Paul Wherly

Hire a PA and Monotask

A few weeks ago I posted the blog How to be more productive in the office – it was posted both here on the Employee-IT-Training blog and on another platform

The title of this blog is from one of the comments I got on the Sunzu platform. It was such a great comment that I felt it deserved to be reproduced as a blog of its own.

Here is what – Marcus Cauchi  Sales Management Training had to say

Hire a PA

Pay them above market rate.

Get them to do what they’re good at to let you do what you’re good at. Hire a good PA before you hire a salesperson.

Pay them above market rae so that it’s difficult for them to leave or be poached by a competitor.


Monotasking is about twice as fast with 70% fewer mistakes and subsequent rework required. Our brains are wired for many things but we don’t do multitasking well. We’re wired for social interaction and to do 1 thing very well if we focus on it. We learn best by focused, intentional practice. Repetition and reinforcement, learning form our mistakes. I hear you cry “I have no time for all this faffing” to which I retort, of course you have no time because you’re spending it inefficiently, repeating work you did badly the first time and took longer than you needed by a factor of approx 143% because of how you do things today.

To Don’t Lists

It’s more about what you learn to say ‘no’ to than what you say ‘yes’ to that matters most. Long To Do Lists are just morale sapping wishlists that never get done. Keep it simple. No more than 3 things on the real To DO List. Do them and then add 3 more. You may not add any new ones until you get the top 3 done first.

What do you say No to?

On the subject of what you say “no” to, interruptions are killers of productive time. Each one costs you approximately 7 minutes of recovery time once the time (3, 5, 10, 30 minutes) you have sacrificed to take care of the interruption has passed. One client clocked an average of 32 interruptions per day form the phone, emaila and her staff. By the time she was done recovering 4 hours were lost (32x7mins) and 5 hours of doing other people’s jobs, so she had been stuck in the trap of working 17-21 hour days, 6 days a week. Managing her family adn the practice was taking its toll. By restructuring how she managed her use of time, and the boundaries she set with her staff, via email autoresponder and 90-day planning she reduced her work to 5 days at 9 hours with a 100% increase in her productivity in just 2 weeks.

As to restricting broadband access, I’m curious what sends the message to staff that abuse of the facility is OK? I use broadband access for both personal and productive reasons during the working day but find many other ways of being unproductive and studiously avoid tasks I’d rather not do.

My sense here is that the leadership of most organisations lacks cohesion and a split, no matter how small at the top of any company, usually translates into politics and turf wars further down, even in very small companies. Management fails to communicate what they want with total clarity and so the message gets lost, diluted or ignored as another “this too will pass” non-event ebcaus ethere is no accountability and no one is ever held to task for not sticking to a decision made by them and their peers in the leadership or management meeting.

Managers and leaders fail to overcommunicate what is expected with clarity until the behaviour of their people changes into habit and eventually it becomes part of their culture. Hand in glove with that failure is the failure to reinforce every day, through parise and recognition, constuctive conflict and criticism, appraisals, compensation and other management tools for driving consenting behaviour from their troops.

Instead they grumble and nod knowingly about their people – they are trying to take out the speck of dust in someone else’s eye instead of noticing the log in their own!

That leads to a hideous waste of time, inviting inefficiency and low productivity as symptoms.

Nice article Shelley and thank you for triggering me into thinking about this important topic.


Thanks Marcus – great comments and more food for thought!!

Shelley Fishel






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact us

Would you like to talk through your IT Training needs?
Just send through your details and we'll get back to you.