When you request the status of something, some people respond by saying that they’ve assigned a lot of people to the effort, thrown tons of money at it, or they’ve already put in loads of time. Unfortunately, that doesn’t answer the question. It doesn’t matter how many hours they’ve worked. What did they accomplish? How can you work smart and achieve more?
Putting in the time doesn’t cut it; getting the job done is what counts.
25 Ways to Work Smart and Achieve More
Some people think that looking busy is the same as being productive. They want a medal because they’re the first to arrive in the morning and last to leave at night. But just because someone puts in the time doesn’t make that person productive. You get paid for results, not your time. Here are 25 ways to achieve more:
Think before you act. Know where you’re going before you try to get there. Ready, fire, aim is a recipe for disaster.
Plan your day. Be prepared or prepare to be blindsided. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
Establish priorities. Focus on doing the right things rather than completing a lot of tasks. If everything’s a priority, then nothing’s a priority.
Do what matters most. According to the Pareto Principle, 80% of results come from 20% of the efforts. Given that rule, start by identifying tasks that produce the greatest results and make them a priority. Then consider whether the remainder should be automated, delegated, or eliminated.
Create a don’t do list. Subtracting from your to-do list is as important as adding to it. As Peter Drucker, the management guru, said, “Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.”
Delegate nonessential tasks. You can’t do everything yourself. Focus on priorities and delegate the rest to others.
Leverage technology. Use technology to help you stay organized, improve efficiency, enhance communication, boost collaboration, and increase accuracy.
Do it right the first time. Some folks sacrifice quality for speed. Crossing things off your list may be satisfying but having to redo them is unproductive.
Waste not want not. Scrutinize how many people attend meetings or the number of people who work on an activity.
Batch similar tasks. Group similar tasks together so that you can do them simultaneously rather than haphazardly throughout the day.
Watch what you believe. Curtail unproductive behavior such as complaining, worrying, and babbling self-defeating thoughts.
Eliminate time wasters. Reduce distractions and disruptions that hijack your day. Remember, those who waste the most time are usually the first to complain of having too little.
Break down tasks into bite-sized pieces. Reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed by solving big problems in small pieces.
Learn to say no. Although it’s nice to be needed, don’t try to make everyone happy at the expense of your own needs.
Request help. Be strong enough to stand on your own two feet, but wise enough to know when to ask for help.
Ask questions early on. Ask questions early in the process rather than wasting time and effort because you failed to get clarification.
Get organized. Don’t waste time looking for misplaced items, reinventing the wheel, or repeating mistakes.
Reduce bureaucracy and red tape. Reduce cumbersome rules, wasteful paperwork, meaningless approvals, and unnecessary meetings. Simplicity wins. It’s that simple.
Prepare contingency plans. Ask yourself “what-if” questions because things rarely go according to plan.
Cancel unnecessary meetings. Eliminate wasteful meetings that have no apparent agenda, or those that drift into irrelevant discussions or drag on endlessly.
Measure what’s important. Measure progress — not the time spent working. In addition, if it doesn’t add value, question why you’re doing it.
Establish periodic checkpoints. Periodically check whether you’re still on course. After all, you may have taken a wrong turn long ago.
Learn from experience. Profit from experience, learn from your mistakes, and adapt accordingly.
Pause to reflect. Learn to take a five-minute vacation. It’ll provide you with needed perspective.
Share knowledge. Whenever an employee leaves an organization, they take a wealth of knowledge with them. Capture that vital information before you lose it for good.
Work Harder and Smarter
The phrase work smarter not harder creates a false dichotomy. The fact is that working smart is not a substitute for working hard. Although it’s critical to employ every strategy that improves your outcome, hard work is indispensable to achieve more. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The only thing standing in the way of you and astronomical success is the will and the desire to make it a reality. As Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimmer, said, “There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, there are no limits.” If you’re going to be busy, be productive.
Check out Franks NEW book, Leadership by Example: Be a role model who inspires greatness on others
What Will You Do to Achieve More?
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