Thursday, January 04, 2007

The 09:30 - 17:30 Strategy

This is just one more attempt of mine to improve efficieny at work.

Start with the list of work that you need to finish for the given day before you leave for work. This work needs to be finished between 9:30 and 17:30.
I know that looks like saying there you can see everest just throw your anchor up there and climb it.

Let's break it down into smaller parts so that while climbing the everest we know what all equipments we need and which all intermediate stations we would reach and what kind of hailstorms we will have to face.

When you get to work obviously your boss will have an additional list of tasks for you, and this might be totally exclusive of your list. If you are lucky then there might be some tasks in the intersection of your list and your boss' list.

Now is the time to spend a few minutes and prioritize work keeping both the lists in mind. Breaking this into parts again, prioritize the two lists independently, then compare and merge the two. While merging the two remember - in case there are tasks from the two lists with equal importance then the common list must have task from boss above your's(because at the end u are answerable to your boss).
The list of task might have already gone on to page no. 2. Never mind!! Draw a line under the task that you think is realistically possible to finish by 5:30 PM.

Do not spend more than 15 minutes on this small thing of organising tasks.

Now attack the work. Keep in mind 17:30 is only a few hours away. Initailly it will be possible that you will be slow, in such cases even if it means that you have to skip 11'OClock or 4'Oclock wala coffee break or may be even lunch, let that happen for a few days. It is only a matter of few days after which you will not have to do that.

Bell goes off!! It's 17:30, stop it now!!

I know there will be times when your work will not be finished but, if your really want to finish your work by 17:30 regularly then stop it here, right now!

The assumption for this whole thing is that you dont like non-performance and especially hearing this word from your boss for you. So when you will hear this for the first time from your boss you will not be able to tolerate it, right ?
But that does not mean after hearing this you go back to your seat and sit down to re-start the day from 18:00 to some late night show.

Either go to the canteen or may be just stay back in the office and chat around with people. You might as well leave the office to chill out at your own place or may be some other outing.
But now you know the agenda for day 2(next day).

Let's start again but i assume we would have found the reason why we did not complete the expected work yesterday.
There can be following reasons:

1. We drew the line at wrong place. The expectation we had set of ourselves was too much and it can be termed as over committment. Hence this time it is expected of you that this experience and failure both help you commit what is more practical and feasible.

2. Tasks involved had dependencies which were out of your hands. Like you require
information from somebody else and this somebody else dose not gives you that or may be your boss pops suddenly out of nowhere at 4 in the evening and says there is this new task which is most important. This is genuine and can happen anytime with anybody. This is something that you will have to specifically mention to your boss when he uses the word non-performance. Of-course he will not agree(thats ususal, if he agrees then it is un-usual). But remember often managers dont do so intentionally but because they have their own deadlines.

3. You were slow and still did not compromise on tea,coffee breaks so the schedule slipped. This is what we are trying to improve.

4. Work given was really too much(i know this does not happens more than once in a month, more on this a little later).
There can be other such reasons and one will have to find out them.

The reasons can be identified after 17:30.

I am hopeful this can ensure atleast some improvement in the efficiency of work and time spent at work.

Even if your boss does not likes the site of you walking out at 18:00. Stick back doing things other than work.

Of-course the above story does not mean that work should suffer. There will days when not going back from workplace at all will also not result into anything great. But that happens only once in a blue moon and in such cases stretching beyond normal or even beyond not so normal is OK(only if you do so occassinally). If you do that everyday then iti not work but you who needs to change.

Working late is not any sign of higher productivity but only a sign of Bad management!!


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Krishna said...

Ankur you are so right .
However you must be carefull while
you do this,
so that it does not come out as an attitude problem.

ankurg said...

yes very true krishna.
it can always result into "this is too much, cant he stay a little longer" words from others.