We all want to be more effective and efficient in our work. The way to do that isn’t pushing harder; it’s being more strategic. Here are three ideas to try.
Plan for the unplanned.
I often hear people say that they have trouble finding the time to get things done because of unexpected disruptions. If you find this is happening often, there’s typically a pattern and your first step is to notice it. How much time do you lose to these disruptions per week? As you plan each week, start factoring that time into your schedule to give yourself leeway to deal with the unexpected. Eventually, you can start working on the underlying issue – how to minimize the disruptions in the first place.
Take time to reflect.
It’s important that you have time each week to process what’s going on. You need a chance to look back at the week’s events, decide what they mean and adjust your priorities and focus accordingly. If you’re super-busy, start by blocking out even as little as 10 minutes to reflect. Initially, you don’t have to specify how you will use the time; just start by getting the time on the calendar. Over time, work toward designating the topics you will focus on during each block of time. Perhaps you need to focus on a major project that’s underway, or on how the week’s events affect your Big 3 priorities.
Reach out for help.
When things get hectic, our tendency can be to buckle down, work late and plow through. But instead of trying to get everything done yourself, think about whom you can reach out to for help. That could mean people on your team at work or even in your personal support network if you need a hand with something like child care. Remember that giving others a chance to help benefits them too. It can give them extra exposure at work or a chance to develop their skills. And it makes your relationship closer when you show trust by leaning on them.
This week, I challenge you to take a step back from your to-do list to put one or more of these strategies into play. Remember that small steps can lead to big results.