We all have our strenghts and weaknesses. We also have our passions. The things we love to do. The things we tend to be great at becase we can devote time, attention and focus to them with little effort and because we really care for the end result and appreciate the finer details. Wouldn’t life be great if you could spend most of your time working on these things? Imagine what amazing creations you could produce.I first came across this theory in a book called ‘The Success Principles’ (which I highly recommend you read if you get the time). There are a lot of people out there who spend a lot of time doing things they are not particularly suited to. This can be remarkable inefficient. It can also lead to a final product that is not the best it can be.
There are many reasons why people may do this. It may be that they are not in a position to delegate tasks. It may be that you have just never really thought about it. It may be ego driven, you wish to prove that you can do it all yourself. It may be one of many other reasons. Whatever your situation thought I feel that you really should take the time to step back and look a the process and ask yourself some questions.
- Am I spending my time in the most productive manner?
- Am I spending time doing tasks that someone else could do quicker/ better?
- Am I spending my time on the tasks that I’m best at and that bring in the most value?
- Am I employing support services that make sure my time is spent most effectively?
- Am I enjoying the process?
This can be applied on many levels. For instance, many people have to deal with masses of information flowing around them to and from many different parties in their day to day work. The actual management of this data is a necessary evil in order to use it to produce quality output. Many people feel that this is just part of what is required when the reality is there are steps you can take to reduce it. You should be spending most of your time using the information to produce meaningful things and wasting as little time as possible managing the information.
Ideally you want a system that encourages information flow but also manages it to put it at your fingertips with minimal fuss when you require it. This is what an intranet is designed to do, and when set up and managed properly will do very well.
eg. Email is a great tool for communication, hence it’s popularity. However it is used in many situations where other tools may be more appropriate. Collaboration is a prefect example. It’s not uncommon for a group of people to send email back and forth discussing ideas, sharing documents etc. It starts off nice and simple but over time becomes messy. People struggle to keep track of comments that were made, what the comment relates to and all the previous somments that put it in context, latest versions of documents and so on.
A more elegant solution would be a combination of the following tools (though how they are set up and linked would depend on the specific scenario and users habbits etc).
- Wiki’s are great for predominantly text based documents being produced in a collaborative manner
- File repositories for other documents
- Forums provide for easier discussion rather than email (though email can be incorporated to inform users of new posts)
- Issue trackers to keep track of issues, who they have been delegated to, work that has been done on them and their status
- Databases to keep stores of relevant data.
- Calendars to keep track of key dates.
All of a sudden your are spending more time doing the things you are great at and enjoy and less doing the ancilliary tasks. You are now producing higher quality work and/ or more of it. And putting less effort into doing so.