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Ian Ferguson: Keeping Pace With Employer Demands

We spend a substantial part of our adult life at work. With companies demanding more from their employees in less time, trying to meet all your deadlines may seem really stressful.

Keeping pace in a fast-moving economy and world is the desire of employees who want to advance in their careers. Mediocrity is not an option. Excellence is the goal.

Here are a few suggestions for how employees can remain competitive and increase their level of productivity and efficiency.

1. Start each day with a “To-Do” list

The old adage reminds us that if you fail to plan then you have simply planned to fail. If you do not know the tasks you have to accomplish for the day, you cannot prioritise, plan or feel the sense of accomplishment that comes with checking them off. Use outlook, your smart phone, a diary meeting planner, a refrigerator task board or anything that reminds you of the critical things you must do each day.

2. Share the load with the team

Regardless of whether you work in a team of five or 50, you are working towards common goals. Teams that share information openly and regularly are likely to be more productive overall. Team members who engage in knowledge-sharing sessions are less likely to have to “re-invent the wheel”, since the chances are that someone has already solved a similar problem. You are also likely to find out about projects that closely relate to what you are doing, and find ways to collaborate. Team meetings also help set bigger milestones, thereby illuminating the smaller milestones everyone must accomplish to achieve those goals.

3. Change your scenery

The view from your desk can get boring quickly. Try to find a quiet corner in your office to work from for a couple of hours. It will give you a chance to work away from office chatter on your most important tasks, and allow you a productive break from your desk. Working from home on days you do not have a meeting scheduled may also help you to be more productive. The danger here is avoiding the distractions that might come with breaks and working from home. Manage those well and this tip will prove beneficial.

4. Set realistic goals

Do not try to be a “super hero”. It is important to aim high and push yourself, but also to stay realistic and practical. Setting realistic goals and deadlines for yourself and your team helps ensure you can meet them at a smooth pace. Employees feel motivated when they feel confident in their ability to do a job; setting impossible goals is more likely to demotivate them. Find the right balance of easy and challenging assignments for yourself in the long and short-run, and watch your productivity soar at all of them.

5. Learn to say no

When at work, unreasonable demands can come from anywhere. Learn to pick and choose things that require your immediate attention, and those you can schedule for later. Tell your workers you will get back to them with the support they need from you later. Sometimes, you may have to talk to your leader about your workload or delegate certain tasks to others.

• NB: Ian R Ferguson is a talent management and organisational development consultant, having completed graduate studies with regional and international universities. He has served organsations, both locally and globally, providing relevant solutions to their business growth and development issues. He may be contacted at iferguson@bahamas.com.

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