You would be surprised how many people quickly throw a sandwich down their throat whilst doing their emails. Shocking especially for a French man like me!

We look at their top priorities and how much time they should be spending on them. We look at the time they need to dedicate each week to plan. We also include time to triage their emails and messages etc.

The result is undoubtedly eye opening for many people.

A few years ago, I did this exercise with the leadership team of a big bank in Australia. At the end of the exercise, they came up with the 45 versus 93. Once they had taken into consideration their personal time, they wanted to work on average 45 hours per week. But when they looked at what they should be spending their time on and added all their other commitments, they needed 93 hours per week.

93 hours per week…

I love this quote from Peter Drucker. Peter Drucker is a leadership guru who has written many books on the subject: ‘there is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which shouldn’t be done at all.’

My suggestion: eliminate.

What do you eliminate? Firstly, any of your low impact activities. Before committing to doing anything, ask yourself this simple question: ‘what impact long-term?’. Anything which is low impact needs to get out of your diary. Eliminate.

Now let’s push this one step further: you also need to eliminate some of your priorities.

I see some leaders taking too much on and giving their team too many priorities. I love this saying: ‘If everything is important, nothing is’. Therefore, you should have the courage to eliminate some of your priorities.

A few suggestions:

Every quarter choose two to three priorities. Not five or ten, just two to three. Then protect time in your calendar. Create recurrent meetings to protect time daily or weekly:

-for your personal priorities (family time, health.)
-for your thinking time on your business priorities
-for your emails and messages

This will probably take up around 40 to 50% of your calendar. That’s ok as you will still have 50% of your time available to deal with other tasks and meetings.

This is this week’s Work Smarter: Live Better tip. Hope you enjoy it. You have a lovely day.

A bientôt


P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you be in control

1. Grab a free copy of my weekly plan
It is a simple tool but very important process to spend 2hrs more per day on your business and personal priorities.


2. Check my video blogs
For my clients, I record regular tips to keep the momentum on challenging their work habits. I have now made the previous video blogs available to all.


3. Get a copy of my book, Work Smarter: Live Better
Pushed by my clients, I wrote a book about practical ways to transform your life by changing your work habits.


4. Work with me and my team privately
If you are feeling swamped: by emails, by meetings, by things to do and you’d like me and my team to work directly with you … just send me an email and tell me a little about your team and business, and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll personally be in touch!


Cyril is the author of ‘Work Smarter: Live Better’, in the top 10 business books in Australia