I’m writing this on a Sunday afternoon thinking about how many of you will already be thinking of what awaits you tomorrow when you arrive at the office. There are some things that will help that I want to tell you about that take some time to get up and running but what about 4 things you can do first thing in the morning when you get to work that will make a difference straight away!
Stop pontificating and start doing
Ok let’s start with one thing. You go to work to do your job not socialise. From the moment you arrive and ‘clock in’ you are being paid to do something. Not to talk about your weekend and not even to start talking about how bad your week looks, and how terrible this job is, and how hard it is, and how much you have to do…… Just hit your desk and start doing – that’s what you are being paid for…. stop pontificating. How much time is lost in moaning? How much time is lost in socialising? How much time is lost in listening to people moaning when you just want to get on. Sorry if this message isn’t a one you like but you are not at work to have fun, it is tough… and social work is not on its own in this area. All work places are the same. All work places want less people to do more. My argument is that if you work smart you can be more productive. You won’t ever catch up and, yes, I hazard a guess, you are being asked to do too much…. but so is pretty much everyone else. So stop pontificating and start doing….
If you get some stuff out of the way early on in your day you will feel so much better and be able to buy yourself some psychological capacity and positive energy to take you into your face to face work. Here’s how…
Apply the 2 minute rule
Hit your desk and look at what’s to do. Make a list if you want to. But, as you are making a list if it looks like it’s going to take less than two minutes to do it just do it – don’t even think about it…. just do it. Open your emails up (I’ve got more to tell you about managing emails another time – but for now…) work through them and apply the two minute rule… just do it if it’s going to take less than two minutes. If it’s going to take longer than that put it on your list or in your dairy. You’ll get rid of loads of emails using this 2 minute rule method I’m sure. Next….
Eat that frog
What’s the worst thing you can think of to do? Well, it might be to eat a live frog. And as this old adage goes – if the worst thing you had to do at the start of the day was eat a live frog, once you’d done it, there’d not be much else in your day that would be worse. So eat that frog! Do the worst first. What things in your email or in your diary are going to suck on your psychological capital all day if they remain undone. Right! Those things! Do them first! Then get to planning what you need to do and….
Eat the elephant one bite at a time
How do eat an elephant? One bite at a time – that’s how! If you’ve got a big task to do then break it down into small manageable tasks. Dairy the tasks – yes – all of them. Don’t just diary when the meeting is, or the report is due, dairy all of the steps that will get you to that point with some time to spare for slippage. Then you’ll be organised and can immerse yourself in the moments where you need to be completely focussed, spending time with a service user, writing a complex report, that kind of thing. Once you have all your ducks in a row so you know you’ve not missed something, once you’ve eaten all of the frogs, once you’ve dealt with all of those little tasks using the two minute rule then…. you can get on with the job.
David Allen, author of “Getting Things Done” says you can’t plan and do at the same time. You must start the day by planning, lining up those ducks, and then you can be productive in your doing.
Come on! You know you can! Positive thinking!
P.s. More on the two minute rule here