Effectiveness is the ability to get the right things done with the minimum effort and maximum fun!
When we are performing at our peak and being our most effective we often use words like ‘in the zone’ or ‘in flow’, as things seem effortless and we magically achieve things that we never thought possible.
Most of us know the principles of effectiveness and how we can perform when we are at our best. However, in our hectic business lives it is very easy to mistake ‘busyness’ for ‘effectiveness’ and if we are not careful we can work really, really hard achieving nothing of real value.
This article will give you ten simple ideas for becoming more effective at work. If things are hard for you at work at the moment, why not take half an hour ‘out’ right now and explore how you might overcome some of your current issues and challenges and get your ideas and actions to flow.
1. Be clear about what you want
If we know what we want to do or what we want to make happen we can stay focused on this when other things come along to distract us. If we can describe our endpoint clearly to both ourselves and others we are much more likely to achieve it. So, what is it important for you to achieve today?
Why not jot down exactly what you will have achieved by the end of today and how you will feel about your success.
2. Choose your attitude
How we feel about ourselves and our abilities has a huge bearing on our chances of success. As Henry Ford said ‘If you believe you can or you can’t – you are right!’
You’ll have read a lot about positive thinking in newspapers and magazines and may find it all a little nauseating, but basically if you choose to believe that ‘I will never be able to find time to do the things I really want to do’ or that ‘it always will be this hard’ then these things will be true for you. Why not try a little experiment for a couple of weeks; choose a slightly different attitude during this time and just notice what becomes easier for you.
3. Make things easy for yourself
If you have something that you really want to do, but you cannot seem to get started, how can you make things easy for yourself? What is the smallest thing you can do to get started?
For example if you have a difficult report to write, can you give yourself permission to just write the title? If you need to prepare for a difficult meeting can you allow yourself to just jot down the first ideas that occur to you? It is amazing how things have a tendency to begin to flow when we take the pressure off ourselves. Try it and notice the difference.
4. Learn to trust your instincts
I believe that if something is taking too much effort to do then it is either the wrong thing or the wrong time.
If you are busy getting nowhere with something try checking in with yourself to see if you should refocus your efforts or whether you can choose a better time. We all have an inbuilt ‘sixth sense’ that we ignore at our peril!
If something doesn’t feel right, hold off for a while, trust your intuition and notice what happens.
5. Go where the energy is
You will find that you have more energy for certain things at certain times. Try and tap into this.
If you are an energetic ‘morning’ person use this energy wisely – if you have a slump in energy in the afternoon, why not use the time to do less important tasks until your energy levels pick up again. If you find you are really flowing with something then ‘go with the flow’ for as long as you can.
6. Be brave
When things are challenging it is easy to focus on all the issues we have, on things that might go wrong and on finding reasons for not doing things. Focusing on the problems can block our creative processes and keep us stuck.
Why not ask yourself ‘What might work?’
Sometimes we get stuck because we prefer to stay in our comfort zone, we could try something else but we are scared in case it doesn’t work. Pushing ourselves a little outside our comfort zones will get our adrenaline flowing and take us to new places.
What would you do today if you knew you couldn’t fail?
7. Look at things from a different perspective
We see things not as they really are but as we choose to see them. We have our own fixed way of looking at the world and making sense of it, which works for most of us most of the time. However, our way is not the only way of looking at things. You will know this all too well if you have children or you have friends who do not work in our industry. So when you get stuck on something try and explore another perspective. How would your boss approach this? What would your friend suggest to you? What would your son or daughter say?
8. Ask for help
High performers always surround themselves with a strong support team who they trust to provide them with ideas, mentoring and coaching. How can you strengthen the team around you? Who can you ask to help you today?
9. Learn from your mistakes
We learn so much more from our mistakes and failures than we ever do from our successes. So when something doesn’t go as you’d like it to, take the opportunity to learn by asking yourself ‘what will I do differently next time?’ As a Medical Director once said to me ‘I think the secret to learning is to only make NEW mistakes!’
10. Find opportunities to make things fun
With the right attitude and the right focus even the most tedious tasks can have elements of fun. If you are having fun you, and the people around you are having fun, you will be even more effective and creative. So how important is fun going to be to you today?
Helen has developed picture booklets on the topics of ‘Resilience’ and ‘Effectiveness’ and is working on a new booklet on ‘Letting go – ideas for coping with change’. She regularly runs workshops on these and other topics, for more information contact us.