Jan 4, 2012

Onwards with the Plan

Three working days have passed since I began my project. And on all three working days, I was able to leave at 6 pm sharp. So that is a success.

Of course it is early days yet. The new year has just begun and the pace of work is still slow as some people are still away on leave. The challenge will be to increase my productivity so much that even when business is in full swing, I am still able to leave at 6 pm.

I have already implemented all the seven productivity ideas mentioned in my earlier post. Here are three additional ideas that I will be implementing.
  • Using the Blackberry while commuting. On most days, I use public transport to go to work and to return home. So I will use this time on the MRT or bus to read my emails and draft replies. For example, if I leave office at 6 pm and the bus or train ride takes 40 minutes, I can use those 40 minutes to check my emails.
  •  Having lunch early or late. I can beat the lunchtime crowd either by going for lunch early, or very late. This means saving the time that would otherwise be spent queueing to buy for food and waiting for a place to sit. I can then use the regular lunch (12:30 to 1:30 pm) to do more work in the office.
  • Using a to-do list. I have often used some sort of to-do list, but now I am trying to be more consistent about it - in other words, to use it every day. Using a to-do list helps to track my work and also prioritise the different matters. There is an art and skill to using to-do lists effectively. This merits a separate blog post for the future.  
Anyway as I am typing this, it is 10:45 pm. I am at home and I am waiting for the clock to show 11:00 pm. The reason is that at 11 pm, I need to dial in for a conference call with some colleagues in New York and Frankfurt.

These are the perils of working in an extremely international organisation. I estimate that in a year, I might do about 16 conference calls at night (after 8 pm Singapore time). I don't think that it is really possible or desirable to avoid these calls - in fact, they tend to be quite important - even though they are not in line with the spirit of my 6 pm project.

On the plus side, I am usually able to take these calls from my home. So they do not technically interfere with the 6 pm target.


Anonymous said...

16 in a year is a blast. On a bad month, there can be 16 in a month.

But basically, one have to have a work life balance. I usually leave on time (5.30 pm), spend some family time and then hermit into the study at 9/10pm for "second shift work". Sometimes I start the day later at 10 am.

Anonymous said...

Geez Mr Wang, i am really surprised you dont drive to work. I mean you are a trained lawyer and you service the financial industry. you should be a fat cat right. why in the world are you taking the MRT??

I used to work in the CBD when i graduated and within 3 months i bought my japanese car and happily drove to work paying season of 350/mth. of course i have sinced move on but it was a vast improvement in my quality of life and of course my productivity at work.

As for productivity, let me share my strategy, no matter how much effort you put in, nothing beats having an assistant. Just communicate with one person, he/she will read all the useless mass mailed emails, request, KIV and report only the important to you. A gatekeeper for all the useless staff who wishes to see you for "cover their assess advice"

i would say if i was to quantify, than minimum improvement in productivity is 60%


psqfour said...

for me, i try to "nap" on the MRT or bus. standing with eyes close that is. cos i know i will never get a seat.

ya strange. Why didn't you have a car since you should earning a considerable amount? Do you actually stay near the CBD area?