Engineers: Do You Dance all Day Long?
Featured Guest Blogger: Anthony Fasano, P.E., CPC, LEED AP
Founder & CEO, Powerful Purpose Associates – New Website!
Civil Engineer and Professional Career & Leadership Development Coach
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The word “dancing” in the title of this post doesn’t refer to the swing or the tango, although that certainly would make for an interesting workday. By dancing, I mean do you find yourself going back and forth from one task to the next all day long?
Does the following sequence of events sound familiar?
– You get into work and log into your computer.
– You open up your e-mail and weed through the 15 e-mails that came in overnight. You respond to some, forward others and delete spam e-mails.
– Then you notice that you have a voicemail, so you check your voicemail, write it down on a sticky note, but don’t call the person back yet.
– While checking your voicemail, two more e-mails came in, so you go back to e-mail for another 20 minutes, recycling through some of your e-mails from yesterday.
– Finally around 9:30 or 10:00 a.m. you start actually working. You open up a report that you have been working on. As soon as you open it up a co-worker comes into your room, spends 10 minutes talking about the baseball game last night, another 10 minutes complaining about a new company policy and then you spend 10 minutes explaining the challenges associated with the current report that you are working on (or trying to work on).
– After your co-worker leaves, in between phone calls you get about an hour of work done before lunch, and then the whole process starts again!
Does this sound familiar? Now do you see what I mean by dancing at work? How many nights do you end up in the office until 6 or 7 p.m. wondering where the time went?
I challenge you to start working smarter! Working smarter will allow you to get more done in less time and even get to spend some more time at home. I have read several books on this topic including, “The One Minute Manager,” “Getting Things Done,” “Work Less and Earn More,” and “The Four Hour Work Week.”
Based on my own experience as well as information from these books, here are some recommendations for working smarter:
– DO NOT check e-mail first thing in the morning, pick a time later in the morning to check your e-mail. If possible try to check e-mail two or three times a day at set times (i.e. 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 5p.m.).
– At the end of the day, clean up your workspace and prepare yourself so that you know what you are going to do first the following morning (since you won’t be checking e-mail anymore).
– When possible set your meetings early or late in the day so you don’t eat up the middle of the day.
– Close your door (and disable your phone line) once in while to eliminate distractions and boost productivity. You can literally close your door for one hour a day and get more done in that hour than you will the whole afternoon with the door open. That wasn’t exactly what they meant when they said “power hour” in college, but it works!
Everyone is busy, and many times we have to answer clients calls on active projects and deal with problems in the moment, but adopting some of these behaviors should help you do less “dancing” and more focusing on one task at a time.
Please share some tips and recommendations of how to work smarter based on your experience.