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Don’t be afraid of failure, how to get things done at work!

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Cian Allner
Trusted Contributor

Getting things done at work isn’t always simple, there are deadlines, competing priorities, meetings and there never seems to be enough time.  

 

What happens if you get stuck on a piece of work, things come to a halt or perhaps you make a mistake?  First, it’s ok, no one can be productive all the time. It’s about understanding how you best work and staying on track to accomplish what needs to be done.

 

Here are a few tips and thoughts on staying productive:

 

  • Plan your time, try doing the more demanding tasks early on in the day for example.
  • Triage communications, with stuff that needs responding sooner from those things that can wait.
  • Find places where you can focus on intensive tasks, without distraction and commit enough time to complete these in-depth tasks.
  • A change of scenery sometimes, going for a quick walk or doing something different can be helpful especially if you’re stuck and coming back you often find a new perspective.
  • Collaborate, just asking a colleague for their opinion can often provide fresh insights that you may never think about.
  • Be mindful with activities or practices that are inefficient or just don’t go anywhere, for example, excuse yourself from meetings if they are not relevant or if they go off on tangents.
  • Don’t overcommit and try not to agree to unrealistic deadlines, be honest, if a piece of work is going to take an extra week, or it needs more resources than have been assigned, tell the appropriate person.
  • Have fun, the modern workplace is about personality, being accepted for who you are and just getting on with things but always ask for help when needed.

 

Taking it one step further, you’re not always going to get it right, most of us have made some sort of mistakes at work and in fact, those are the lessons you tend to learn the most from.  There is a concept known as fail early or fail fast, where failing is just an iterative step in succeeding and not anything to be afraid of.  

 

Be open, listen to constructive criticism when offered and if there are opportunities like training, mentoring, team building, make use of them.  If you have completed some work that went well, think what techniques you can reuse and apply again.  Equally, if something didn’t go as well as expected, think about what you could do differently next time.  

 

To finish, the modern workplace gives us lots of tools to succeed but sometimes it’s about the basics on how we best work, giving it more consideration and sometimes making small changes which can have a big impact.

3 Replies

@Cian Allner Thanks for the great insight. I am also working on planning and the balance between energy (effort  and gratitute) in the agenda planning.

 

Sometimes if you have to cancel a meeting or a conference / workshop, you feel yourself guilty but if, you don't cancel the meeting you crash.

 

Deadlines are most of the time a problem for me. But exercise in your work and in estimation of work - time can help.

@Dennie Declercq Thanks for the comment, it's nice to hear that it was useful in some way.  

 

Yes, finding a good approach with time management and prioritising is important, having some downtime as well, to balance out more hectic activities can be helpful. 

 

With deadlines, it can be difficult, you don't always know how long it will take to complete a given task.  It's best I think not necessarily to overestimate but allow for extra time when managing workloads. It's often the case, things tend to take longer to complete than you first envisage!

I guess it was kinda helpful as we are all at different levels


@Cian Allner wrote:

Getting things done at work isn’t always simple, there are deadlines, competing priorities, meetings and there never seems to be enough time.  

 

What happens if you get stuck on a piece of work, things come to a halt or perhaps you make a mistake?  First, it’s ok, no one can be productive all the time. It’s about understanding how you best work and staying on track to accomplish what needs to be done.

 

Here are a few tips and thoughts on staying productive:

 

  • Plan your time, try doing the more demanding tasks early on in the day for example.
  • Triage communications, with stuff that needs responding sooner from those things that can wait.
  • Find places where you can focus on intensive tasks, without distraction and commit enough time to complete these in-depth tasks.
  • A change of scenery sometimes, going for a quick walk or doing something different can be helpful especially if you’re stuck and coming back you often find a new perspective.
  • Collaborate, just asking a colleague for their opinion can often provide fresh insights that you may never think about.
  • Be mindful with activities or practices that are inefficient or just don’t go anywhere, for example, excuse yourself from meetings if they are not relevant or if they go off on tangents.
  • Don’t overcommit and try not to agree to unrealistic deadlines, be honest, if a piece of work is going to take an extra week, or it needs more resources than have been assigned, tell the appropriate person.
  • Have fun, the modern workplace is about personality, being accepted for who you are and just getting on with things but always ask for help when needed.

 

Taking it one step further, you’re not always going to get it right, most of us have made some sort of mistakes at work and in fact, those are the lessons you tend to learn the most from.  There is a concept known as fail early or fail fast, where failing is just an iterative step in succeeding and not anything to be afraid of.  

 

Be open, listen to constructive criticism when offered and if there are opportunities like training, mentoring, team building, make use of them.  If you have completed some work that went well, think what techniques you can reuse and apply again.  Equally, if something didn’t go as well as expected, think about what you could do differently next time.  

 

To finish, the modern workplace gives us lots of tools to succeed but sometimes it’s about the basics on how we best work, giving it more consideration and sometimes making small changes which can have a big impact.



@Cian Allner