You Can Work More Effectively With These 7 Tips
Dr Ron Friedman, award-winning psychologist, founder of ignite80, a company that trains practical leadership, has grounded strategies for working smart and creating effective organizations. He is also the author of The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace, and regularly organizes great workplace science seminars and conferences. We now face endless distractions and stress, from cell phone vibrations and alarms to breaking news and the latest videos waiting on desks. Now more than ever, we need strategies to be more effective. But where should we start?
Use your time wisely
The work that makes us most gratifying is when we are in an offensive position, working on projects initiated by ourselves. Many of us perceive this intuitively, yet still allow ourselves to spend most of our time on the defensive, responding to requests from others. Many of the experts I've interviewed believe that top performance manufacturers take steps to ensure the right attack and defence rates. Tom Rath, author of Are You Fully Charged, gives advice on locking time away from email, setting your phone to vibrate for calls from certain colleagues, and refusing to check email first thing in the morning until at least one important task is done first.
Realize that being busy is a lack of concentration
We experience the rush of so much on the plate: we feel valued, challenged, even productive. However, that comfortable experience is actually an illusion. It distracts us and prevents us from completing the most important tasks. As sociologist Dr Christine Carter, an expert at UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center, observed: “Being busy is not a sign of intelligence, importance, or success. If it is said in the extreme, it is almost a sign of compromise, helplessness or fear. Instead of seeing busyness as a sign of importance, top efficiency entrepreneurs see busyness as a sign of wasted energy.
The legendary challenge of "the ideal employee"
Many of us still believe that an "ideal employee" is someone who can work continuously, often to spend on personal life, but reality proves the opposite. High productivity requires you to realize that you cannot work for extended periods of time and remain productive. They recognize and respect their physical limitations by exercising and getting enough sleep, cycling after 90 minutes of maximum focus on work, short breaks, and taking time off from email while resting.
Deliberately leaving important tasks unfinished
We often rush to get work done quickly so we can move on to the next work item on the list. But Professor Wharton and psychologist Adam Grant believe that avoiding this race can actually make us more productive. Instead of concentrating on completing important tasks in one go, try leaving them unfinished. Doing so will encourage you to keep thinking about the job from different perspectives, and in the process, you will discover creative solutions.
Create a backward habit
In a knowledge economy, performance requires more than persistence - it requires insight and problem-solving. Research makes it quite clear that we seem to be able to come up with many breakthrough ideas when we temporarily step out of our routine. That is why the best solutions often manifest themselves when we take a bath, go jogging, or go on vacation. Top performers see leisure time not as a productivity stagnation, but as an effective investment in future performance.
Help others strategically
High performers, like Grant, argued in 2013 in his Give and Take, often tend to be givers - people who enjoy the joy of helping others without any strings attached. While giving away can certainly help you succeed, Grant's data also shows that helping others is a recipe for failure. Top performers, according to Grant, avoid saying yes to every opportunity to help others. Instead, they focus on one or two things that make them really enjoy and stand out.
Planning to say no
The more commitments we make, the more likely we are to experience what author and consultant Rory Vaden calls “priority dilution”. That's when the number of obligations committed will keep us from doing the things that matter most. One method against prioritizing dilution is a whole speaking strategy, so you don't have to stop and think about how you can respond every time you need to reject someone. Create an email template, or write a script you can use. When you have to deal with a manager asking you to do more than is reasonable, think more than a yes / no model. Consultant, author Greg McKeown suggests discussing with your manager and making a list of all the projects you currently working on. Specify which items you think should be prioritized and invite this manager to share their opinions. It is a way to clear up any problems you have without saying "no".