MindYourBusyNess: October 2009

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BITE WHAT YOU CAN CHEW


Do you take (or you are loaded with) work which you can not handle under the given work conditions?

What you can do to handle such problem is ‘Learn to Say “NO” and know when you can afford to say so’

Saying ‘NO’ is not all that simple as it sounds.

It is natural that we succumb to the forces/ pressures like-

• Fear of loosing position, value, relationship or job etc.

• Fear of possibility that the other party will not accept the ‘NO’ in true spirit and will take it personally or personal insult.

• It is an easy way out to say comfortable ‘YES” in place of uncomfortable ‘NO’ and hope that you will learn new skills or build new relationship in the bargain.

• Fear that you may be branded as difficult person socially by saying ‘NO’ many times.

These feelings are very common but can be tackled easily by learning to analyze a given situation logically and cool-mindedly. There are no fixed solutions. You have to analyze each situation individually on merits by taking a holistic view. You have to realize the implication and difference of saying yes or No. Accepting a request or order is a commitment and it will (sometime drastically) restrict your further choices and you may have to reschedule some of your plans.

You should know your limits in a real world situation. It can be very different from your capability under ideal work conditions. If you start accepting everything which you are capable of doing, you may either reach to your breaking point or dilute the quality of work.

Don’t let others take you for granted. State loudly and clearly whether you have accepted the request/order or you decline to do so (give an explanation of your choice if required)

You should realize that whenever some request is made to do some job you have two choices –accept it and reject it .Of course, you owe an explanation of your rejection if the job is being given by your boss or client or some other authority. Normally if you don’t react, it is taken for granted that you have accepted it.

Your life will be simple if you learn to analyze the situation and exercise your choice and declare in a healthy way. When you accept it, you should display confidence and faith. If you reject the request, don’t feel uncomfortable or guilty about it. Otherwise the negative feelings conveyed through your tone, body language or choice of words will steals all the focus and suddenly you will be forced to go on defensive track due to that.

If the problem is not solved in the above mentioned way, you should consider improving your efficiency also. This can be done by-

Leverage action - Find some software or gadget that will be helpful in your work. Research the market, you may find some solution made for you.

Delegation
-If you are in a position to delegate the job (or portion of it) to others, try this.

Intelligent work -See how others are doing the job. Learn the tricks from the experts. You will have to invest some time and attention for this.

ONE CHANGE AT A TIME


Have you ever experienced coming to a position of power suddenly?

It is generally on getting a promotion or new assignment or contract.

You have a team waiting for your instructions and you also have bigger responsibilities to share.

The temptation in such a situation is normally that you want to change everything.

Yes, you have a right to do so. You should change everything to suit your taste, your style and your ‘plan of action’.

Take a pause.

If you make drastic changes or too many changes at one time, the system may not cope up with your way of work in spite of your noble intentions or excellent solutions to problems.

The better approach would be to do one small change at a time, wait the system to stabilize to adopt the change as routine and then move on. If possible bigger changes should be broken into a series of small changes

It makes sense if you consider the viewpoint of other party (who is getting affected by the changes made by you). It is a normal reaction that any change raises the level of discomfort and viewed with suspension. Till the benefits are clearly visible to all, the changes are not accepted globally.

So go all out for changes, but step by step.
Image -courtesy www.freedigitalphotos.net

INSPECTION


Have you ever observed how meticulously a series of tests/checks is performed by-

A pilot before take off of an aircraft.
A cashier before starting his/her duties.
An investigating official on assignment.

Well something very important like life or money may be at stake, so the job is to be done faithfully. Thos process is known as inspection.

Inspection is a powerful technique. Its use is not limited to higher positions or specialized jobs only. It can be applied at any level on any type of work. Specialist or gadgets are not always required.
Anyone can adopt this technique in his/her day to day work irrespective of the nature of work.

Given below are 3 steps to perform the process-

Step 1- Identify the scope – The first step is to identify the area of work where you intend applying the process of inspection. Find a critical area of work from your responsibilities. Keep in mind that it is not a mere fault finding exercise or total recheck of what is already done.
Clearly define-
What is the purpose of inspection? What is at stake /risk if the inspection is not done?
Who will do the inspection? Any qualifications required?
It will be performed under what conditions? Any tools/material required for inspection?
How the results and findings will be recorded?

Step2-Make a checklist – The checklist is the key to inspection and a very vital tool for the process. It should be comprehensive and include all contingencies of working conditions. The checklist should be prepared by expert of the subject having enough practical experience (if it is not you).
The tests are normally designed to select or reject some conditions or gauge overall health of the system at work.
For each test to be performed in the checklist define what parameters will be judged, under what condition and how the outcome will be tested.
The success of this process is not really depended on time spent but on the number tests done and the relevance and criticality of those tests.
Keep refining checklist itself. It is a never ending process of improvement. Whenever you find suitable redefine the checklist.

Step 3- perform the inspection- you have to just work on that checklist which is already made and observe/record the results.

Do you find it too theoretical?
Well, I have applied this technique on following events-

Whenever I receive any currency note.
Whenever I sign a document( including filling the on line forms).

I have my checklists ready (stored in the brain) and it takes only a few seconds on the jobs which I perform several times a day. It is a part of my habit and pays good dividends to me. You can also give it a try.
Image -courtesy www.freedigitalphotos.net

THERE ARE NO FREE LUNCHES

Enjoyed something/facility free of cost?

Think again
.

Pay back may not always be in terms of money. There are other intangible entities.

In fact by accepting the freebie you have already given-

-Your attention
-Your time
-Your energy

And your reputation may be at stake.

Moreover, by making a choice to avail that (free?) facility, you have restricted your further choices.

The complex mathematics of tricky investments and risks by larger forces at play is not so easy to understand.

If something is and not fitting into your need analysis but you are trying to pick it just because it is free, pause and reconsider.
There is no harm in availing a free facility if it is done consciously.
But if this becomes a compulsive habit it will not be economical.

EYE FOR CHANGE


“Change is the only constant in this world”

I have read this quote somewhere.

I don’t know whether this statement itself will ever change or not but the reality is that we witness changes everywhere around us (If we care to see).

But when it comes to participate in the change (to change ourselves or accept the changed reality), most of us are very conservative and slow to do so. Perhaps it is because our training/programming by society that we prefer to maintain status quo or adopt safe approach.

Today’s technology driven work environment does not permit us to be very rigid or do pre decided jobs. (Machines are best suited for)

You need to be very attentive to assess the changed requirements and understand/accept the changed reality on minute to minute basis. In fact on some specialized jobs like radar operator it is second to second basis.

Change does not always means a drastic change .Little actions taken timely can change the outcome of the projects.

You need to look for changes. In our day to day life we tend to overlook small changes. In fact most of the objects we encounter on routine basis (your boss, co worker, regular client, your workplace, routine information etc) we do not really look each time ‘as they are’- instead we refer to a stored image in our mind ‘as we thought they were at some point of time’. (And thus we take them for granted)

Giving a fresh look each time to routine objects will make you more informed and in a better position to handle these.

So why don’t develop an eye for change.