We regularly hear that going the extra mile will make you stand out in the crowd. It’s a valuable way of getting noticed by the decision makers in your organization. Customers and bosses appreciate people who are willing to step up and tackle additional assignments. It can be very tempting to say yes to every request you get. Take care before you jump into something that is above and beyond your normal duties. If you bite off more than you can chew you will actually do damage to your reputation and career.
So when is it a good idea to take on something extra? Ask yourself these questions before you jump in:
- Can I handle this in addition to everything else?
- Will it help me get needed experience?
- Who else is going to be involved? (Will there be people I would like to get to know involved?)
- What additional visibility will it give me in my organization?
- Why am I being asked to get involved? (Is this being dumped on me or will it help me?)
If you can answer these questions in a positive way, then by all means get involved. It will do your career a lot of good to get new experiences and be seen by others throughout your organization. Having a chance to meet new people and learn about other parts of the organization is very valuable.
When you look at questions above and if the answers are negative, decline to get involved in a respectful and professional manner. If your current workload is too high to handle an extra assignment make sure you explain that you want to give your best all you do so you have to focus on what you already have to do. There will be times when you have to take on the extra work even though you are overloaded and overwhelmed.
In the event that you are going above and beyond your normal duties and things are slipping address the problems immediately. You may need to do one of the following items:
- Request an extension on a due date that you will be hard pressed to make.
- Get help with some of the tasks you have to complete.
- Work longer hours or work on the weekend to get it all done.
- See if the priority of an item can be lowered to make sure you have time for other tasks.
Getting in over your head is tough and can be very discouraging. How you handle it will make a big difference in how your boss views your abilities. Stepping up to fix the situation will help them see you as a problem solver. When things are starting to slip go to your boss with a calm, professional assessment of the situation and bring some ideas of how you can get it resolved. Have them help you figure out the best approach. They may be able to push something back or get you help. Asking in a professional manner will do more for you than whining about what is asked of you.
Going the extra mile is great for your career. Make sure you don’t get lost on that road and lose sight of what needs to be done. Taking on extra work only helps you if you keep up with your normal duties.
I learned that we can do anything, but we can’t do everything… at least not at the same time. So think of your priorities not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything.
As you start your week and look at all the things that you need to accomplish each day do you feel overwhelmed? It’s easy to get dragged down by all that requires our attention. The key is to get a good handle on what needs to happen and make a plan to get it done. The first step is to identify the important things that must be accomplished this week. Then you have to create space and time to get them done.
To make the most of the time you spend on the important items you must focus clearly on the task at hand. This can be very hard to do in this busy and noisy world. However, there are several steps you can take to help clear the air around you to get things done.
- Know your peak time. When are you most productive? Is it early morning, late morning, or afternoon? Use this time to get the things done that need the most attention and focus.
- Block time on your calendar. Schedule an appointment with yourself to get work done during your peak time. This will allow you time and space to focus your attention on the important tasks.
- Tune out. Close your email, turn off the ringer on your phone, and close any instant messaging programs. This is time to focus so eliminate or minimize distractions.
- Get your energy up. Do something that will raise your energy level. Listen to music that gets you charged up, take a quick walk at a brisk pace, close your eyes and get yourself centered or whatever works for you.
- Just do it. Now that you’ve cleared time and distractions sit down and get to work. Keep your mind on the task at hand and table other thoughts that come wandering in. If needed make a note and get back to work.
- Celebrate completion. Take a minute to relish the feeling of getting it done! Check it off your to-do list and now it’s time to get moving on the next item.
If you start the week with a plan of how and when you will get things done, starting with the important items you will be much more successful in reaching those goals. Know that things may come up that change your plans and force you to reorganize your time. That’s okay. If you have identified the big items to get done you will keep them in your sights and get them done. The smaller, less important tasks will be the ones that move around instead of the important ones. It’s easier to make room for the small tasks than it is the big ones. Start big and work your way down. You will get more done than starting small and working up.
Plan to focus and then work your plan. Have a great and productive week.
If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?
Here are some of the inspiring articles I have read in the past month. I hope you enjoy them as well.
This is the key to time management – to see the value of every moment.
Menachem Mendel Schneerson
This is an older video of Dan Pink talking about what really motivates us to get things done. This is such a valuable insight into how to keep our team motivated and moving forward. His take is quite entertaining and does a great job of pointing out that money is not the big motivator that so many people think it is.
The Puzzle of Motivation
Do you know what motivates you?
How do you motivate your team?
We are seven weeks into 2013 and how are you doing on your plans and goals for the year? Have you gotten stuck in a rut? Have you hit a plateau? Are you stuck in old habits that are keeping you from moving forward towards the future you want? If so, you are not alone. Statistics show that 88% of people fail to meet their new year’s resolutions. It’s not too late to get back on track.
So if you here are five steps you can take today to get unstuck:
- Review your goals & select 2 or 3 (max) that support your future
- Identify challenges / obstacles to achieving it
- Write down the benefits of reaching the goal
- Name the resources (people or tools) that will help
- Break them down into action items & schedule the time needed
If you follow these five steps you can refocus your attention and efforts onto achieving your goals. To help you get moving forward again take the time to review your goals. Ask yourself the following questions about each one:
- Why is this on the list?
- Is this going to help me reach my long-term goals?
- Is this something I want for myself or something others expect of me?
- Am I willing to commit to this at this time?
- Will this improve my life/ health/ career/ family?
- What is the driver behind this goal?
- Is the driver an internal or external one?
Often we create goals for ourselves that are driven by what other people tell us or expect from us. Evaluating your goals, both short term and long-term, in light of you situation and where you want to go with your life will help you cut out goals that are due to the expectations of others. The goals that are driven by your deepest desires and will move you towards the future you envision for yourself are the ones that will hold your attention and you will have the energy to pursue.
Additionally by limiting the number of big goals that you have on your plate will help you manage them. If you are trying to tackle too many important things at once you will become distracted instead of focused. Creating a laser like focus on one item of one goal at a time will move you forward faster than bouncing from task to task. To maintain momentum have a plan that shows all the steps needed to reach the goal. Then when you finish one item you know what comes next. This keeps you moving at all times.
If you have gotten stuck on a plateau take time to revisit your goals, why they mattered and decide to do something today that will get you one step closer to your goal. Hitting a plateau gives you a chance to catch your breath, check the map and get moving again in the right direction.
How do you get yourself off of a plateau?
photo from iStockphoto.com
I wanted to share some of the interesting articles I’ve read over the last month. Enjoy!
What has inspired you to look at things in new ways?
There is a prevailing myth that we, as humans, can manage time. We really can’t. There are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day – every day and it’s the same amount for everyone. So why is it that some people seem to get so much more out of their time? They recognize that they can’t manage time; however, they can use that time effectively to get things done.
Time management is about effective time utilization. It’s that easy and it’s that hard. So how can we get the most out of our time each day? Here are three keys to get you started:
- Know what’s important.
- Understand time needed for what’s important.
- Block out time for the important.
The first thing to do is to get clear on what’s important. These are the things you need and want to do. On the job they are your job responsibilities and goals. This may be a weekly report, month end statements, or the project that is due on Tuesday. In your personal life, these are the things that are important to your life goals. These may be spending time with family and friends, exercising, enjoying your hobbies. Whatever is important, make note of it, take the time to get clear and stay aware of what’s critical to your job and your life. Make a list so you can stay on top of them.
Now that you know what is important take the time to figure out what is required for each item. The weekly report may take an hour each Friday; okay make a note of it. If the month end statements take a day, recognize it. If you want to exercise an hour four times a week it’s important to take that into consideration. Assign time for each of the important items on your list.
Finally, when you know how much time is needed for the important things you can open your calendar and start blocking out time for each item. The weekly report that takes an hour every Friday should have an appointment with you every Friday. If you need an hour four mornings a week to exercise, schedule it – make an appointment with yourself to get in shape. When we look at our calendars the things that are scheduled and have time blocked out are more likely to get done as planned. These items are compelling on our calendar so put the items from your important list on your calendar.
People who effectively use their time to get things done recognize these three steps and follow them. Their exact method probably varies, but they acknowledge and make time for what’s important to them. This gives them control over what they do each day and they are focused on accomplishing the important goals and spending their time on important things.
We each have the same amount of time each day, what we do with it is up to us. Make this a great day!