Thursday May 23, 2013
Looking for tips about how to increase your ability to focus on tasks and stay productive at work? One of the problems employees who are multitasking and doing more work face is that they may be, in fact, accomplishing less.
"As professionals are expected to do more on the job, many are actually doing less, less effectively due to an inability to focus on key priorities," according to Joelle K. Jay, PhD. (pictured), noted executive coach and author. She says that neuroscientists have found that people use maximum focus for only about three minutes in an hour. This results in fragmented actions, interrupted thinking, hasty decisions and overall poor quality of work.
For employers, is employee multitasking a problem? Yes. Companies lose an average of 2.1 hours a day on employee productivity because of multitasking and related interruptions.
Solutions exist to counter this multitasking, the lack of focus and concentration by employees. Dr. Jay, the author of The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices for Personal Leadership, says that, "If you don't schedule time to work on important projects and objectives, you can end up bouncing from one task to another, becoming so buried in the minutia of day-to-day operations that you lose sight of the grander vision for your career. Your actions become reactive rather than strategically aligned with achieving your goals."
She recommends these actions.
- "Establish a short list of well-chosen priorities. Remember that having 20 priorities is the same as not having any priorities.
- "Schedule time to work on a project and treat this time as an appointment, meaning no interruptions. Even if it is just for an hour, set aside this golden hour of unitasking to work exclusively on one project.
- "Try to schedule activities that benefit from the same mindset within a block of time. For example, plan to conduct research and write during the morning and reserve the afternoon for more high-energy, interactive pursuits such as sales calls and client meetings. In this way, you can get into a groove and be more productive."
Do you have thoughts about focus, prioritizing, and accomplishing tasks and goals at work? Please share your secrets.
Image Copyright Joelle K. Jay
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Thursday May 23, 2013
Need more information about progressive discipline? I've written a lot about disciplinary action including employee reprimands, verbal warnings, and how to take disciplinary action legally and effectively. These are topics that need to be covered in a comprehensive HR site.
But, I am not a fan of disciplinary action. In fact, my goal is to eliminate the need for disciplinary action, nip it in the bud, so to say. Here's why.
- Supervisors have much more interesting and helpful areas to spend their time on.
- Employees would rather do work that garners cheers and thanks.
- Each of us wants to feel and believe that we are contributing to a mission bigger than ourselves at work.
With these goals in mind, I emphasize employee self-discipline as the behavior mode I'd most like to see at work. You can minimize the need for employee disciplinary action. Here's how.
More About Disciplinary Action
Image Copyright Nikolay Mamluke
Wednesday May 22, 2013
Several teams have requested help with their team work process. They are product development teams that are integrating new members that represent other functions in the company. And, the integration can be rough, especially when the teams are not used to the input and the oversight from the new functions. And, they don't particularly welcome it either.
Plus, the new function doesn't understand that ninety percent of their success will come from successfully building a relationship with the long term team members. They just think they should be accepted because they exist, they have good ideas, and they are a positive, forward thinking innovation. It doesn't work that way.
These are the twelve components of successful team building that must be in place for teams to operate successfully. Absent any of these, focus attention on discussing the issues the teams are experiencing. You can do this through the team norming process.
These are the steps in establishing team norms, the process of establishing how people in groups are going to relate to each other. Done effectively, norms will determine where one function leaves off and the others start. They establish boundaries and determine needed group relationship guidelines. If your team is not functioning effectively, start with these twelve areas and establishing team norms.
Here are sample team norms that were developed by a team. Warning: do not adopt these norms as your own. The most important part of the norming process is the discussion that takes a team to their destination, their own team norms and agreements.
Tuesday May 21, 2013
I have a young colleague whose energy amazes me. She's the mom of two and works full time plus is active in professional and civic opportunities. A couple of years ago, she asked me whether I thought she should go on to earn a law degree to supplement the HR masters she was working on at the time.
From earlier conversations, this didn't sound quite right, so I asked her what part of HR she dislikes the most. Employment law, she responded. I asked her what would most likely cause her to get burned out in our field. Employment law and deadbeat employees gaming the laws, she responded.
Hmmm, I said. Have you considered going back to school for your MBA when you finish the HR degree? The MBA would give you broader options in the business. If you stay in HR, the MBA would provide foundation knowledge about the rest of the business including finance. Well, yes, that was her other consideration. I'm glad since the U.S. really doesn't need any more lawyers.
We then moved into a discussion about employee motivation. She is still truly motivated by HR and her interaction with employees, but admits that, after a few years, this work could become old very quickly. How about you? Are you still happy working in your career field, or is it time for a change? Here are the top ten reasons to quit your job, plus five more.
Every person has different reasons for working. The reasons for working are as individual as the person. But, we all work because we obtain something that we need from work. The something obtained from work impacts employee morale, employee motivation, and the quality of life.
My young colleague is still motivated by her job and her field and that is grand. And, she has recently decided that pursuing the MBA is the right course of action.
She also works for a company in which employees really matter. To create positive employee motivation, you need to treat employees as if they matter - because employees matter. These top ten employee motivation ideas will help you fulfill what people want from work.
Image Copyright Manchan / Getty Images
More About Employee Motivation