A key part of good business is measuring and ensuring effectiveness. At its core, being effective simply means you’re successful at producing a desired result. From Entry Level to C-Suite, every employee has goals they’re supposed to hit. No matter what role we have within an organization, we are expected to be effective in performing our duties. Effective employees help businesses weather storms, grow revenues and increase overall efficiency.
All effective employees have one thing in common – they are masters of time management. Being effective means more than just being busy. It means being busy with the right things, at the right time, and using the right amount of time.
Nothing kills effectiveness faster than time wasters, activities that consume vast amounts of time and energy, but do nothing to help you achieve the results that matter. Here are 3 steps that prevent time wasters from creeping into your daily routine.
Step 1. Eliminate the things that don’t need to be done, ever.
These things are the pure time-wasters that do nothing to help you reach your goals. Comb through your daily activities and ask yourself, “What would happen if this were not done at all?” If the answer is “nothing would happen,” eliminate it immediately.
It’s amazing how many things busy people are doing that will never be missed. How many conference calls, trade shows, web-exes and meetings do you really need to attend? Is there a way to make the same connections without wasting precious time? When you’re on the phone or writing an email – does the communication have purpose? Are you moving the process forward, or are you just moving?
Step 2. Delegate tasks that can be delegated.
Delegation is not a tool reserved to be used only by managers. Employees at every level should delegate when and where they can. Delegation is a skill, and like any other skill, mastering delegation requires practice. For the novice delegator, handing off a responsibility may leave you feeling like you’re not carrying you’re weight. No one want’s to be viewed as lazy. However, there are undoubtedly things that you’re doing that others in your organization can do, and should do. The key question to ask is, “Is this something that my company needs ME to do?”
Strong delegators know their role within the company and have the confidence to delegate what should be delegated. Each person has natural aptitudes as well as specific training and education. Part of delegation is understanding your own weaknesses and seeing the strengths of others. When you stop doing jobs best suited for someone else, it allows you to focus on your own goals which will maximize your effectiveness.
Step 3. Stop wasting your coworkers’ time.
Unfortunately, everyone is guilty of wasting their co-workers’ time. However, that guilt does not mean eternal damnation. In fact, this time waster may be the easiest to remedy. A simple audit of the interactions you have at work will suffice. Ask your coworkers “What do I do that wastes your time?” Don’t be afraid of the truth. Embracing these answers will save you and your coworkers from time waste.
Don’t call meetings that aren’t necessary. Don’t ask questions that you can get the answers to yourself. Don’t send vague emails. Don’t call unless a real discussion is needed. When your employees are working on your stuff, they’re not working on their stuff, and that means they’re not being effective. Pruning the time waste that you cause will help everyone you work with become more effective.
For more tips on how to increase your effectiveness, pick up Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People