So, you say that you’re not able to get enough done at work. It seems like there are just never enough hours in the day. You tend to get bogged down in small projects, and spend far too much valuable time in meaningless phone conversations.
At last, help has arrived. Here are a few simple ways for you to be more effective at work.
Put a cork in it. If you have time leaking out of your daily schedule because you can’t communicate what you need to in a timely manner, plug up those time leaks. Miscommunication is one of the worst culprits for killing your effectiveness and increasing your frustration. Our society now has high-tech access to a myriad of communication tools, such as cell phones, email, pagers, teleconferencing and faxes, but you have to use the right tool to get the most accomplished.
Be sure to ask people which method of communication works best for them and use it consistently when contacting them. You should continue to communicate with them using this method until it starts to prove ineffective, and then simply ask them if their preferred method of communication has changed. Be sure to let others know the best ways to reach you too.
Many times the day of the week or the time of day makes a huge difference in whether you will be able to reach someone, or whether you will be playing phone tag with them for three days. So ask them, “When is the best time to reach you?”
When you do get in contact with people, you don’t want to waste time by not covering all of your information, or by forgetting an important question. So, prepare a checklist that includes each point you need to cover. You may even want to prioritize your checklist, so that you will be sure to cover the most important points first.
Don’t assume that you are being understood; ask. Also, work at being a good listener and reader. Having to repeat information (or having it repeated to you) is a drastic waste of time.
Stick close to your friends. Don’t forget the “human element” at work, or you will destroy your effectiveness in record time. We all know people who are only concerned about themselves. When things are going well, they ignore others, but when they need help, they turn on the charm. It doesn’t take long for people to figure this game out. Without a support system at work, it is highly unlikely that you’ll be effective for very long.
How do you build a support system? It’s simple: Be kind to others. Kindness is more than a few well-placed favors. It is a helpful attitude, an understanding spirit and a listening ear when needed. Basically, it’s anything that lifts another person. Coworkers in your support system will increase your effectiveness by helping you out when you’re in a jam, or letting you in on better ways that they have found to do things.
Pick your battles carefully. Let’s face it—putting major energy into minor issues is foolish. Going on “crusades” over small matters will sap your energy and time and lead to a frustration level that will paralyze your effectiveness. Furthermore, others will find you annoying and see you as a chronic complainer. Coworkers who always have their armor on, prepared for battle whenever they are around you, aren’t very likely candidates to join your support system. Picking your battles is essential for your continued effectiveness.
Stand for something. Sitting in one place for a long period of time is not only bad for your posture, it also can kill your effectiveness.Those who remain stationary for very long tend to bog down physically and mentally. So, stand up.Stand up when you answer the phone and remain standing throughout the conversation. Get up and move around at least once an hour. Take a quick walk around the building, or up and down a flight of stairs. Your body will thank you, and your mind will be revived (not to mention the fact that you will burn a few calories).
Handle it now. When a problem arises, don’t ignore it and let it grow; handle it immediately. Many hours are lost every day because someone let a small issue grow into a huge problem before they decided to do something about it. Furthermore, don’t be a “paper pusher.” If you pick up a piece of paper from your desk, handle whatever issue that paper represents before you put it back down.
Check your attitude. Finally, your attitude makes all the difference. The bottom line: If you are convinced that you are going to be ineffective at work, you will be. The great author William A. Ward said it best: “Men never plan to be failures; they simply fail to plan to be successful.”
[Robert J. Fortner is just a guy with two kids and too many jobs. Praise God for caffeine.][Stories on RELEVANTmagazine.com are user-submitted. The viewpoints expressed are the opinions of the author and do not necessary reflect the opinion of RELEVANT magazine. For exclusive in-depth stories, subscribe now to RELEVANT magazine. If you are interested in submitting an article, please check out our writers guidelines.]