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You may be working long hours, taking work home, struggling to get things done, feeling stressed, never getting round to progressing the important business developments, struggling to grow your business and feeling frustrated and not sure how to change things for the better. All these are signs that you are not being effective at work or in your business.
So what can you do to improve your effectiveness at work? Here are some ideas that may make a difference:
Be clear and stay focused on your vision, strategy, goals, plan and priorities. It is easy to become ineffective if you are not clear about where you are going with your business. You may even have a vision, strategy and plan but if you are not focused on the actions that will take you to your plan this will also be ineffective. To improve your effectiveness have a clear vision, strategy, goals, plan and priorities and ensure that you keep focused 100% on implementing your plan and getting to where you want to be. Use these to determine your to do list each day.
Take control. How many times have you gone into work intending to do certain things but never got round to doing any of them? You are probably allowing everyone else, external events and technology to dictate how you spend your time. To be more effective you have to take control of your time and how you spend it.
Delegate and outsource. What are you doing that others could do instead of you? This may be areas outside your expertise, things that take up a lot of time or areas that someone else can do for you. To improve your effectiveness and to create time to work on the important things for your business consider delegating and outsourcing tasks.
Understand where you are wasting your time. How are you wasting your time? You may be procrastinating, micro managing your team, surfing the internet, dealing with unimportant matters or one of the many other ways of wasting time. Understand how you are wasting your time and take action to stop time wasting in each area.
Don't get distracted or allow interruptions. How often are you distracted or interrupted during each day? It may be a staff member asking a question, an email coming through, a social media notification or overhearing a conversation elsewhere in the office. Don't get distracted or allow interruptions. Think about your working environment, how you manage your team and how your technology and communication systems are set up.
Decide the best time of day for your different activities. Are you ineffective because you are trying to do things at the wrong time of day for you? Maybe your best time for being creative is first thing in the morning but you are using that time to answer emails and trying to be creative in the afternoon and struggling. Think about your best time of day for each activity and maximise your effectiveness by planning in activities at the right times.
Limit your to do list. You may be ineffective because you have too much on your to do list, never get round to doing the important things for your business or you never really plan your day. Limit your to do list to a small number of the key things that will enable you to achieve your business goals and strategy. If you could only do three things what would they be? This also has the added bonus that you will feel good when you actually complete your to do list each day.
Plan tomorrow at the end of today. Are you ineffective because you don't plan your day, don't have a to do list or just come in to work and decide what to do then? At the end of each day before you leave work plan what you are going to do tomorrow. This will not only improve your effectiveness but create an ending to your working day. Rather than taking everything home with you in your head you will have had time to think and plan your next day properly.
Work smarter, not harder. Working harder and harder can actually make you more ineffective as you become tired, stressed and have no time to think. Consider how you can work smarter not harder whether this be through automation, stopping doing some tasks or finding more efficient ways of doing things.
Stop multi tasking. Trying to do too many things at once can reduce your effectiveness. Stop multitasking and see the difference in your effectiveness.
Get organised. Have you spent ages looking for a letter in your office, an email or finding a file on your PC? How much time are you wasting by being disorganised? Get organised to be more effective.
Take breaks and create time and space to reflect. Working non stop throughout the day can contribute to your ineffectiveness, as well as not having time to reflect on your business and work. Build regular breaks into your day and holidays too to improve your effectiveness. Also consider how you can create time to step back and think about and reflect on your business.
Proactively manage the business and your team. You may be ineffective because you have a reactive management style. This takes the control away from you and means that your time is directed by others. Proactively manage your business and your team and you will find you are much more effective. You are then driving the agenda of the business, keeping the business on track to meet its strategy and managing your team to deliver the business goals.
Hopefully the above tips and ideas will help you to improve your own effectiveness at work or in your business.
Author: Liz Makin
Published: November 2016
Makin It Happen has a range of personal development online courses to purchase, created by Liz Makin, including anxiety management, communication, resilience, soft skills, stress management, time management and coaching. Liz Makin also provides personalised business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services to business owners, directors, managers and professionals.
Please email Liz@makinithappen.co.uk to arrange a FREE consultation session to discuss our business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services for business owners, directors, managers and professionals.