Why are the levels of efficiency at workplace so varied? Assuming similar levels of intelligence among people, why do we see few people effortlessly getting more work done than others? I’m sure each of us has come across at least one star-performer at office. Have you ever wondered what makes them successful every time?
Here are a few traits of highly productive people:
Pre Think: Before actually beginning to work on any task, compose a detailed pre-thought on the inputs that will be needed to deliver the desired output. Make a rough sketch of the entire work flow in your head and then simply execute it. This will help you to take the necessary steps to acquire all the raw data and information. Situations where you spend 2 hours doing a particular work procedure only to realize that it is not taking you anywhere closer to your objective will be substantially reduced. Thus, you save time and effort and improve your chances of delivering the task ahead of schedule.
Don’t get scared of hard work: Often, we get a feeling that a particular task is very tedious and time-consuming. We either tend to avoid it or find some shorter alternatives (these alternatives may not give optimum results unless you have validated them at the pre-thinking stage). Usually, such tasks are not as tedious, lengthy or boring as you thought them to be. Once you take the plunge, you may also discover new hacks or smarter ways of completing the task, and the end result will always be sweet.
Do not panic: On particularly bad days, we are saddled with a lot of work, so much so that we think it is impossible to complete it in a single day. On top of that, you may have work that you are not exactly sure how to go about and execute. In such circumstances, first and foremost, “accept” at the beginning of the day that you will have to put in more than normal hours. Then, try to complete tasks that are simple, quick and easy. This will ease the mental clutter and pressure, and then you can approach the difficult work with a free and clear mind. The probability of success will improve drastically.
Say No: Do not take more than you can chew on your plate. Before agreeing to take up a new task, make sure you can do justice to your outstanding commitments as well as the new task. If you think you do not have time to take up the new task, clearly discuss the same with your supervisor or clients. Even after such discussions, if you are required to complete the work, then negotiate and agree on timelines that are reasonable. Also, too commonly, we don’t say no to meetings. It’s not obligatory on your part to accept every meeting blocked on your calendar. If you think it is irrelevant or the matter can be solved via other means of communication, then simply say no. Don’t spend productive time in unproductive meetings.
Master multitasking: Multitasking is the need of the hour. Completing one job, before approaching the next, can happen only in the ideal world and not in the real one. Therefore, we must learn to multitask effectively. To effectively multitask, one must master the technique of switch on and switch off. Being 100% on the current job is essential. Diverted attention will only lead to errors. So, break down a task into sensible parts. Complete some parts of a job efficiently and then approach parts of another job.
Take diverse breaks: Usually, people tend to take breaks by spending time with people from their department or immediate area, and hence their discussions always have a similar frame of reference. Perhaps, taking breaks with diverse groups, people who are not related to your field of work, can open new doors for ideas and perceptions. If that’s not possible, then take part in co-curricular activities where you can interact with a variety of people or look for opportunities to work with cross-functional teams. You will surely widen your horizon and gather new ways of approaching things.
Knowledge Time: There are days when we feel lazy and do not want to do regular tasks. Usually on days after meeting major deadlines, we feel like taking it easy. But if you sit there doing nothing, it may make you feel wretched. A good way to spend such days is to read something relevant to your field. Learning something new will always be interesting, invoke new thoughts and relieve boredom.
Be creative: Make sure you schedule some hours in your work week to think of your job differently. Try to think of something new you can do that will add value, ways to reduce the time you take to do a job or anything that will improve the quality of your deliverables and delight your customers (internal/external). This time should be completely dedicated to “out of the box” thinking. These few hours will go a long way in kicking your work up a notch.
Procrastination: No one can be enthusiastic to the T. We all tend to get lazy at some time or another. It is typical that some of your assignments may be tedious and not deadline-driven. But you know you have to dig in and complete it sooner or later. In such scenarios, it is best to set a deadline and communicate it to the concerned parties. Set weekly targets and conduct weekly review meetings to ensure progress is happening.
Image Credits: http://www.the-hour-glass.com/