Meetings, emails, deadlines, milestones—so much of our modern workday involves tracking countless to-dos. Remembering and organizing all these duties can suck up so much time and energy, there’s little left for the work itself. Instead of mastering our tasks, our tasks are mastering us.
The open office layout is meant to foster an egalitarian work environment that inspires creativity and spontaneous collaboration among colleagues. Nearly 60 years since their invention, an increasing body of research is beginning to show what many employees already know—open offices often fall short of that ideal.
Designers and architects don’t have an easy job. Beyond the work it takes to translate ideas into interior designs or blueprints into beautiful buildings, you have to navigate the murky waters of opinion. You have to call upon Zen-like patience to deal with brutally blunt criticism while somehow turning layers of feedback into an idea everyone approves. But there is a way to make the approval process feel more like conversation than conflict. It’s all about choosing tools that let your whole team work together seamlessly. Here’s how to start.
Meetings are a fact of our modern work lives, but they’re not winning any popularity contests. Economist John Kenneth Galbraith summed up the general sentiment when he said, “Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.” And there may be more than a grain of truth there—surveys report that up to 50% of the time we spend in meetings is a waste of time. And it’s costing American businesses an estimated $37 billion a year.
When you have a ton of work on your plate, multitasking seems like the obvious answer. It’s natural to want to ensure every detail is perfect—no matter how many projects you have to oversee. One thing you can’t control, though, is the number of hours in your day. So, what do you do when your default mode is DIY, not delegation? Simple: shift your focus from figuring out how you can do more, to how you can do less. Here’s how you can cross off the to-dos you don’t want to do, starting with these five time wasters.
We’ve long used sports metaphors to describe business situations: “they dropped the ball,” “we hit it out of the park,” or a project launch is “down to the wire.” But, unlike sports, where every other team has to lose in order for one to win, the modern business environment is more about innovating and creating better value for customers than it is about crushing the competition. But the world of sports still has a lot to teach us about how to approach the work itself.