Many people talk a good game when it comes to working smarter. At some point you may find them frazzled trying to meet deadlines or get reports and documents that were due a week ago. I don't play that (at least not all of the time)! Don't get me wrong, I am guilty of falling into the busyness trap. At one point, things got really bad. I had just received additional duties at my 9-5 (that felt more like a 7-6), I was finishing up grad school courses, while managing my home and taking care of my family. I found myself pretty much catching things as they were thrown to me, without any order or plan in place. Talk about stress!
Things got real and I was feeling like....
I couldn't figure my way out of a paper bag at one point. It wasn't until I was going through my employment review and they told me I was more of a doer and that anybody can be a doer but how can I make a difference. I was pissed at first. I got to thinking of all the sacrifices I made to get programs launched and how I was the first one to arrive and the last one to leave. When it came to show what I did, I discovered that the impact I thought I was making had no effect.
I was drained, frustrated, angry, and simply unpleasant to be around.
Then I started working backwards to figure out what I could do to make an impact and I found that I was a hard worker but not a smart worker. Did you catch that? I was a hard worker... I was diligent. I carried out tasks well. I was a doer. I started prioritizing my lists and figuring out ways to work more effectively. I created a tool to use to get my life together at work and at home.
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The Good Stuff...
Here are some tips that won’t allow you to play yourself, but it will give you a chance to work in a smart more efficient way (freeing up your time for more desirable work).
1. Take the initiative: Too many times, people WAIT to be told what to do instead of looking for needs and solutions. If you consistently take the initiative, you will not only build your reputation, you will take care of things and become indispensable.
2. Become an expert. When you are an expert at something, you have a rhythm and process that no one can recreate. They can imitate but not duplicate. When you are an expert, you know that area like the back of your hand, therefore, you can feel an imbalance and catch it and fix it before anyone notices.
3. LEAVE ENTITLEMENT AT THE DOOR. You are not owed ANYTHING. Working hard doesn’t mean do all of the busy work, but understand that if it needs to be done, you should do it or delegate it.
4. Make a plan. This should be number 1, however, we needed something to build unto right? You should have a routine or at least an idea of what you do on a daily basis. Understand that your plan may not go smoothly, but you will need a plan so that you don’t get into the “wandering zone”.
5. Prioritize. There are things that can wait and others that can’t. Be sure to prioritize all tasks, including those you delegate. If you are given tasks, ask about for expectations on delivery.
6. Remember your value-always. Stay confident in your work ethic. You know you are great at what you do (and if you don’t… let’s talk later). Don’t let anyone downgrade your value or purpose. Remove the word ‘just’ from your vocabulary. You are not ‘just’ a (insert position/occupation her). Hold your head up and stick your chest out.
7. Speak Up. No mumbling allowed. Think about what you want to say and say it…professionally. Do not mumble, do not whisper. Speak up and speak loud if you have to. You need to be heard.
8. Keep up with current events and trends in your field. Your input is valuable only when there is value in it. Unless your occupation involves daily gossip, there is no need in wasting your time consuming it. Instead, read up on trends in your industry, read books that add value not only to your profession but to your soul.
9. Leave Social Media alone during work time. Unless it is a part of the job. Remember what I said at number 8. The same goes here.
10. Become a resource and know your resources. Let’s face it. People are lazy. Most won’t look for resources (that are in front of their face, might I add). When you are self-reliant, resourceful, and an expert- you become the dependable one. This leads to more opportunity.
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