I recently started playing basketball again after a 9 month hiatus. Now I need to acknowledge that after playing for most of my life that my best days are a distant memory and I’m closer to retiring than what I’d like to admit!!
That being said, 5 games into my comeback I’ve found it more challenging getting back into a basketball rhythm than what I expected.
Now that got me thinking what if our working rhythm wasn’t really working for us at our respective workplaces? And if it wasn’t working what could we do about it?
By working rhythm I mean how do we manage the flow of work. Examples include:
- Frequency in checking for emails each day – is it 3 or 4 times a day or 10 - 20 times an hour?
- Prioritise – is it based on urgency, importance or a combination? With poor prioritisation are we over promising and under delivering?
- Time spent on the most important high impact work – is it closer to 30% or 70%? Are we hitting or missing key targets?
- Proactive or reactive – 80% of the time proactively working on tasks or 80% of the time firefighting reacting to other peoples demands? And how closely does this mix align with our job role?
What’s the impact?
In my basketball scenario the impact of not having a basketball rhythm is poor play and struggling to be a contributor to my team’s goal of winning games.
However, if our working rhythm isn’t working for us in the workplace the impacts can vary from simply frustration of not reaching targeted outcomes (just being busy), having to work longer hours to deliver the workload through to financial loss if incentives are linked to target achievement or in severe cases even job loss.
What can we do about it?
Quite simply we can take charge of our situations.
With my basketball I practiced a little bit more and by my 5th game I had seen some gradual improvement to where I became a positive contributor to the team’s outcome.
In the workplace there are many leading practice principles available through programs, coaching etc that can help us develop a working rhythm that is as effective as possible for our specific job. I’ve frequently seen people achieve productivity improvements of 20% just by fine tuning their working rhythm.
As the working environment continues to change around us then maybe it’s time to consciously change / practice new ways or seek help to fine tune our working rhythm to ensure we are as effective as possible.
What changes in working rhythm have you made that have helped you to become more effective?