To be champions at work

If your working hours seem to be getting longer and longer you might just have yourself to blame for it. Sometimes, lack of time management can keep you buried in your work for donkey’s hours. So, here are some pointers to help you increase your team efficiency at work:

No matter how small your job list may be, pen it down on a post it. Once you start completing each job, tick it off. By the end of the day you will be able to gauge how much productive work you have got done. If you have failed by your own standards, review your method of working and think about where you lost precious hours and how you cab undo the damage.

Once you have penned down the work to be done, prioritize them. This way you will not miss a single deadline and will be able to wrap up at a reasonable hour. You can also delegate routine tasks to your juniors and focus only on what needs your immediate supervision.

Taking some time out from work is good and necessary. But don’t let this time stretch into hours. A 15 minute tea / coffee / gossip break every two hours should be enough to re-energize you. Also, avoid gossiping every now and then and cut down on the time you spend on face book and Orkut. Moreover, don’t let others come to your bay and make you waste your time.

Postponing things spells danger and efficient people know how and when to tackle what. A task when given to you, however difficult or boring, if done in time will give you space and time to work on things that you enjoy doing. The more you procrastinate, the more unwanted and burdensome the task will seem.

Finish the job at hand: half done things occupy your time more than anything else. A job once completed leaves you free to tackle other things. Also, coming back to a certain task again and again will cause you to lose your interest in it and will in turn make you inefficient.

Ask any punter and he will tell you how the betting was heavily against Pakistan, it being the underdog of the T–20 series. But, much to everyone’s surprise, the team played like champions and let their game speak louder than words.

There can be analogies drawn between the cricket and the business world too. Here are a few lessons you could draw from Pakistan, the new world champs:

Short term focus: You need to identify your core strengths and then build on them. Initially it is important to focus on defense, once that is done zoom in on your opponent’s weaknesses and aim to hit him hard in that area.

Team spirit: A team or a business cannot win on the basis of just a few top players prowess. Harmony needs to be maintained between team players. Individual egos and goals should be set aside to concentrate on the expectations of the team as a whole. It is only when all the cogs move in unison that the machine can function. So, don’t try and outshine your colleague, whether in the game or in business. Socializing between team members after work hours also helps in fostering a sense of cohesiveness.

There has to be a coach or manager who is the prime mover of the team, who sees the bigger picture. Any success needs tactical understanding. That involves the recognition of strengths and weaknesses, studying the opposition and learning form it, setting up a strategy for improvement and implementing a game plan. Also, you need to build the team’s morale and confidence, success should be defined on how well the game plan is executed rather than what the scoreboard reads.

While it is essential to set goals, it is equally important to develop measures to check and quantify the progress made in various areas. Improvements made need to be shared with the team and targets jointly agreed upon for further progress and to reach ultimate goals.

Remember the underdog has one major added advantage; he is not subject to the pressures and stress of expectations. Moreover, his seemingly stronger opponents may make the mistake of taking him for granted.