How to work smarter, not harder
Technology is your best friend
In modern times, technologically advanced software and tools have made life easy. For your tasks at the workplace, use software that you may need for monitoring and evaluation. Instead of managing everything from scratch on an excel sheet, use a project management tool like Taskworld . Similarly, software like Grammarly can help you eradicate plagiarism from your documents.
There is no harm in researching or taking help from google if you get stuck with something. Even if it doesn’t give you the right answer for something, it will guide you towards a direction in which you can improvise and adjust according to the need of the task. You will certainly be saved from hard work but will be directed towards smart work.
Trim the fat.
You’ve just been assigned a major project. Naturally your mind is racing with a million different thoughts on where to start and what you’ll need to get the job done on time. As a result, you start creating a to-do-list that is massively bulky.
The problem with these out-of-control to-do-lists is that they’re overwhelming and prevent you from being productive. That’s because you’re multitasking and directing your energy to unimportant tasks and activities.
Instead, keep your to-to-lists lean and mean by only focusing on your 3 to 5 most urgent, important, and challenging tasks for the day, aka your Most Important Task (MIT). Focus on one task at a time before moving on to less critical tasks. When you do, you’ll feel more productive and less anxious.
Lou Babauta of ZenHabits suggests that at least one of your MITs should be related to your goals and you should work on them in the AM Whether if it’s at home or in the office, tackle your MIT first thing in morning.
Help your team connect the dots across the organization.
Throughout my career, I’ve struggled with asking for help. If I was assigned a project by my boss, I thought it was my responsibility to complete it on my own. I recall one weekend when my boss had an urgent request, requiring me to spend hours upon hours pulling data for a particular retailer, only to discover on Monday morning that my colleague who worked in the supply chain department already had the data and would have happily given it to me.
As a marketer, I can’t afford to work in a silo. I have to closely collaborate with functions like finance, procurement, and product development. If I am assigning work to my team, it’s my responsibility to connect them with colleagues who might already have some of the answers to the problems we are working on. By making these connections, your team won’t be duplicating work and wasting hours working hard on the wrong things.
As Pai suggests, we must coach our teams to ask for help, and in some cases, ask on their behalf and make introductions across the organization. As leaders, we must be organizationally aware of the work happening in other departments and what overlaps with and can be additive to the initiatives we’re leading. We can then collectively be working on the right things on behalf of the organization.
When our teams are working smarter, and not harder, they will see the impact they’re making on the organization. Ensuring our teams feel that their contributions matter is one of the biggest retention tools we have to continue to develop and retain our talent.