With the end of the year upon us, it’s time to assess the key pieces of work you need to complete before Christmas. If you’re behind schedule the good news is you still might have time to make an impact. Whereas if you’re fortunate to be on target or even ahead of schedule then it’s timely to plan the key outcomes you need to deliver in early 2017.
Is it just the people I’m talking to or is it more widespread than usual that a greater percentage of workers can’t wait for Christmas because they’ve been so busy this year? Looking further into this I wasn’t surprised to find:
- 53% of Americans feel burned out and overworked (Source: Staples Advantage)
- 61% of employees agree that loud co-workers are the Number 1 distraction at work (Source: Ask.com)
- 86% of employees prefer to work alone (Source: Ask.com)
- Employee output falls sharply after a 50-hour work-week (Source: Standford University)
- Happiness makes an employee 12% more productive (Source: Warrick University)
- At least 167,000,000 man hours are lost every year as a result of poor sleep, equating to almost $5 billion in lost productivity to Australian companies (Source: Sealy Sleep Census)
To me, the choice is either accept more of the same in 2017 or do something about it. Changing roles or organisations might seem like a way out but the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side. That’s why I think improving productivity is a way out to support superior results or the delivery of key initiatives as the most accessible and impactful gains will be from developing a rhythm of work to relieve pressure and deliver outcomes in less time. Too often it is incorrectly assumed these skills already exist.
The question I ask is: Do you have a working rhythm enabling you to excel in today’s busy, fast-paced and complex business environment? If the answer is yes then congratulations you’re ahead of the game. However, I find not many people can truthfully answer in the affirmative because we tend to have too much to do for the available resources. So something has to give.
Therefore, as the workplace changes, we need to continually refine our approach to productivity. Many productivity programs deliver a ‘1 size fits all’ approach that works for some but not for all. However, we are all different, with different needs, different preferences and different pressures. Modern productivity needs a tailored and flexible approach.
That’s why I built Working Rhythm as a different customised way to productivity, that is tailored to your work style environment. It is underpinned by proven principles, modern flexible work methods and is personalised to your strengths and preferences which enable it to be embedded as habits into how you work day to day.
The 3 core components of an effective Working Rhythm are:
- Cadence - Building the foundation that enables work to be processed quickly and right first time. Determining an effective workflow that supports you in a way that leverages your strengths and minimises your weaknesses. The key to establishing a Cadence is tailoring it to how the individual works best because a 1 size fits all approach doesn’t work for everyone.
- Content - Determining what to classify as the work that matters the individual needs to plan for and action to be successful in their role. What percentage of the person’s activity each day and week drives towards achieving short, medium or long term strategic objectives?
A sense of clarity often happens for many in Content when it becomes apparent how much time is wasted on either low important or even meaningless tasks or how little time is devoted to the activities that matter most.
Focus areas of Content includes establishing a rhythm for the weekly and daily cycle of planning, deciding on priorities and proactively scheduling work.
- Collaboration - Working together is paramount to achieving team or cross-functional outcomes. How we work though can limit our ability to collaborate effectively because putting people in a workgroup without basic protocols and hoping they work it out just isn’t an effective way to make progress. Collaboration provides the framework for activities to happen with a minimum of fuss across a team or even across the wider organisation.
That’s not where Working Rhythm ends though. Remember Working Rhythm is about tailoring an approach to productivity to your personal rhythm and work environment. Think of it as starting with ME while building to WE. The scalability unlocks even more productivity opportunities.
A key ingredient to a successful outcome is how content is layered and reinforced by the subtle links between the intersections in the Working Rhythm model - Growth, Innovation and Mastery.
- Growth - Even in challenging environments Growth occurs when an effective workflow is matched with work that matters because more activity is expended on what is effectively the most important parts of the person’s role.
- Innovation - The opportunity for Innovation is apparent when there is clarity and people have a rhythm which focuses on the work that matters while working together in an agile interactive manner.
- Mastery – The level of Mastery is possible when autonomy is encouraged and a culture of working together is in place in a way that is supported by an effective workflow.
Technology and new concepts have dramatically changed the way we work. An overlooked untapped opportunity is to leverage new and better ways of working based on how the individual works best. This is especially true when challenges relate to people. Therefore, the solution needs to be focused on developing the capability of staff to deliver outstanding results confidently and consistently.
If you want to or need to achieve outcomes in less time in 2017 then get with the Working Rhythm approach.