How to get more done without working longer hours

Are you looking for ways to get more done without working longer hours?

What if you could multiply one hour of work into 10, 100 or even 1,000 or more?

If you’ve ever read a blog (since you’re reading this I think it’s safe to assume you have), or read a book, or watched a video you’ve experienced the multiplication of one or several hours of work into hundreds or thousands of hours of enjoyment.

Blogs, books and videos are some examples of scalable work.

Work is scalable if, once you’ve created it, someone or many people can use it many times without you investing any more of your time. For example, I’ve invested an hour in this post, but it could be read by 1, 10, 100 or 1,000 or more people and I wouldn’t have to invest another minute.

If you’re driving change, or just trying to tell people about the upcoming Career Fair, I’m guessing you have more people to win over than time to do it.  You need scalable solutions.

How do you find them?

For starters: look for things you’re doing in person that would work well on video, on a blog or in a podcast instead.

What’s your most limited resource?

Are you recycling the limited resource’s time through the same old thing (e.g, bringing class after class to hear the expert trainer only when the expert trainer is available)?

Or are you leveraging the limited resource’s time (e.g., taping their training) and multiplying their impact (e.g., playing the video alone or pairing the video with a more available trainer leading discussion)?

Could you post a podcast of an important message instead of asking every manager to repeat it?

Could you start a blog or social networking site to reach more people than you usually run into in the hallways in a day?

Should you write a book, an article, an e-mail for mass forwarding?

You can make some things scalable, so put your effort into scaling them and take them as big as they will go.  When you’ve got limited time and lots to do, why not try?

Look below the fold for the scalable solution I tried and how well it worked.

About six months ago I was struggling for a way to get more out of the limited time I had with a great teacher.

How could I get his presence, his teaching, his message out faster and wider? We agreed he would teach a one-hour session on Leading Effective Meetings.

I took him up on his offer and dutifully went through the usual preparations.

I reserved a big room so as many people as possible could attend.  I advertised and took RSVPs to make sure I got the room full.

If I’d stopped there I would have reached 50 people. That’s would have been seen as a fine return for an hour of the teacher’s time.

But since I knew about scalable solutions, I didn’t stop there.

I taped his training session and had 100 DVDs made.

Then,  I gave the DVDs away.

I posted messages on internal message boards and announced in meetings that I had a free training DVDs to whomever wanted one.  My only request when I gave the DVD away: Pass it on to someone else when you’re done.

So far I’ve handed out more than 100 DVDs.

Even if only 50 DVDs ever get watched and only 25 of those get passed on, I’ve still tripled my total investment (I put 20 hours of the company’s time into taping, copying and distributing the DVDs) and–more importantly–I only spent one hour of the teacher’s time (my most limited resource).  With my limited estimates I’m easily over 100 to 1 return on the teacher’s time, maybe even pushing 200 or more for his one hour.

In your effort to drive change, one scalable solution could make all the difference. Why not try?

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