For instance, perhaps you've always excelled at time management. But how much time do you put into learning new skills, or staying on top of industry trends?
Or, maybe you're adept at managing the many demands you face day-to-day. But, when things get really hectic, your communication skills start to suffer as stress levels begin to rise.
FMD acknowledges that being truly effective at work can pay off now and throughout our careers. Effective workers get exciting projects, win important clients, and are well respected by their colleagues and clients. But how can you become more effective, and make sure that you don't miss out on these great opportunities?
FMD explore the skills you can develop to become more effective at work, and review strategies and resources that you can use to increase your effectiveness.
Step 1: Identify Priorities
One of the most crucial steps in becoming fully effective is to know your purpose at work. After all, if you don't know what your job is there to achieve, how can you set appropriate priorities? (If you don't set priorities, you'll be forever buried under a mountain of work, unable to tell the difference between what's important, and what isn't.)
To identify your job's true purpose, perform a job analysis. This will help you uncover your most important objectives, so that you can start prioritising tasks effectively.
Step 2: Adopt a Great Attitude
Effective workers have a "great attitude." But what does this really mean?
People with a great attitude take the initiative whenever they can. They willingly help a colleague in need, they pick up the slack when someone is off sick, and they make sure that their work is done to the highest standards. "Good enough" is never quite good enough for them!
A great attitude at work will do more than just earn you respect: setting standards for your work and your behaviour means that you're taking responsibility for yourself. This admirable trait is hard to find in many organisations. But demonstrating ethical decision-making and integrity could open many doors for you in the future.
Step 3: Build Essential Skills
Chances are that you have a lot of competing demands on your time. One of the best ways of becoming more effective at work is to learn how to manage your time more efficiently. Other key areas include learning how to manage stress, improving your communication skills, and taking action on career development. All of these can have a major impact.
FMD breaks down each category and looks at them in more detail:
Probably the most crucial thing that you can do to become more effective at work is to learn how to manage your time. Without this skill, your days will feel like a frantic race, with every project, email, and phone call competing for your attention.
Start by looking at your daily schedule. Do you know how you spend your time every day? If not, the answer might surprise you! Use an Activity Log to analyse how much time you're devoting to your various tasks, like attending meetings, checking email and making phone calls. It can be an eye-opening experience to look at this objectively, especially if you discover that you're spending lots of time on tasks that don't help you meet your objectives.
Once you know how you're using your time, you need to learn how to prioritise activities. If you know which jobs are important, and which can be rescheduled or delegated, you'll be able to focus on the work that brings the most value. To keep track of everything, use an organising tool like a To-Do List or, better still, an Action Plan, to make sure you don't forget vital tasks and commitments.
FMD appreciates that being effective at work means you use time to your advantage. Schedule your highest value work for the times of day when you're feeling the most energetic. This increases the likelihood that you'll resist distractions and enter a state of flow when working.
Goal setting is another important element in working productively. You should have a clear sense of what your role is all about. Use this information to set short and long-term goals. The advantage of doing this is that your goals act as a roadmap - after all, you'll never get anywhere if you don't know where you're going!
Good organisation is also important for working effectively and productively. If you're disorganised, you can waste a huge amount of time just looking for lost items. FMD realises this seems petty but having a tidy work will allow you to focus on what is really important, rather than rummaging around in chaos, you should be proud of your workplace, image is very important at FMD, you attract what you are!
Think about just how often we communicate every day. We make phone calls, attend meetings, write email, give presentations, and talk to customers, and so on: it can seem that we spend all day communicating!
Start by developing your active listening skills. This means that you're making a concerted effort to really hear and understand what other people are saying to you.
Don't plan out what you're going to say next while the other person is talking. Instead, just listen to what they're saying. You may be surprised at how much miscommunication can be avoided simply by listening actively.
Always keep to one main topic when writing an email. Putting several important topics in one message will make it difficult for your colleague to prioritise and sort information. If you do need to bring up several different points, then number them sequentially, or split them into separate messages with relevant subject headings.
FMD accepts that a little bit of pressure can be a good thing. But when pressure exceeds your ability to cope, your productivity goes down, and your mood suffers. You can also lose your ability to make solid, rational decisions; and excessive stress can cause health problems, both in the short and long term.
No matter what your field is, it's important that you keep learning and developing your skills.. These include leadership skills, problem solving techniques, emotional intelligence skills, and creative thinking. Anything you can do to enhance these skills will pay off in the workplace.
When we're truly effective at work, we manage our time well, we communicate clearly, and we have a great attitude.