Work smarter not harder (my new years resolution..)

7 01 2012

“This year I’m turning my phone off….”

The word “smarter” in the title of this post doesn’t refer to a radical change in behaviour,  I’m suggesting that many of us find ourselves going back and forth from one task to the next all day long?

Does the following sequence of events sound familiar?.  What about your typical day..

  • You get into work and log into your computer.
  • You open up your e-mail and sift through the 15+ e-mails that came in overnight.  You respond to some, forward others and delete spam.
  • Then you notice that you have a voicemail, so you check your voicemail, write it down on a piece of paper, but don’t call the person back immediately.
  • While checking your voicemail, three more e-mails came in, so you go back to e-mail for another 20 minutes, recycling through some of your e-mails from yesterday.
  • Finally around 9:30 or 10:00 a.m. you start actually working.  You open up a report/presentation that you have been working on.  As soon as you open it up a, a call comes in from your boss, so you spend 10 minutes talking about a problem or issue that needs resolving, another 10 minutes discussing the latest sales forecast and then you spend 10 minutes explaining the challenges associated with the current report that you are working on (or trying to work on).
  • After you hang up the phone, in between more phone calls you get about an hour of work done before lunch, and then the whole process starts again!

Does this sound familiar?  Now do you see what I mean by “working smarter not harder?”  How many evenings do you end up working at home or in the office until 6 or 7 p.m. wondering where the time went?

I challenge you to start working smarter!  Working smarter will allow you to get more done in less time and even get to spend some more time at home.  I have read several books on this topic including, “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People”, “Getting Things Done and “The Four Hour Work Week.”

Based on my own experience as well as information from these books, here are some recommendations for working smarter:

  • DO NOT check e-mail first thing in the morning, pick a time later in the morning to check your e-mail.  If possible try to check e-mail two or three times a day at set times (i.e. 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 5p.m.).
  • At the end of your working day, prepare yourself so that you know what you are going to do first the following morning (since you won’t be checking e-mail anymore).
  • When possible, set your internal meetings early or late so to ensure you remain productive.
  • Close your door (and switch off your mobile phone) once in while to eliminate distractions and boost productivity.  You can literally close your door for one hour a day and get more done in that hour than you will the whole afternoon with the door open.

In these difficult times, you have to manage your time effectively.  We do have to answer clients calls on active projects and deal with problems in the moment, but by adopting some of these behaviour patterns should help you “work smarter not harder” and you will be able to  focus on one task at a time.

Rail Champions will be running several workshop on the lessons of FranklinCovey this year with one of our leading associates, John Meredith (Managing Director, The Learning Center).

Kind regards

Chris Williams-Lilley

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