One way of standing out in your career is to create some outstanding results. To create outstanding results you need time and you need to be productive in that time. The better the results you create, the more your good reputation is likely to preceed you. The more your reputation grows, the more likely you are to find and be offered the opportunities you want at work.
I believe asking how long you should be working in order to get ahead is the wrong question. The starting point should be getting outstanding results in the allocated time first. That’s not to say there won’t be times you will need to go over and above. To drive the point home, have you ever worked harder and longer than anyone else or do you know someone who has and still not got the promotion?
Here’s how to just get things done in your standard working week.
Make a list of everything that needs to be done on that particular day and write down what a successful completion for each task will look like. Identify activities you can do on your own and what you need help with and ask for that help in a timely fashion.
2. Time management
Allocate time to each activity so you know when to move on. The time constraint will mean you to get on with getting a good first attempt done, rather than lose time trying to create a perfect completion.
You might underestimate how long certain activities take or be reliant on results from other people, which can end up eating into your time allocation. This will mean you may need to decide which of your activities can be postponed so you can work on the important tasks until the tasks are completed. You may also need to allocate extra time to carry out more urgent and last minute priorities.
4. Reduce distractions
Before you start working reduce your distractions because they will become one of the top reasons why you can’t complete your work in the allocated time. Distractions will come in many forms. As you work identify your top distractions and come up with a plan for dealing with them in the future.
5. Start working
Start your first task and discipline yourself to do everything that needs to be completed before you move on to the next thing. Take your breaks at the right time to keep your energy up so you can refocus on your tasks. As you work your assumptions may change, it’s perfectly acceptable to reshuffle your list based on new information.
6. Review your list
At the end of the day revisit your list and see how well you did against it and whether as a routine you can do everything that is required of you in the time you allocate. If this is the first time you are trying this way of working take notes of what is working and what you can do better the following day. Implement small changes that make the biggest impact first until you are able to work as productively as you can.