Getting the RIGHT Work Done – Part One

Ever feel like your work is never done? Or, perhaps, like you will never catch up?
It’s because it isn’t – and you won’t.
We are fighting a losing battle with our phones, email, managers, mentors, mentees, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and about a dozen other mediums that pile up with our workloads.
But, as Stuart Smalley would say, “and that’s… okay…”
Or at least it will be if you take a few tips from The Harvard Business Review’s Guide to Getting the Right Work Done, my HMA Book Club pick of the month.
It asserts, quite simply – YOU (and I) are a limited resource. Therefore, we must admit we aren’t going to always get “it” all done – and teach ourselves how to identify the right things to accomplish and then actually do them.
Easier said than done though, right?
Maybe not, here is some of the best advice I gleaned from the book on how to actually make the above change in my own life:
9 Things Successful People Do to Get the Right Work Done

  1. Set a measurable goal – and be very specific about what you want to accomplish as well as specific distractions that will be getting in your way
  2. Seize the moment to act on your goal – set a specific time, location you will take action in advance, book it into your schedule
  3. Know exactly how far you have left to go – seek feedback and give it to yourself, as this motivates action
  4. Be a realistic optimist – thinking things will come easily to you and will turn out okay sets you up for disaster as much as negative self-talk
  5. Focus on getting better, not just being good – be open to evolving and changing within yourself. Forget the “I am who I am” talk in some instances.
  6. Have grit – be willing to commit to long-term goals and persist in the face of difficulty
  7. Build your willpower muscle – to do so, take on challenges that require extreme willpower; this can also build your grit muscle
  8. Don’t tempt fate – especially with temptations, ego or over-goal setting. Remember, you are limited!!
  9. Focus on what you will do, not what you won’t do – I won’t eat that delicious cookie with the rest of the office; I won’t eat that delicious cookie with the rest of the office; I won’t eat that delicious cookie with the rest of the office…yes you will. Instead, focus on it/then scenarios: If I eat that cookie, then I will commit to working out at 7am the next two days for 30 minutes.

Another piece to this success puzzle is understanding delegation – both delegating and being delegated to. Because we are limited resources, clear communication is key to keeping everyone’s heads above water and everyone on task. In another great list provided in the book, the authors detail out the person being delegated the responsibility should be doing, thinking and asking formally to his/her manager to ensure success:

  1. What do you understand the priorities of the project to be?
  2. What are your next key steps, and by when will you accomplish them?
  3. What are key contingencies you should plan for now?
  4. When and how will you check in with me on progress? AND ISSUES!
  5. Who else needs to know of our plan, and how will we communicate with them?
  6. What concerns or ideas do you have we haven’t already addressed?

This really just scratches the surface of what I learned from the book. But, as I learned from the authors, I have to manage my time. Therefore, I will be taking my favorite nuggets from the book and setting the goal to write them up once a week for the next four weeks, rather than using my limited resources all in one failed swoop. Check back in for more next Tuesday!

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at Sep 5, 2013

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