Working in an agile agency, one of the phrases I hear is “we need to work smart not hard”.
Working hard means putting in tons of hours to achieve your goals. Working smart is achieving your goals in the most efficient and profitable way. I want to highlight a path to help us work smarter so we can achieve our goals in less time, with more efficiency, exceed expectations and allows us to find more time to take on other and hopefully more exciting projects.
Why to do this
It is possible to work hard without recognition or achieving success. Sure, we may be up to date with all our emails, but are we any closer to actually achieving our goals? When we’re working hard it is also likely that other area’s of our lives gets neglected. Long hours could mean that we compromise on time with friends or family, keeps us away from exercising or focusing on healthy eating habits. We may feel we are doing ok now, but down the line it may affect our health and well being, and we may regret not finding a balance sooner. Never mind the risk of increased stress, burn-out, depression and general dissatisfaction with work.
How to do it
Top of the list.
Take care of the most important things first. With agile it is essential to have a prioritized list of tasks so you know what items hold the most business value. If you tackle the more important work first you will be able to provide completed work that holds high value to your team and organization. We have found huge value in spending 15 minutes at the start of each day to write up a task list for the day ahead so you know exactly what work needs to get done.
Close down email, turn off your phone and put up your “Do Not Disturb” sign. Give yourself the opportunity to focus on delivering a single task with minimum disruptions. Set up 1 hour sessions (preferably early in the day) when you are fresh and motivated to get through the task.
Use your team.
People like to be able to say they did something themselves, but actually we need to recognise that we can have better results if we work as a team. Allow people to contribute to a project and the outcomes are destined to be better. If we can mix the best of all our strengths and expertise we will produce a better quality product. Our teams are structured so if you need support you can lean on others or assign other work so you can focus on specific items.
Bring your A game.
Look after yourself by making sure you are getting enough rest and your nutrition is good. This is important to help you perform at your best. Being creative, concentration and ability to deliver on work is all dependent on having a healthy balance between work and play.
Take time out to make sure you are working towards the right goals and doing it the right way. Inspect your process and evaluate it’s success. Find out what is working, what you can do better and strive to improve your methods. Learn from each other and then share your experience with the team so others can benefit from your insights.