Priorities & Productivityfrom "How to Have a Good Day"
Sevenshift is a unique company in America that helps clients improve their working life with the use of behavioural science. No matter what the issue, whether it be an absence of motivation, difficult colleagues, trouble with decision-making or lack of confidence, Sevenshift is determined to make Monday everyone’s favourite day of the week.
The CEO of Sevenshift, Caroline Webb, has recently released a book called How to Have a Good Day in office jobs. With handy hints and tips as well as real life examples, this practical guide is essential for anyone looking to better their workday - even if it’s just to make it bearable while looking for another position elsewhere.
The book is divided into seven sections:
In this blog we will overview Caroline’s advice on priorities and productivity and how, by improving your approach to these aspects of your job, you will not only feel happier but will also be able to achieve much more with your day.
Our priorities and the way in which we view them can have a huge impact on our working life, making us feel as though we’ve had a bad day before it’s even begun.
Caroline suggests organising your workload so that you relish the challenges you face rather than dread them. The first thing to do is clear your mind and pinpoint what is most important to you. Once this is established set yourself clear and achievable goals to be completed in small, manageable chunks. When larger tasks are easier to comprehend, we feel more motivated to conquer them.
It may not sound like a very positive thing to do, but before you begin the tasks you have prioritised you should spend a little time imagining the sorts of things that could go wrong. This will give your brain time to rehearse each scenario, simultaneously relieving worry while allowing you to act quickly if a negative situation does arise. Then remember a time you successfully tackled a difficult problem to remind yourself that you are capable of overcoming challenges.
So you’ve prioritised all of your tasks, but how do you meet the deadlines? You may think that the best way to do this is to multi-task and work for as long as possible, but the opposite is actually true. Caroline stresses the importance of single-tasking and having deliberate downtime in-between short bursts of activity as, not only will you work more accurately and efficiently, but it has been proven that problems are solved quicker if there is time away from the issue to reflect.
But what if you’ve got lots to do and need to get it all done before the end of the day and it’s already midday and there’s no one around to help and you don’t know what to do?!
First of all breathe slowly and practice mindfulness (focusing on a single object while acknowledging and accepting your feelings). Once you’re calmer, prioritise the task at hand using the tips above and get straight to work - panicking only wastes valuable time. In future, reply to any work requests you know you can’t fulfil with a ‘positive no’: express warmth by acknowledging the importance of the request, clarify your situation (without apologising for being busy) and end the conversation with warmth by offering a suggestion or by recommending another colleague who can help.
In our next blog post we will be looking at Caroline’s advice on relationships, thinking and influence.Now, focus on the first 2 elements of the book and let's wait for the next video.