Marketers often lament, "If only I had more time." Improving your productivity by using something like GTD (Getting Things Done), which I have written about before, will take you part of the way there. But you also need to become "ruthless" at delegating.
The more effectively you delegate, the faster you will excel in your career. Even if you don't have any direct reports in your job function—perhaps you are in an entry-level marketing assistant position—you can still delegate by having one or more virtual assistants, or "VAs."
There is a veritable army of MBAs in places like Bangalore who are ready and waiting to assume the role of your outsourced virtual assistant. Offload as many of your professional and personal tasks as possible, and it can lead to improved productivity, less stress, and a better financial position for you personally—as long as you are able to acquire their services for less than half of what you earn per hour.
That's according to Tim Ferriss, author of New York Times best-seller The 4-Hour Workweek and guest lecturer in high-tech entrepreneurship at Princeton University. Ferriss never had any intention of writing a book. Founder of two companies, one in pharmaceuticals design and the other delivering over-the-counter sports nutrition products designed for elite athletes in 15 countries, he had cause to invoke the busy executive's lament.
Working 80-90 hours per week and checking his emails 100-200 times per day (no exaggeration), Tim even admitted in my recent interview with him (available here as a 25-minute audio podcast for your listening pleasure) to sleeping under cubicles and in his office.
During a four-week decompression trip to London, Tim set a rule to check his email just once a week and fully expected his company to fail without his constant management. Instead, within four weeks, the profits at the company went up close to 30% after a redesign and fat-trimming.
Yes, he was no longer the bottleneck for decision-making and information flow—an eye-opening revelation that blew all assumptions about work/life/career/entrepreneurship out the window.
In fact, after unchaining himself from the urgency addiction and being on constant call with his business, he ended up traveling the world for 15 months to see how far he could push the concept of outsourcing and automating his business, and outsourcing and automating his life.