We all multi-task. It is a vital part of the world we live in. What we need to become better at is learning how to determine when the multi-tasking that we are doing has become unproductive.
Productive multi-tasking is when the completion of two competing tasks don’t require your focus. For example, listening to a podcast while working out. You can do both without detriment to either. Generally, you do not need to focus on the treadmill in order to walk on it. That leaves your focus on the content of the podcast.
Unproductive multi-tasking is when the completion of two different tasks at the same time results in one or both of the tasks suffering. Answering email while on a conference call is an example. When you are focused on answering email, you aren’t listening to the conference call. Both things – reading and listening – require focus.
Examine your multitasking habits. Which ones are not serving you well?
Collaboration: To work with others toward a shared goal.
Every one of us is reliant on others in order to get our jobs done. That means that collaboration is a core skill that we must develop in order to be successful.
So, what are the core skills you need in order to be a better collaborator?
Build relationships before you need them
When you need to collaborate with someone, you will be more successful if you already have an established relationship with them. To do this, you need to ensure that you:
Balance the task with the relationship
By definition, you are working with someone else to accomplish a goal or task. So, it is easy to get so focused on the task that you forget about the relationship.
Use these tips to stay in balance:
Collaborate just for the sake of Collaboration
There are a lot of things that you can do by yourself. But, just because you can, doesn’t mean that you have to do it alone. Create an opportunity to work with someone else so that you can build that relationships. An easy way to do this is to ask someone to ‘poke holes’ in your plan.
The premise of this episode is that we are all interviewing for our job every day. The problem is that most of us don’t think about that after we get through the honeymoon period. We start off a new job and we are on our best behavior, but over time, we get comfortable in our role and don’t give much thought to the fact that every day counts.
My philosophy is that every day is an interview. This may sound like a pessimistic viewpoint, but it isn’t. I’m not coming at it from a victim’s point of view. I’m coming at it from the take-your-fate-into-your-own-hands point of view. I’m doing what is within my control to ensure that, if I lose my job, I have set myself up to be as successful as possible finding the next job.
My philosophy is made up of 4 parts:
Interviewing for my current job – adding value and establishing relationships across my company so that, when management is deciding about which people to cut, my name shows up at the bottom of the list.
Interviewing for my next job – Every person that you work with at your current job is likely to either move to a new job at another company or move to a new job within your company at some point. You want to make the kind of impression on them that, when they do make the move, they recommend you. That kind of impression happens day-by-day, week-by-week.
Keep your resume up to date – Again, if you lose your job unexpectedly, you are probably not going to be in the best frame of mind. Putting together a resume in that frame of mind is not ideal. It is also difficult to remember all of the things that you’ve accomplished that should be reflected on your resume when you haven’t updated it in a long time. Keep your resume up to date so that it is ready for you as soon as you need it.
For resources about how to do this effectively, check out these 2 episodes:
Episode 9 – Preparing for Your Annual Review
Episode 2 – Time Bound Activities
Network every day – Most jobs are found through acquaintances. By staying active with your network, you will be top of mind when someone knows about a job that needs to be filled, and they think you might be a good fit. If you get laid off unexpectedly, you don’t want to spend time warming up your network. Stay active on linked in. Make a practice of reaching out to people within your network regularly. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just say hi. You just want to remind the person that you are part of their network.
Learning to recognize unproductive worry will help you eliminate stress that you are manufacturing for reasons you can’t control.
When you find yourself worried about something, ask yourself:
1. Are you worrying about something that doesn’t have an answer?
2. Are you making up a chain of events?
3. Are you looking for the perfect outcome?
4. Do you feel like you overlooked something?
5. Are you trying to control everything?
In this episode, we talk about how to identify unproductive worry and turn it into productive worry by taking a few simple steps.
Have you ever had a bad day, where it seemed like each little thing that happened pushed you further and further toward the edge of the cliff and then eventually – BAM – you were over the edge?
Its happened to all of us. But, what I’ve noticed is that some people reach that edge much more quickly than others. Some people are able to recover much more quickly than others.
Why is that?
I believe that it partially has to do with the amount of reserve the person has.
Here is a simple example:
You have $32 to your name. When the car all of a sudden stops starting and you find out it will cost $500 to fix it, that is a lot of stress. You had no reserve – in this case, of money – to be able to handle the stress.
If, instead, you had $,1000 in the bank and you had the same issue – it may still be stressful, but it doesn’t send you over the edge. You had a bigger reserve, which means that your better able to deal with the stress of the event as well as recover from it.
The idea of reserve doesn’t just apply to money. You also need a reserve of:
Listen to our episode on creating a North Start List
Each of us has a set of processes that we follow every day in order to accomplish our job. The longer you are in your job, the more proficient you get at each process. But, you can be the most proficient person at the process, and it could still be a problem.
Each process is a part of a bigger system. No matter how efficient each process is, if it doesn't work well within the system that it is a part of, there could still be problems.
You are more valuable to your company if you can look at the system as a whole rather than just your process within the system.
Systems are typically:
· Cross functional (cross departmental)
· Made up of many processes
· Spanning many different disciplines
The best way for you to improve your understanding of a system is to look at a process that you are a part of and then look backward to determine the processes that impact you and look forward to determine the processes that you impact.
I teach people how to thrive at work. Let's connect on LinkedIn
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