There’s a reason why an enormous amount of Dilbert cartoons deal with ‘working smarter, not harder’. I’m confessing to a personal pet peeve here shared (I think) by many managers. It implies that I wasn’t working smart (seriously? Like I enjoy working dumb?) and my hard work was time wasted. Okay, maybe I’m being oversensitive here, but let’s talk about better ways to coach yourself and others to truly work smarter, not harder.
- Diagnose the problem – Is there truly an overload of work? And if so why? Consider the factors of time, resources, skill, and support. What’s missing or lower than it should be to accomplish the project?
- Prioritize – Everything cannot be equally important. Try this link to a Harvard Business Review Beta tool: Make time for work that matters
- Inform – Communicate and collaborate to get agreement on the priorities. Ask for assistance where needed. Tell the team what you’re doing so they can plan their work accordingly
- Delegate or contract – Move things that can be done by others to others. Eliminate unnecessary tasks or portions of the project
- Get to work – All the above will only get you so far. After doing all that, get to the tasks at hand and start moving
Though not like this:
More like this: