Let’s face it, the holiday season is well over and becoming difficult to even remember. It’s time to get cracking. With a little effort, we should be back on track in no time.
If only it were that easy! The truth is the hot mess we return to makes us want to pack up and head right back on holiday. Unfortunately, for the majority of us, this solution isn’t an option.
So, we try. After all, the inbox so full it’s bursting isn’t going to empty itself, is it? What is needed presently is some good, old-fashioned elbow grease and more than a little efficiency.
While some people are terribly efficient without much effort, others of us have much to overcome to optimize our efficiency. In these cases, having efficiency requires recognizing what is getting in the way of it.
Recognition can take time. To that end, I have three major mistakes inefficient people often make that get in the way of efficiency, which include:
Mistake #1: Failing to Eliminate Distractions.
Efficiency requires focus. To be your most efficient you need to home in on the task at hand.
But sometimes things get in the way of your homing. These things aren’t always easy to recognize. Some of them look like “important” things, e.g. email from your team (or boss) or a new animal video on YouTube (love them!). If you look at them for what they are, namely distractions, you will be far more successful in your bid to be efficient in your work.
Never was this concept proven better outside of scientific study than by the entrepreneur in San Francisco that hired people off Craigslist for $8 an hour to slap him when he lost focus on the task at hand. According to the entrepreneur, he often got distracted in his work and wasted his time. He thought that the reminder to get back to it would improve his productivity. Apparently, it did. He claims his productivity improved by 98%!
Now, I don’t advocate having someone hit you in the face to keep you on task. In my case, logging out of email and silencing my phone works well. I also love to work on airplanes where many of my usual distractions aren’t available.
Mistake #2: Allowing negativity to derail your motivation.
If efficiency is the destination, motivation is the train you take to get there. However, motivation can’t run when it gets derailed. What derails motivation? Negativity.
Sometimes negativity comes from you. Zig Ziglar, renowned salesperson and motivational speaker, called it stinkin’ thinkin’. Change your thinking and change your results.
Sometimes negativity comes from others, including employees. Entrepreneur magazine called them toxic employees. They spread their counterproductive ideas through phrases like, “I’m just realistic here,” or ” but if I can play devil’s advocate for a moment.” If you suspect someone is derailing your motivation with negativity, remove him or her from your sphere of influence.
Mistake #3: Neglecting to develop your team.
As a leader, you need to develop your team. Whether that means training them more or eliminating bureaucracy, you have to empower them to do their jobs efficiently. Empowered employees have the tools they need to do the job you want.
Empowerment can be difficult for some managers, however, because they lack the trust needed to get out of employees’ way when they need to work. The lesson here is leaders and their teams need to find a relationship that allows for trust so that everyone can move forward with the task at hand.
Efficiency is an important concept in busy times, such as those in which many of us find ourselves upon return from holiday. For many of us, efficiency can be as elusive causing us to dream of digging our toes back in the sand, and maybe even our heads, ostrich style. But, by eliminating distractions, rooting out negativity, and developing your team, you can be efficient. Moreover, that inbox will empty, almost as fast as the rum drink in your glass was just a few days ago!
This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Colin Shaw – View the original post