Many of us, despite our immense individuality, share common traits – one similarity I have identified is the constant desire to improve our own efficiency. It’s as if we have this supreme confidence in ourselves, yet we often feel dissatisfied with our ability to prioritize and attack each day, so we constantly seek improvements to our daily ritual. There is nothing, I repeat, nothing wrong with this at all. After all, Bob Dylan said so:
To that end, a friend I have a great deal of respect for sent me this article recently:
12 Tasks that Killer Employees Always Finish Before Noon
All really good recommendations – don’t be a slave to email, exercise daily, find a routine, etc etc. You’ve read articles like this before, and chances are they have probably helped you find what you’re looking for in an incremental “wow that did help” type of way.
However as I read the article I was just waiting for the light bulb to go off….and it never did.
The premise of the article is to address the readers’ need to improve productivity and be “the killer employee” that we all expect from ourselves. So the writer takes a task-focused approach to doing so in the hopes that the reader can pick a few that really resonate and engage. OK, love the concept…but aren’t we missing some fundamentals here? Do a page search for these words:
You get more zero’s than Zuckerberg’s last Fidelity statement. Listen, I got a very early start to my career, but at the end of the day I’m 29 years old, and I am not ashamed to admit that I haven’t seen it all out there. In fact I am thankful every day that there are so many experiences I have yet to enjoy and endure in life, my eyes and ears are always open. I am extremely fortunate to have been surrounded by amazing, well traveled, experienced, talented people all my life, and I try to lean on their wisdom to improve my own outlook and approach.
It is their wisdom that leads me to constantly question my own path towards being this so-called “killer employee.” One very popular quote comes to mind, and frankly it has nothing to do with email or meeting invites or the snooze button on your Surge clock radio (shout-out to the 90’s!). By the way, yes I am quoting Ghandi, I know, one foot on the soapbox, deal with it:
Firstly, what aspects of the world around you bring you happiness? For example, what “change” do I want to see in the world? I want to see people helping one another, not because it’s right or wrong, but because they want to. I want to see people being true to themselves. I want to see people communicate more based on emotion, and feeling, and what their heart tells them. I want to see people being genuinely happy for each others’ success and accomplishments. That all brings me happiness in my personal life. Which brings me to an approach I try to embrace every single day in order to bring a natural sense of order, peace, organization, instinct, and success to every interaction:
Start your day off by making someone else’s a great one
Text your partner, your parents, your sibling, your kids, whoever, that you love them. Send a note to a colleague and their manager expressing your gratitude or admiration. Bring in your neighbors’ trash cans from the curb. Tell the lady behind the counter at your coffee shop that you really like her hair. Call a friend to let them know how much they mean to you. If you’re getting great service from someone, let the company know. Do that odd-job around the house that you know your significant other hates to do…send them a text with a picture of the job well done. Give those kids selling lemonade on the corner a $5 donation to celebrate their entrepreneurial spirit. 10 seconds of your time can mean the world to someone else. Think back to your own experiences and the impact that someone else’s “Random Act of Kindness” had on you.
Now, what if your efficiency and level of success has nothing to do with your email, your schedule, your priorities, or other inward-focused aspects of your general day to day approach? Rather, simply by making someone else’s morning, you end up operating through a 100% crystal clear lens that day. You know exactly what to do and when, and how to do it. What if you can have a profound impact on your own productivity….by improving someone else’s?
Try it, and let us know. Everyone has a different approach – what works for you?