Ever feel like there isn't enough time in the day? Have you ever found yourself way behind, and just thought that a few more hours of work each day, as well working the weekend, and you could get it done?
I recently encountered a book by Karlin Sloan entitled "Smarter, Faster, Better Strategies For Effective, Enduring And Fulfilling Leadership." While she could use some pointers on a more concise book title, Sloan does offer some thought-provoking points on management and leadership.
A major focal point of the book is that the "surprising solution to many management challenges is to do the opposite of what you think you should be doing. She talks of the tendency of all of us to try and fix our weaknesses and our problems. She argues that trying to turn weaknesses into strengths usually results in mediocrity.
Instead, she advocates focusing on our strengths -- learning what they are and building on them. So if you hate mechanical work, don't do it. Let someone who's good at mechanical work do that, while you focus on what you do best.
If you're miserable doing paperwork or cold-calling prospective customers for your calves, forget about it. Find someone who enjoys and is good at it, and do what you do best.
She also talks about slowing down in order to speed up. Need to get more done -- work harder and faster, right? Not necessarily. Sloan says working at warp speed and burning your candle from both ends actually reduces your overall effectiveness. More can be accomplished by slowing down at times, especially if it's something that requires creativity, imagination or mental sharpness.
I was talking the other day to one of our more successful neighbors. He was having a conversation with me out of his pickup window, another one on his two-way radio, and yet another on his cell phone -- and nobody thought anything about it! Doing multiple tasks at the same time seems like the logical way to get more things done, but productivity studies tell a different story.
Focus is a key. Devote your efforts to one task and then move on to the next one. Not only will you get more done, but the quality of work will be better, as well.
Sometimes the best management tactic might be counterintuitive.