Work Smarter Not Harder
In a response to a tweet from Social Work Tutor yesterday I said that I felt we should show social workers how to work smarter not harder and he didn’t seem to agree…..
Let me say first that SWT and I do speak from time to time and while we do disagree on some things we absolutely agree that broadly speaking we are on similar ‘pages’. We just want social work and social workers to be valued for the work they do…. and i loved the podcast!
What SWT didn’t like was that he felt the statement ‘work smarter not harder’ was two things. Firstly he had only ever heard that said where managers wanted to get more out of already overworked staff, and secondly, he felt it was an insult to hard working social workers out there. It’s neither… let me explain.
Organisation skills and productivity
Firstly, in talking about and exploring organisation skills and productivity, and self care and its impact on productivity, my intention is not for social workers to be given more. It is to try and give social workers the skills and ideas to be more efficient at what they are doing, more organised, more disciplined maybe, so that they can get out of the door on time (emergencies aside) confident that all is in order (not necessarily done but in order) and all is as well as it can be. The pay off for this is an increased ability to be able to switch off. You know everything is in order ready for you to pick up the next day – so, hopefully, more often than not, you can put it out of your head. The same is true and more important I feel for a weekend so that you have the time to recharge. So that’s my motivation – I can’t see a problem with that. I can see how managers might hi-jack the idea and see it as a way to give people more… or we could give the majority of managers I know the credit and accept that they’d rather manage happy staff. Managers are not evil. Well not all of then 😉
Is it an insult?
Secondly, is it an insult? I don’t think it is. We teach student social workers communication skills when to a greater or lesser extent they can already communicate. Why? Because professional communication is different. We teach student social workers report writing skills. Why? Because professional writing is different to letter writing, or academic writing. So why not teach them ‘being organised and productive’ skills because… being organised and productive as a professional does require a skill set and a knowledge base different to what people already may know. And I know from talking to students and practitioners that some of them are productivity ninja’s and some students turn up to start their social work degree without a diary because they hadn’t thought they’d need one…. and a whole range in between. Because if you don’t know, you don’t know.
Backed by science
There have been huge advances in brain scanning and imaging that means we can see what’s going on in our heads when we’re stressed, or when we are meditating, or when we are in the flow. We know what works and we know the impact of what doesn’t work – unmanageable stress and sickness. All of the ideas I put forward are backed by science and research.
So I reiterate… we need to show people how to work smarter not harder.
There are some ideas here on Social Work Shorts – click Productivity or Self Care at the top of this page to find them. There are a some ideas there to get you started. I feel I need to pull them all together into a ‘method’ to show how they all fit together so that’s coming soon.
Also if you click the link right at the top you’ll find some podcasts covering similar material
Enjoy! Go get your day!