How many of you have heard “work harder” is the answer? Having time to pursue goals outside of work is important. It fulfills and energizes you and gives your life more meaning. Yet, work projects, systems, and team interactions seem to get in your way and sap your mental and emotional energies. The truth is, these two words are like being on the “proverbial hamster wheel” where you are running in circles, instead of making progress. It’s time to learn how to work smarter and become more effective in your work efforts.
10 Tips to Create a “Work Smarter” Attitude
- Be Present.
This is the most important tip! All of us have a distracting “monkey mind” that is clamoring for attention and fearfully pointing out things that could go wrong. To tame your monkey mind, be present in conversations and when doing your work. You will uncover better solutions and build stronger working relationships.
- Honor Your Word.
This is the second most important tip. Do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it. (This sentence is worth reading again!) Write down your commitments. Then, follow-up and follow-through as promised every time.
- Create Real Goals.
Unaccomplished goals happen because they are not real goals! Write down your real goal in ten (10) words or less with a completion date. Make sure they are achievable, measurable, have a completion date, and create a gap from where you are now.
- Conduct True Brainstorming Sessions.
Listen and encourage new ideas from all team members. Remember, doing what you’ve always done does not encourage innovation! Now, select one or two of these new ideas to implement immediately. Taking on more than one or two ideas at a time is overwhelming and engages everyone’s “monkey mind.”
- Write Down Focused-Action Plans with Milestones.
This keeps you focused and moving forward. Start with the end date in mind. Work backwards to today to create milestones. Then, fill in the details. Now, take at least one focused action step ASAP. Then, the next one. Beware of sabotaging yourself with busy work.
- Stay in Communication.
Keeping everyone up-to-date and on the same page prevents misunderstandings. Use team meetings, 1:1 chats, emails, and electronic messaging. Rely on the written focused-action plan as your checklist to determine progress and areas for improvement. Remember, to keep your boss updated.
- Use an Agenda and Set a Time Limit.
Make the most of your time by using and sharing a meeting agenda to keep everyone on track. If you don’t do this, your meetings will always go too long. This one tip will have you get more done in less time.
- Delegate Based on Strengths.
Know the strengths of each team member, including yours, when asking for help. For example, if someone is great at calculating costs, it’s faster for that person to complete a ROI. Provide cross-training when possible.
- Become a System Expert.
Stop hiding behind “that’s the way the system works,” when customers are looking for more than you are providing them. Learn the system by using “hands-on and real-life” situations before making any changes. Be able to answer these questions: Why is this system in place? What’s the purpose? How does it work?
- Feel Good about Accomplishments! Success builds more successes!
Acknowledge yourself and each team member for their efforts. Share each win with your boss.
So don’t work too hard. Learn to create a work smarter attitude and it will serve you well in both your work and personal life.
About the Author:
Jeannette Seibly is an award-winning champion for people and results, guiding bosses and teams to excel. During the past 27 years, she has been an executive coach and keynote speaker, and, the author of, It’s Time to Brag! Business Edition and It’s Time to Brag! Career Edition. She was recognized in 2019 with the SWE WE Local Denver’s “People Choice Award for Best Speaker.” Learn more about Jeannette Seibly and “Straight talk with dynamic results.”