How To Achieve Your Goals In A Year By Smart Working
In a dynamic and fast-paced world, goal achievement isn’t much about motivation as it is adaptability.
Every new year and new season starts with goals and for others resolutions with a genuine intention to see them through to the end of the period. Often that is never the case for many. Today, I want to submit that how productive you are determines how many of those goals you realize. If you always ditch your resolutions halfway through the year, your approach is the problem.
I neither mean to dispute the famous saying by Dustin Lynch that states “hard work always pays off” nor underestimate the widely known quote by Henry Ford that says, “Chop your wood, and it will warm you twice.”
However, there are more than a few cases where people have put their blood and sweat into working hard but have not accomplished their goals.
Two Approaches To Goal Achievement
Let us begin by looking at a classic example of working smart and working hard. Before civilization, a man would carry heavy materials from one place to another by doing all the hard work. A few years later and technological advancement, a man could use simple equipment like a wheelbarrow or locomotive to transport heavy luggage for long distances with less effort and more efficiency.
It is evident from this classic example that people can get overwhelmed by responsibilities and complete very few tasks despite working very hard. Such situations forced men to rethink their work dynamics and introduce equipment that could help increase efficiency and make work easier.
Many people work hard, yet only a few are successful, and the secret behind the successful few is that they work brilliantly. Although hard work pays off, smart work multiplies productivity.
For This Reason, Working Hard And Working Smart Are Two Contrasting Approaches To Accomplishing Your Goals.
- The main difference is hard work focuses on spending long hours and effort while working smart emphasizes finding more efficient means to complete the task.
- Plain hard work is about working consistently towards a particular objective irrespective of its worth and not caring about the result or not using any innovative methods to minimize the effort required. In contrast, working smart is when you prioritize working on a given task depending on its worth, energy input, and creativity to produce maximum results with minimum labor.
The current business environment is fast-paced, where swift completion of projects will put you ahead of the competition and help your company to be on top of its mission. That means it demands an intelligent work approach that utilizes less effort and maximizes efficiency to produce the best results.
Working smart and efficiently is not always easy. Daily habits, organizational processes, and bureaucratic processes for approvals may hinder the quick delivery of projects. Nonetheless, brilliant business leaders and professionals know that working quickly and efficiently is vital for accomplishing annual business targets.
Here Are Some Smart Tactics To Incorporate Into Your Business To Achieve Your Goals In A Year
1. Plan And Prioritize Your To-Do List
When working smart to realize your goals, you must take the lead role in the business project rather than assuming that things will flow. As a business leader, you must develop a strategy or systematic plan to accomplish your targets. Working with an objective and timeframe is much more efficient as it is easier to measure progress and results.
Smart Working Innovatively Also Calls For A Short To-do List Focused On The Most Crucial Tasks
As I mentioned, working smart is about prioritizing what you take on based on its worth. A good to-do list intentionally avoids all unnecessary things because a shorter list looks less intimidating and will not discourage the implementing person. Smart people break down their to-do lists into manageable tasks that are easy to accomplish.
For example, when planning to source the cheapest item from different distributors. First, break down your activities into simple tasks. Begin by listing all the item specifications, sending out emails to distributors, sending out kind reminders, comparing feedback, and selecting the best quotation.
Simplifying the to-do list into a series of activities makes it easier to follow the progress. When you have one major item on your to-do list, it will be impossible to trace daily progress.
As you plan your list, ensure that all time-sensitive activities are at the top of the to-do list to facilitate completion within deadlines.
Prioritizing Activities In The List Is Crucial For Big Projects As It Offers A Buffer When Something Inevitably Gets Delayed
In addition, it is imperative to schedule specific duties like proofreading a document in the morning because they demand a keen mind. Doing such activities in the evening when one is exhausted will lead to numerous errors.
Lastly, an efficient to-do list bunches small tasks together to help the implementers complete multiple activities quickly. Clearing the minor duties gives you adequate time and mental focus to tackle the large items.
The Financial Provider Case
I recall working in a financial sales company. We were subdivided into teams of ten members and given a target of selling five insurance policies valued at one million. The competition was on, the first team to achieve the target would win a good reward.
On the first day, when other teams were rushing to the field and trying to convince clients to buy the insurance policies, I called for a group meeting to strategize how to work as a team. In the team meeting, we appointed a chairperson to coordinate the group activities and a team secretary to document all the progress made by the members.
The elected chairperson and team secretary subdivided the members into sub-groups and allocated each subgroup a specific task. We had some members whose duty was to identify new prospects; another subgroup scrutinized the identified potentials and came up with the most eligible clients. The team leadership designated the last sub-group to send proposals to the most potential candidates, follow up with the clients, and close deals.
With Good Planning And Prioritizing Duties
My team was able to approach more clients and sold twelve policies within a month. Working smart enabled my team to accomplish the targets within the shortest time. Unlike the other teams, where each member had to do every task in the sale process, our team had members handling specific duties.
It is easy to close a deal and complete the sale process on time by letting a particular sub-group perform a single task. It was easy for the members to send proposals to potential clients, as they would forward one proposal to multiple clients. In other teams, one member would identify new prospects, scrutinize them to find eligible candidates, and send out pitches, making their work difficult.
These are more old leadership tactics to abandon this year.
2. Delegate Duties And Improve Time Management Skills
Typically, most people like things done in a particular manner, and some would prefer doing every task themselves rather than asking for assistance or delegating to others. Doing everything by yourself is an enormous hindrance to productivity. Train your team members to deliver quality work with minimal supervision.
You can design efficient systems and processes that produce standard products and services- start by documenting SOPs for the company, which everyone can access. The benefit of designing efficient systems is that your business does not rely on the individual default work modes, hence getting things done without prior planning.
Smart Work Involves Minding The Work Process As Much As The Duty
For example, when operating a bakery, you can predetermine the mixing of ingredients so that your employees can carry out the process even when you are absent. Developing efficient systems ensures production continues even in the absence of key personnel.
Brilliant business people are keen to prioritize, delegate, and improve their time management. Speaking of time management, improving time management translates to working smart.
Hard work is about spending long hours getting a task done while intelligent work means completing a similar amount of work in less time. Business people with good time management skills finish their projects before the deadline.
Repetitive processes involved in hard work can lead to time wastage and eventually fail to meet timelines. Hard work follows a tedious process rather than brainstorming for the quickest and most efficient way of achieving the goal.
Utilizing efficient procedures and tools to get things done quickly makes innovative work the most suitable option for completing tasks on schedule.
Consider Implementing All The Relevant Tools To Your Work; This Is Not Cheating But Working Creatively
We have a lot of productivity tools in the market today that can cut manual and repetitive processes by half; why reinvent the wheel? The Phalera CRM is a good example that combines and automates most of the daily day-to-day operations of a business.
The Steel Factory Case
During my internship, I was lucky to have a chance to work in a large steel factory that produces a wide range of products and employs over a thousand employees. Fortunately, during my internship period at the factory, I witnessed a management change.
The previous administration believed in hard work and bureaucratic processes. For instance, employees would physically sign in on paper attendance sheets filed by the department manager. The human resource officers would then go around the factory to collect the files and tally the hours. The human resource officers would then use that information to calculate salaries.
This Process Involved Plenty Of Hard Work And Consumed Much Time, Ultimately Was Inefficient And Marred With Numerous Mistakes
- First, the employees would come to work late and leave early because the manual register was easy to manipulate.
- Secondly, the human resource department had a tedious job of counting the hours worked by each employee. The counting would take days leading to delayed salary payments and endless conflict between the management and workers. Mathematical errors were frequent, resulting in over or under-compensation of some employees.
- Lastly, the manual system did not capture absentee workers. Some unethical department managers would make underhand deals with employees to allow them to evade duties.
The New Management Noted The Issue Of Human And Time Mismanagement In The Factory
The approach? They suggested a digital system where employees would clock in at the gate as they enter and clock out as they leave the factory. It was a brilliant idea, but it would take the information technology department more than a year to design and develop such a system.
The new management was smart enough to outsource the software and technical equipment to monitor employee attendance rather than building a new in-house system.
- The digital system was efficient and saved time, which the human resource department would spend reconciling the payroll. The human resource could now download the attendance details from the digital system and use that information to compute salaries correctly.
- Second, the new system enhanced time management at the factory as employees arrived at workstations on time and left when the shift was over.
- Third, the system eliminated ghost workers and increased production.
Lastly, the digital system reduced the tedious work done by human resource officers.
They Applied Intelligent Working Techniques To Bring The Factory To Optimum Production By Minimizing Labor Wastage.
The new management also introduced a new work protocol that defined the duties designated for each employee. Dealing with over a thousand employees can be hectic because only a bunch of employees get things done while the rest joyride.
Instead, they assigned specific duties to each employee and delegated supervisory responsibilities to the department manager. Previously, workers would be assigned new tasks every day. With the new initiative, employees had permanent responsibilities.
Now, employees would report to their workstations knowing what they should accomplish by the end of the day, unlike in previous management, where there was rotation every morning.
Delegating Specific Duties To Each Employee Boosts Productivity Because Doing An Activity For A Long Time Makes It Easy
In addition, the senior management delegated supervisory and other minor managerial duties to department managers. Earlier, all employees reported directly to the senior management who also supervised production. The senior managers were slowly overwhelmed by countless cases and had little time to monitor production.
Delegating some duties to department managers gave them time to focus on other crucial management issues. Employees would send their progress reports to their department managers, who consolidate them and send a detailed summary to the senior managers. The senior management used detailed progress reports from department managers to identify unproductive sectors and seek long-lasting solutions.
The change from a management team that worked hard to a team that worked smart saw the factory increase its production, increase profitability, and reduce losses.
3. Have A Growth Mindset, Flexible Mind, And Adaptive Qualities
Progressive business people avoid conventional methods and comfort zones. They try different approaches to complete a task and test new procedures frequently in search of the most convenient ways to achieve the target. Trying new processes will help you to assess the amount of time spent on each activity.
Working Smart Is Also Focusing On Improving Skills And Learning New Ones
As a business person, focus on acquiring more knowledge in different aspects and fields of your work. The more knowledge in a specific business, the less time you need to find a solution to an issue. It is easier for businesspeople to identify innovative solutions or competitive ideas when they have adequate knowledge in their business field.
As a brilliant entrepreneur, you must be adaptive and flexible because business models change and markets shift. Sometimes things do not go as planned; thus, adapting quickly to a new situation will help to reach your targets even with changing circumstances.
Inflation, recession, and AI adoption are among the shifts every business must work around this year to achieve its goals.
Businesses get stuck on a problem when they continue to use the same procedures that had failed earlier. Adapting new methods to resolve an issue can accelerate growth as the business will experience such downtimes. Innovative business leaders have growth mindsets and are quick to adapt to new ways of doing business.
The Busy Construction Company Case
Working as a procurement officer in a busy construction company, I was always overwhelmed by numerous tenders. I had a standard way of applying for tenders, but unfortunately, I struggled to meet deadlines.
Luckily, I met an experienced procurement officer who changed my mindset. He taught me how to prepare templates I would modify each time I got a similar tender. With the new approach, I did not have to do each tender from scratch like in the beginning. My flexible mind and willingness to learn helped me become an efficient procurement officer who could complete tenders in the shortest time possible.
Furthermore, he taught me how to adapt to change quickly by analyzing new tender formats and updating my templates. With these new techniques, I could complete tenders quickly and have ample time to review and proofread.
In a dynamic and fast-paced world, goal achievement isn’t much about motivation as it is about adaptability. As the marketplace changes, it is time to forget the old school of thought on achieving your goals; adaptability will take you further.
Working smart involves having an in-depth knowledge of the duties at hand and applying your know-how to find the easiest and most efficient way to carry out the work in a more planned and organized manner.
Some believe working smart is a shortcut to hard work and cannot bear the same results. However, these allegations are incorrect as people who work smart reach great heights and lead a more successful personal and business life.