March Madness Challenge

MarchMadnessImageIt’s estimated that during the first week of March Madness over 77 million employees will spend at least one hour of work time filling out brackets. Millions more will spend three or more hours online checking their grid, e-mailing co-workers, watching games online, etc. During the opening round an employee on the west coast can watch live games from 9am until the end of the day!

Madness, March Madness!

The reality is that regardless of March Madness, we all waste time at work. Baby Boomers do it, Gen X’ers do it (I’m one of them), and Millennials do it the most. Sorry Millennials, that’s what the studies tell us.

Studies show that on a regular workday as much as 50% of the workday is wasted on tasks and activities that are not in alignment with our top work priorities. That’s a lot of wasted time! So let’s try something: let’s redefine “March Madness” and replace some of our “soft-time” with productive, business-building activities. Madness, indeed!

How? Cut out some of the 350 million pictures we post on Facebook , the 86,000 hours of videos we post on You Tube, and the 400 million tweets we send each day. We don’t really intend to waste time on social media. You think “Ok, I’ll just take 2 minutes to watch this one video and then get back to work.” Twenty minutes later you find yourself still on YouTube watching funny cat videos.

In addition to wasting time on social media, we arrive late, we leave early, we take long lunches, we chat next to the water cooler, and we can’t imagine a day without texting our family and friends to check in and share a story or make plans. We waste time, there’s no doubt about it.

So, here’s my March Madness Challenge… Identify and eliminate 2 hours a day of “soft time” each week during the NCAA Tournament. Make a commitment to:

  • Get into work a few minutes earlier
  • Get back from lunch on time
  • Don’t leave until the end of the day
  • Focus on being both effective & efficient.
  • Start your day with 6 important tasks written down and mark them off as you complete them.

It may help to plan your week out before you get to work on Monday morning. Go ahead and schedule in your NEW March Madness routine, whatever you need to eliminate wasted time and truly focus on your top work priorities.

Hopefully, with this new found awareness, you’ll end up being more productive (despite NCAA March Madness) and who knows, after they cut the nets down in April maybe you’ll replace some of the soft-time with even MORE high yield activities. You might make 2 more calls per hour, see one more client each day, read a book, take a seminar…all of those things that have always been important, but haven’t been urgent.

The ability to plan, act on and complete the activities that drive productivity and your business are simply what the most effective people in your industry do each and everyday. Use March Madness as a catalyst to replace bad habits with better habits. And, of course . . . good luck with those brackets this year!


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