Getting ahead of the game

Getting ahead of the game

12 more minutes x 5 work days = 1 extra hour per week or 52 hours a year –       What would you do with that time?

Take a few minutes and answer the following questions.

  1. Are the tasks you work on throughout the day the ones with the highest priority?
  2. Do you find yourself finishing tasks at the last minute?
  3. Do you deal with frequent interruptions?
  4. Do you have a contingency plan for dealing with the “unexpected” when it crops up?
  5. Are you stressed about deadlines and commitments?

If you found your answers less than desirable, here are some thoughts and ideas that may help you stack the deck in your favor.

First, admit multitasking is bad. You can’t concentrate on more than one thing at a time and do it well.

Learn your procrastination signals. Does the world wide web call your name? Can you ignore email notifications? Do you check Facebook or Instagram every 15 minutes? Are there times of the day you are more productive than others? Learn to avoid the triggers that derail your progress.

Safeguard blocks of time. Schedule yourself. It’s ok to close your door or ask for uninterrupted time. In the past, I’ve been known to close my door and tape a sign to it that says “on a conference call – do not enter” so that I could write uninterrupted. Maybe you need to come in early before the distractions of the day begin. Maybe you work better in the evening and can stay late and knock out a chunk of a project. How ever you need to carve out time, do it.

Make a list. Prioritize – then do the most important item first.  You’ll feel l like you’ve accomplished something, and the smaller things will fall into place.

Learn to ask yourself a simple question all throughout the day – “Is this what I need to be doing right now or is it what I want to be doing?”

Managing time isn’t about finding more hours in the day, it’s about using the ones you have to the best of your ability.

One final tip, spend the last five minutes of every day making your “must do” list for tomorrow. Prioritize it before you go home. The next morning, begin with item #1. Don’t get hung up on only crossing off one or two items. You’ll be working on the most important items and finishing tasks in the needed manner.

Engagement must have trust

Engagement must have trustI’ve been reading and working a lot with the idea of growing engagement and creating a positive culture in the workplace. Engagement not only relates to how involved someone is but also the attitude behind the decision to take part. Attitude becomes a key driver and it can have huge impacts on both the culture of an organization and on how work gets done.

A company’s culture is what sets them apart. It’s why people choose to stay and why people just know they need to do business with you. It pours out into all areas. People know instinctively when they are around other people who share the same ideas, beliefs and values. It makes you want to be around them more. The same is true for your employees. When they believe in the promise of your culture, they will be more productive, loyal employees.

Skill sets for a position are easy to measure. Can you use the software? Can you complete the process? Is the form filled out correctly? Yet lack of concentration or motivation can keep the most skilled person from completing tasks correctly and in a timely manner. Complacency creeps in and employees begin to feel it doesn’t really matter if it’s done right or not.

Lack of engagement effects an employee’s belief in the future of the company. They may feel the future isn’t all that bright and that the company is carrying on just like it always has in the past. That lack of belief in the future causes many employees to move on to other businesses which leaves you with a vacant position and all the time, energy, and money you’ve invested in someone’s training going out the door.

In my experience, lack of trust is the biggest hindrance I’ve seen in growing engagement. It’s also one of the hardest things to overcome. It’s not something that happens overnight. This lack of trust has been built week after week, month on top of month and added up for years. It becomes very isolating for some.

Employees begin to function in a bubble. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t ask questions. Just show up. Do your job. Go home. Repeat. For basic functions, this may be ok, but if you want your business to move to the next level, you want employees to care enough to ask questions about processes and ideas. Without questions, there are no new ideas. There’s no growth.

That lack of trust grows like a disease in a company and can begin to effect even the most tried and true employees. It seeps into the culture of an organization and can take over. But there are a few things you can do to try and contain and hopefully improve the situation.

When you hire think about the culture you are wanting to create. Maybe they have great skills but you know they aren’t going to fit in. Hold out for that person that meets both the skill and attitude you are looking for.

Training is a great way to show your employees you are invested in them. Teaching them how to manage and not micromanage will get you big returns.

Clear communication is a must. Hoarding information doesn’t make you powerful. It destroys an organization. People need to feel like they have a vision for the company and that there is a plan to get there. They also need to feel like their role plays a vital part in getting to that next step.

Make sure you aren’t focusing on the past. Looking back at people or reasons to blame lack of productivity on doesn’t fix your problem. Only by looking forward can you start hearing refreshing and positive solutions.

Look for ways to value quality over quantity. You’ll find that people respond well and produce more.

It’s a deeply rooted human characteristic to want to be part of something more. Does your company seek to continually improve? Does it strive to be significant? Do you push the envelope with innovation? Are you seeking to create a work family? If so, you are on the right track