Dear manager, here’s how you can work less and get more accomplished
Working less and still accomplishing more. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? At least that’s how the perfect scenario would look like. Truth is, you can do it. But, you need to learn a few techniques in order to achieve that. Not just learn, but also bring them into practice.
Below are a few practical ways in which you, as a manager, can do less and still end-up accomplishing more by the end of the day.
Take a look -
- Don’t swing the axe hard; sharpen the blade first
What would be your plan of action if you had one hour to cut a tree? Pick a rusty axe and start hammering it as hard as you can until the tree falls down? Or, would you rather keep sharpening your blade for the first forty or fifty minutes, and then use that sharpened blade to cut the tree without much effort in whatever time is left? Well, the smart approach would be the second one.
Use the same practical approach while managing projects. Don’t use rusty tools. Identify the sharpened blades. By that I mean recognize which person is best suited to do a job.
Compare the act of blade-sharpening to planning. If you want to generate maximum output with least amount of time, efforts, and resources — don’t be afraid to devote time in planning. Don’t think of planning as wastage of time. The more efforts you spend planning things out, the less efforts you will spend in executing the plan.
If you asked ten people what a perfect website, or a perfect message, or a perfect brochure should look like — you will see that different people have different ideas of what perfection means. The term is quite subjective.
It’s good to be detail-oriented. But, if you are so concerned about trying to make the littlest detail perfect that it begins to waste your time and energy, you might want to slow down and rethink what you’re trying to accomplish. To make it simpler, do not waste efforts in improving those things that are not going to have a direct impact on the project outcome.
You could spend weeks and months building a website and still not be sure whether it fits in the definition of perfect. Do what’s required to meet the quality standard, but avoid getting entangled in little things that won’t even matter later on.
- Use a project management software
This point is also somewhat inspired by the smart work philosophy. Would you like to spend hours every day sorting through data and organizing it into easy-to-navigate stacks of information? Or, would you rather prefer a system that organizes information by default? Of course, the second one! This is what a project management software does. The true applications of these tools go far beyond what is describable in a few lines.
“Are you looking for a project management tool to get more done at work? Try ProofHub !”
Every project revolves around a collection of data/information that builds up more and more as the project progresses. A project management software is like a storage house. You know you have to visit the warehouse whenever you need to access the inventory. A management software contains all the information you need such as reports, progress chart, details of work distribution, timesheets, etc. It is that warehouse of information which you can access right from your computer.
- Divide a project into smaller tasks
Here’s something that my gym instructor taught me when I was in school. He told me that if you have difficulty doing 100 push-ups in one go, don’t count them from 1 to 100. Instead, count from 1 to 10, ten times. At first, I thought, what difference does it make? I would still be doing 100 pushups anyways. But, surprisingly it did work.
What made it easier was the psychology behind it. Finishing every slot of numbers creates that reward-like feeling you experience when you accomplish something. Every time I did ten push-ups, I felt like I was getting closer to the end. And, that’s what made it seem easier even when the amount of work being done was still the same.
Similarly, if you want to make things appear more doable in a project, make sure to divide it into smaller chunks of tasks. Not only will it make things appear easier and achievable, it will give the project a framework. It will add a structure to your plans and act like a blueprint.
- Manage your energy
Divide your time slot in two categories — absolute focus and absolute rest. The stage where you’re neither doing anything nor resting is the most unproductive stage. A practical way to manage your energy is to stop doing everything for a complete one minute after every hour and then resume what you were doing. Put your mind to complete rest during that one minute. You can think of it as mindfulness.
If you follow this practice religiously, you will be able to work with a burst of focus throughout the day. You will be less prone to burnout and exhaustion.
Every time you’re in a situation where no matter how hard you try to focus, it’s just not working — start practicing mindfulness. You can accomplish more with a rested and focused mind in one hour than you can with a tired, exhausted, and frustrated mind in two or three hours.
So, are you ready to give these tips a try?
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Originally published at www.linkedin.com.