If there’s one resolution that most professionals make in the new year, it’s some variation on “Be more effective at work.” Some may focus on time management, while others zero in on productivity, but improving personal effectiveness is the common denominator.
The arrival of a new year provides a valuable opportunity to reassess your priorities and try new strategies to become more effective at work. Try these three approaches to start the new year in the right direction.
1. Clear your head.
Do you feel as if your brain is full, as you try to remember what you’re supposed to be doing today, tomorrow, and next month? When your mind is preoccupied with keeping track of To-Dos, there’s no space left to generate new ideas.
David Allen, author of books including Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, says that the first step to being effective is to get your To-Do list out of your head. In an interview with SUCCESS Magazine, he says:
Anything you consider unfinished in any way must be captured in a trusted system outside your mind, or what I call a collection bucket, that you know you will come back to regularly and review … The best time-management technique is to ensure you have captured every single thing that has your attention, or should have your attention, by writing it down. The goal is to get projects and situations off your mind but not to lose any potentially useful ideas. Then you can step back and look at your list from an observer standpoint, and not let yourself be driven by what’s the latest and loudest in your head.
There are many tools that you can use to build your own collection system for projects and tasks and begin knocking them out, one by one. Tools like Remember The Milk, Trello, and others that Allen suggests on his website, make this process as easy as possible.
2. Understand where you are now, and where you want to go.
It’s easy to get into a routine at work and go through the motions; it’s more challenging to step back and assess where you want your career to lead. The new year is the perfect time to reflect on where you are now professionally, and where you’d like to go.
This process can be as simple as taking an hour or two to ask yourself a series of questions and writing down the answers. In a previous post, we include some questions to ask yourself, such as: “In which areas of my job do I feel like I’m struggling or stagnant? What step can I take today toward improvement?”
Our Increasing Personal Effectiveness course is designed to help you understand the day-to-day choices you make that influence your accomplishments and interactions with others. You’ll learn how to adopt attitudes and behaviors that get the results you want. No more feeling like a victim of circumstance! This course is a must for managers and leaders.
3. Play to your strengths.
People tend to perform better when they enjoy what they’re doing. Do you know which projects you most enjoy at work, and which you’d rather delegate to others? Which tasks come easily to you, and which are a struggle?
Taking the DISCself online personality test is a fun and efficient way to learn about your behavioral style, motivations, and strengths. Not only will it help you understand your own behavior, but it will also give you insight into the behavior of those around you. Naturally, this makes it easier to communicate and collaborate more easily with your colleagues. Start out the new year by playing to your strengths and building up your weak areas.
What tips can you share for improving personal effectiveness?