Monday, August 1, 2011

Upgrading Productivity 2.0

In my previous post on Upgrading Productivity, I described how I organize my day.  As an update, I'll describe the principles that guide my approach.  I call it the 4C-Block Method!  (I'm still working on the name).

The 4C Block Method is characterized by the following 4 Blocks:

Create Value:  This is the block where you focus on the work you were hired to do.  Let me be more specific; the lasting work that leaves a lasting impression.  Your accomplishments during this block are the ones that you want to be known for.  This work will positively affect  your customers, your department, and your ability to create value in the future.  Subsequently, this block's work will fuel your supervisor's responses as a reference.  For example your supervisor may say, "Mr/Mrs. Smith was an integral part of the team not only because of their excellent attitude and work ethic, but their work on [insert awesome value created here] was exemplary and still impacts us today."  This block should be the largest part of your day.

Connect with People: This block is very important.  As important as it is to create quality work, it is also important to know the people you work with.  Social capital, or the lack thereof, will impact your reputation; ignore it at your peril.  Who would you rather be: A) the one who locks themselves away in their office for 8 consecutive hours -or- B) the one who can produce and builds positive relationships with their co-workers?  No brainer. Yet, be mindful that your social time may not align with others; don't start knocking at doors while others are trying to create value.  Also, think of relationships outside of your immediate work space and/or area.  Schedule a meeting if you must.  Remember that person you've been meaning to get in contact with for that one thing you wanted to start?  Yeah, its that time.  Never underestimate the power of external relationships.
    Complete Tasks: During this block you can answer email, return calls, and fill out paperwork to your heart's content!  Although not what you were hired to do, these tasks affect your influence.  Don't trim this block unnecessarily short.  You don't want to be known as the person that habitually never returns calls or emails.  If you are one of those people that struggle with electronic communication (I promise I'm trying to get better), one way to circumvent this trait is to let your colleagues know that it's best to meet in person; then schedule the meeting during your Connect Block.
      Complement Yourself: Please do not spend this block of time patting yourself on the back.  The word is COMPLEMENT. [enter dictionary]

       "Add to (something) in a way that enhances or improves it; make perfect."

      Sorry, you'll never be perfect, but you can enhance and improve your competencies in your chosen field.  Staying on the cutting edge; keeping abreast with the newest research or trends will keep your knowledge and skills relevant.  Do whatever it takes to professionally develop during this time; read books, articles, journals, blogs, interview someone, brainstorm about your field, ANYTHING!  It's important to not only do, but to think about how and why you do.  The information you fail to update is the basic information your replacement is learning in school.  Don't. Get. Left. Behind!

        CREATE, CONNECT, COMPLETE, COMPLEMENT.  These blocks don't have to be in this order.  For my work day, it makes sense to start with Create Value before my students seize my time.  You may have a fast paced morning and a slower afternoon.  Choose an order that works for you and STICK WITH IT!  You're not only training yourself to adapt to the schedule, but also your co-workers to adapt with you. 

        Good luck with the method and feel free to share any success or tweaks!  

        C. Valentine