Have you ever wished there was a blueprint to tell you how to be more effective at your job? Wouldn’t it be great if there was a button you could push that would help your boss understand how your work is benefiting the team – and wouldn’t it be great if you understood it better yourself? (While you’re at it, have it make coffee for you and be sure you don’t forget your mom’s birthday.)
No one is accusing you of being lazy but if you’re like most people today, your company puts a bigger and bigger emphasis on return on investment, which makes you a little nervous. It’s hard to prove ROI when you’re overloaded with projects and feel like just getting through your task list is hard enough.
You’re not alone. A search of Amazon.com for business books about organizational management techniques yields 5,586 results. If you add to that blogs, podcasts and magazine articles, you’re quickly overloaded with advice on how to be “more productive with less” or “learning what to manage, not how to manage.” There’s a lot of great information out there. Almost too much information.
But you don’t really need a PhD in organizational management to be more effective at your job, nor do you have an interest in being an expert. You just need to know how to be an expert at what you do, whether it’s monitoring and evaluating projects undertaken by your organization, or expertly staffing corporate roles.
Understand What Works
We know you’re willing to put in the work. You just need to understand what works. Start with defining goals for each project. Any goal that results in higher profit for your company or improving client and team satisfaction gets top priority. Those are the things you focus on.
Understand How it Works
Start by outlining what you need to do to accomplish these goals and select a reasonable timeframe to accomplish them. If things aren’t going the way you planned (and they almost never do), keep track of where the system broke down. This will help you understand how to do it better next time so you can become more effective at getting things done.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
This is the hardest one because you can get so wrapped up in tracking and managing your projects that you forget what your goal was in the first place. Find a solution for tracking and managing projects and workflow, whether it’s a software solution that manages your processes for you or delegate the monitoring to someone else if you have the capacity. Remember, your goal here is to do something that benefits your business, not manage spreadsheets and check items off your task list.
Managing your workflow the way you need to will help you make sure the answers you are looking for are in there. It may not help you remember your mom’s birthday, but it may give you the time you need to shop for a last minute gift.