Work smarter, not harder!!!
When I was young my stepfather always told me (as I was being punished) I could either be strong with my body or strong with my mind. As a teenager I never gave this much thought but when I entered the work force I began to understand exactly what he was talking about…
How many of us are given a task or a project and jump right into it only to find out, usually towards the end, that there was a much faster, easier way to do it? This is due to the fact that most of us just start working without really developing a course of action. We should take that time, today we have tools available to us that were not even imaginable even a few years ago yet we never take advantage of them or do so many painstaking hours later.
When I was in college I worked landscaping with a friend of mine. He and I are very like-minded and tend to think before we act. One day in particular we were working with a third member of the team. We pulled up to a new lawn and the other guy just hopped on the mower and started going. Rich (my friend) and I took about ten minutes to walk the property and develop a plan. During this time the other guy is just mowing without a real direction other than start on one side and finish on the other.
Sure enough, the plan we developed allowed us to save time and energy. Even though the other guy started before us and we had more work to do, we finished faster because we had a plan.
I am guilty of this as well. One of my employers had decided to switch to a completely digital routing system for our buses. We had a few trainers come in and even the head of development came in to help train us.
Assuming that they knew everything about the software, I did exactly what they told me to do when it came to putting in bus stops. They had a map but there wasn’t an aerial view so for some of the locations it was best guess. Well sure enough those best guesses did not work and we had to start all over again. This happened numerous times and caused a lot of frustration and sleepless nights on my part.
Well a few months later, after all the trainers left, I was snooping around one day and found out I could enter the bus stops by coordinates! Had I just taken my own advice and searched around the software, I would have found this little gem and saved myself the agony I had incurred in the beginning.
In business what matters most are results. Bosses and customers do not care if it took you 8 minutes or 80 hours, they want what they want, bottom line.
So take a few minutes on a new project, think the whole thing through, and snoop a little. Time is never wasted if it is saved in the long run…