In part 3 & 4 of our 4-part series on achieving high performance in the workplace, we focus on individual performance and managing your own productivity. The habits and strategies discussed here can be readily adopted in any workplace - and you won't have to rely on anyone else to achieve it! You may have adopted some of these traits already. If you are able to effectively employ even only one or two more, in a short time you will be stunning your colleagues with your sharply-elevated performance.
Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its shortness. Jean de la Bruyere
By properly managing your busy workload, you are able to ...
Being efficient is about doing things right. Being effective is about doing the right things. An example: meeting 20 potential clients/day is efficient; meeting with 5 clients/day that are ready to make a decision is effective. It is much better to be effective than efficient, but being effective and efficient is the key to high performance.
If I had 6 hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend the first 4 hours sharpening the axe. Abraham Lincoln
Strive to know how your performance affects the company as a whole. Ask yourself: is what you are working on the best way you can add the most value to the company? Consider how the success of what you work on will be measured and evaluated. Ask yourself: are you spending your time working directly on something that will end up being measured/evaluated?
Keep track of all the tasks you need to do - you can't know what the next most important task is unless you can see them all in front of you.
Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things. Peter Drucker
Important activities have an outcome that leads to us achieving our goals. Urgent activities demand immediate attention, and are usually associated with achieving someone else's goals. They are often the ones we concentrate on and they demand attention because the consequences of not dealing with them are immediate.
What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important. Dwight Eisenhower
It is seldom useful to try to start solving a problem before the problem is clearly understood and defined. Often, succinctly expressing the crux of a problem makes the solution self-evident. At the very least, a clearly defined problem makes the search for a solution much more efficient. Always allow yourself plenty of time to determine exactly what the problem is and what the requirements of the solution are, before proceeding on to actually solve the problem.