Project success today is threatened by the fallacy of 80 percent resource availability for project work. A look at your typical employee\u2019s calendar, full of recurring meetings, would prove that assumption wrong. Yet this erroneous assumption still persists. The net is that we are being overworked. Studies show that personal productivity rates fall dramatically when an employee works over 40 hours per week for a long period of time. It doesn\u2019t have to be this way. Leveraging the data we collect as a data-centric organization can light a path to greater productivity.\nLessons from the quantified self approach\nOrganizations need to increase project time while reducing recurring and ad hoc work. These work types were introduced here, as part of the OPRA resource capacity model. Organizations need to collect work data to understand the demands of recurring and ad hoc work.\nI\u2019ve gained weight as I\u2019ve gotten older. I\u2019m the same height as I was in high school but I weigh significantly more. Most of this weight gain occurred because I stopped paying attention to what I was eating.\nI\u2019ve since adopted a \u201cquantified self\u201d approach where I track what I eat. I\u2019ve lost 10 lbs. since I started writing down what I eat. Why? Because writing down three donuts in my meal tracker looks bad. Data creates awareness and awareness changes decision making.\nThis awareness issue exists in our organizations. Recurring work consumes greater amounts of our time. We stop thinking about these tasks because doing them has become a habit. When\u2019s the last time you gave more than a passing thought to the time spent on this week\u2019s team meeting?\nIn a perfect world\nOrganizations would know how much time it takes to run the business. Understanding the time commitment for recurring and ad hoc activities enables management to better assess, select and prioritize new project investments. These activity time budgets would function much like financial budgets, providing targets for management to maximize project throughput.\nThis ability to select the most valuable projects is the promise of portfolio management. Yet many companies attempt to do portfolio management without the underlying data to support their decisions. Assumptions about work demands lead to suboptimal portfolios.\nThe quantified workplace\nAdopting a \u201cquantified workplace\u201d approach empowers you to prioritize the most important work to be done in the regular work week. This prioritization eliminates the stress of fretting about how many hours it will take to get all work done this week. The identification and potential elimination of low value work frees up time for rewarding and valuable tasks.\nEighty percent project availability is doable if you are mindful about doing what is absolutely necessary in the remaining 20 percent of your time.\nThree quantification techniques\nThe first step to 80 percent is determining where your organization stands today. The first step is potentially the easiest. Have everyone keep a work diary for the next three weeks. It won\u2019t be complete or precise and that\u2019s OK. The point of the exercise is to call attention to the routine work. These diaries can simply be a list of tasks written on a sheet of paper.\nThe second step is to identify, classify and address low value work. After the three weeks, the teams should analyze their teammates\u2019 diaries. This collaborative review should note recurring tasks and any time that seems really long for the given task. Many organizations waste time in extended work preparation. Teams may also find they are handling tasks better suited for another team.\nOnce you\u2019ve identified some task candidates for optimization, the third step is to fix them. Once, we found a weekly fifteen-minute task was taking over six hours to complete. When examined, an average of six hours was spent gathering the requisite information via email to perform the task. The team invested an hour to create an electronic form for employees to request the task. The form required all of the information before submission, eliminating the six hours per week work. That\u2019s one task change that saved seven person-weeks of effort over the course of a year. Repeat this process often to keep the team focused on the highest value work.\nConstant monitoring of recurring work ensures that the effort level stays managed long term. Data-centric organizations track recurring task effort level via time tracking. \u00a0If the effort level exceeds the norm, management attention is warranted.\nPlease like this article if you liked the content. I look forward to reading your viewpoints and experiences in the comments below.