For many people it can seem that the best way to get to the top in any organisation is to take on more work. Essentially, doing more is seen as the fastest way up the corporate ladder so they’ll be quick to say “yes” to anything they’re asked to do. However, this can be the quickest way to burn-out and could be counterproductive with you running out of time to do the things you wanted to get done.
Does this happen to you?
Have you heard of the term “busy fools”? It might just be a UK thing, but I’ve heard it a lot during my working life and it tends to be used to describe those who seem to be doing a lot, but getting nowhere.
Prioritising your day and setting tasks is something we’ve talked about a lot, however there’s one thing that we haven’t covered – the constant desire to do more because we think it helps. Many people think it’s rude to say “no” when they’re requested to take on work. A lot of people, in my experience, see it as a weakness and would rather say yes than be thought of as a slacker.
Do you find yourself working hard, for long hours and without breaks but actually getting very little done? Does this happen despite the fact you have a task list and you’re keeping to it? It could be because you’re letting others dictate your workload.
I was prompted to write this because of a call I received while I was working on something quite technical. Right in the middle of altering some code, I received a phone call that really didn’t amount to much. It did not need my attention right then and it could have waited.
The call took up four minutes of my time. However, when I got back to the job at hand, I discovered I’d completely forgotten where I’d got to and so had to recover from a backup and start again.
I’ve noticed that this happens a lot. Can you imagine how much time is wasted in a week or a month by these sort of interruptions?
Then there are people walking into the office and asking you to quickly do something. It’s never quickly and it upsets your flow as well as your task list. Was their job ever on the list? Did you expect to need to do it today?
If we give in to these interruptions we’ve actually letting other people define how our day pans out and before you know it, you’re out of time.
It sounds extremely simple, but I found that by putting my phone on mute (or installing a handy app that silences the phone unless the same number rings twice), I’ve got more done. Similarly, I’ve refused requests from people who don’t have a realistic time-frame or can’t appreciate that I’ll do it, but it’s at the back of the list.
Try it yourself, you may find you’re getting more done quicker and to a better quality than ever before.