Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More – Jason W. Womack
A well-constructed collection of sound, practical, life-improving advice to anyone seeking increased efficiency and productivity.
A Pared Down To-Do List
Focus on a pared-down to-do list and commit to giving those tasks your complete attention.
Subscribe to Miniwise Newsletter (Free!)
Miniwise newsletter brings you one great bite-sized idea every day, curated from world's best non-fiction books, articles, podcasts..and more. An entire new world in just 5 minutes!
Start the day by setting the alarm for the time you actually get up; don’t build in time to press the snooze button and fall back asleep.
Gather the tools you need to work more efficiently, but use as few tools as possible and learn to handle them expertly so you can be more productive.
Most hardware and software offerings have lesser-known features that can save precious work minutes.
Context: Change Your Environment
This is the environment in which you work. Do you waste time looking for what you need? Do your tools and devices work properly? Are better tools available? Does your workspace inspire you to do your best? If you gave a negative answer to any of these questions, change your context to help you work smarter.
Network: The People Around You
The people surrounding you greatly influence the choices you make, even if you don’t realize it. This includes people you physically interact with, as well as those in your social networks. To change your habits, change the people around you who influence you; add a person or two whose work style you admire.
Thinking Big: Your Beliefs
Your beliefs determine your success. Remember, “If you think you can, you can.”
Thinking bigger involves building “self-efficacy” – the belief that your actions will succeed. Self-efficacy can be hard to maintain when you have more priorities on your to-do list than you have time to complete, so reduce your daily priorities. Boost your efficacy by attending conferences and seminars.
How To Emphasize Your Ability to Succeed: Mantras
“I did it before” – Recall a recent success and think through how you achieved it, step by step, “from start to finish.”
“They were able to do it” – Notice successful people around you and in the media. Draw inspiration from those who have achieved great goals.
“They think I can do it” – To gain confidence, think of the belief other people have in your abilities.
“I know I can do it” – Remind yourself of your successes. Build your confidence based on the knowledge that “you’ve worked, prepared, rehearsed and anticipated success as you move toward your goals.”
Connect With Your People
Tap the power of your social network – the web of people with whom you are connected. Your social network existed long before the advent of Facebook or Twitter.
List the people you admire, those you want to spend more time with and those you’d like to be around less.
This categorization will show you the people who are most important to you.
For a given project, construct a “mind map” of “Team You” – the people you can rely on to give you ideas, feedback and support.
Your Work Habits
Changing the way you work requires gathering data, something that most business professionals understand. To reduce interruptions and to make sure you do your work when you are at your best, monitor your work habits and record any changes.
For example, if you want to increase the number of outgoing calls you make to your contacts, first log your current calls and calculate your call volume. Then, track the changes you want to make.
Making more – money, time, opportunities, memories or anything else – requires creating a continuous cycle of improvement. One powerful way to continue improving is to ask for feedback.
When you redirect your focus, your perspective changes, and when that happens, you have a significant option: You can begin to make things better.
Tracking Your Actions: The Six Kinds Of Feedback
- “Results” – At the end of a set period of time, consider how the matters you want to change are going now.
- “Experience” – This is how you feel your life is transpiring.
- “Contribution” – “Who said thanks?” View others’ appreciation of your contributions as an assessment of your effectiveness.
- “Measurement” – This is objective data, like the amount of money you saved or the number of clients you landed during a particular period.
- “Service” – Consider whom you helped lately and who helped you.
- “Habits” – Building good habits helps you reach your goals.
Focus To Finish
To make more, you have to focus to finish. Two techniques can help you maintain your focus, though they have varying degrees of effectiveness:
Use the “stop and do” tactic when a task should take so little time that it makes sense to just go ahead and do it. This approach can lead to a busy day in which you make progress toward your MITs.
Employ the “stop, think and bunch and then do” method when you feel you need to accumulate all your necessary tasks and group them into categories of activities that you can dispatch all at once.