It’s estimated that more than five million people a year in Britain work unpaid extra hours, yet we’ve all had weeks when we get to Friday thinking we could have achieved more, or that we’ve wasted time doing things that were not worthwhile. I work largely in the professional services sector, helping to create environments where people can be at their most productive, delivering better results to the business (and their clients) as a result. Here are just a few ‘golden nuggets’ to help you and your business.
Don’t ask what, ask why
I believe being ‘outcome focused’ can radically change your level of effectiveness - by constantly being REALLY clear about what you are trying to achieve and why, you can broaden your thinking as to how you might achieve it. Simply by asking ‘why am I doing this and what is the outcome I want to achieve?’ you can hone down what you actually need to do.
This might apply to something simple like a meeting (do you really need it, is an e-mail enough?), or ‘big picture’ things such as ‘should we develop a new product?’.
If you ask yourself what are you really trying to achieve (Simply more profit? A steadier income stream? A bigger client database to sell other products to?), you can open your mind as to how it might be achieved.
It’s this level of clarity which makes all the difference to what you do and how you do it. It can save you time and money too: Always ask yourself – how can I achieve this outcome in the smartest way? Can some of the task be delegated? Which bits really need my special skills and talents and which bits don’t?
Deal with your ‘time demons’
Make a list of the things that you know cause you to waste time – be honest! Talking too much by the coffee machine? Jumping from one job to another? Browsing Facebook? Can’t find things on your messy desk? Check your smartphone as soon as you hear a ‘ping’?
Once you’ve been honest with yourself, re-frame these things in your mind as the things you do that stop you doing the things you love - spending time with family and friends, being outdoors... whatever works for you. Once identified, you’ll probably know the demons that you should simply just stop doing in order to be more efficient!
You might also find it useful to link these demons to your own desired outcomes and think about how they are stopping you from achieving them. Are you being too helpful? Are you not saying no often enough? Do you spend enough time planning? Are these things stopping you focussing on the things that really matter in your role or in your life?
I’ve got a handy list of demons so drop me an email if you want a copy firstname.lastname@example.org
Focus = Flow = Faster
If you focus on something intensely, you’ll get into a state of flow – i.e. completely focused and motivated by what you are doing - and be at your most productive. You need to create an environment appropriate to create ‘flow’ for at least some of your week.
Only you know how your work area needs to be to work best for you - can you create a place where you are not distracted for at least some of the time? Can you spend some time clearing your desk so you only have the task in hand in front of you?
The flow effect is known to have a positive impact on our mental state and productivity – we’ve all had times, after all, when we might have said ‘I’m in the zone!’, meaning completely absorbed and not wanting to be disturbed. It’s a good place to be.
To find out more about Chaseville or our ‘Greater Personal Effectiveness in Professional Services’ programme, please contact me, Sue Miles, on 07447 908828
Member since: 10th July 2012
Chester word of mouth specialist, promotes and markets the best businesses in Chester. Passionately supporting local businesses, organisations and events.