Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Getting stuff done

It is too late when we come under pressure to spend time looking for ways to be better or faster at our work. The time to do that is when we have had a week or two of holiday, and can take the time to step back, and to think in reverse from the outcomes and consider new ways of getting there. There is always going to be more work than there are hours, so we need to be as smart as we can in getting it done.

Each summer I review my processes, and have a think about what I could do better. Through the year I am doing the same thing (I am an inveterate tinkerer), but I try to put off implementing things until I have time to think about the ramifications of the change. I have a review with my team, and see what is causing roadblocks for them.

  1. The first thing to do is to prioritise: to determine the critical path. Be really clear with the team about this being THE MOST IMPORTANT THING to deliver on. Highlight to everyone the elements that must never be dropped. Develop a strategy so that when someone is in trouble, there is a clear process to ensure the critical path is met. Help everyone to understand that other stuff waits for these tasks to be done. Be clear about the standard of delivery. Be clear about the time. Show people what success looks like. Buddy new people up with experienced people. Write things down. Give people appointment deadlines in their calendars.
  2. The second is to create a process to deal with the lesser priorities. Be really clear that these are second tier and only get started once the critical path stuff is complete. Be clear about the delivery standard. Provide examples. Write things down.
  3. Use the team's expertise. Get people to contribute to a comments bank; to create and share templates, to contribute to a FAQ page, to make suggestions for the handbook. Automate, formularise, copy. Bank standard emails.
  4. Create checklists to assist new people to understand the process, and to help experienced staff train the new people. Flowchart processes.
  5. Meet regularly but keep shortening the meeting until you can't get the job done in the time. Don't set an hour if you can get it done in 45 minutes. Create action points, not minutes. Try having a walking meeting, or meet over Skype with a clear time limit and keep focused on getting the job done. Start by discussing future strategies, don't talk history. Spend 30 minutes on what is coming up, then 15 minutes on what we can learn from the last period.

Doing these things should help us all "get more done in less time" :-D

  • Reference: Saunders, E. G. (7 January 2019). 5 Strategies for Getting More Work Done in Less Time. Retrieved from

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