Pull Money Out of Thin Air: Print Money at Work by Doing Your Own Job Better

If you’re feeling daunted by the idea of creating proposals to increase profits and of seeking others’ approval, then this article is for you. You can contribute financially to your company simply by regulating yourself. By improving your own job performance – that is, the quantity or quality of your work—you add value to your company.

Stay on Task

[wcm_restrict]To improve the amount of work you produce, you need to spend more time doing job-related tasks and less time doing everything else. In a 2005 survey, the average employee admitted to wasting 2.09 hours per eight-hour workday. In a similar 2007 survey, employees admitted to wasting an average of 1.7 hours per eight hour workday. If you really evaluate where your time goes, you will be shocked to discover how much of your paid working time is wasted. Time management is important, and there are countless methods, systems and tools to help you establish priorities and keep you focused on the highest-value tasks first. Choose a system and use it religiously.

When you begin to manage your time more efficiently, the task of minimizing interruptions by others often becomes more important than arranging time to accomplish your tasks. In the course of the day you are interrupted and sidetracked by coworkers, managers, emails, IMS, text messages, meetings, landline calls, and cell phone calls. You have to minimize these productivity robbers and stay focused on your primary work. Stop enabling and getting sucked into the inefficiencies of others – however pressing or engaging those issues may appear to be. Your first response to someone who may inadvertently drain your time should be “I’m on deadline.” Learn to use that phrase early and often. If possible, stick a note on your closed door alerting the world to your deadline and requesting that your door remain closed unless there is a fire in the building. A note at the entrance to a cubicle will accomplish the same thing.

Unless you have an open-door management policy, consider getting rid of the extra chairs near your desk. They invite interlopers to plop down and crash your efficiency. After being rebuffed a few times, those who have no justifiable reason for disrupting your work will get the idea. Be considerate of others’ feelings, of course, and treat them with respect, but get out of those interactions before wasting too much time.

You may achieve disruption management not only by improving your interpersonal skills, but by enhancing your self-discipline as well. When necessary, consider turning off your cell phone and only checking voicemail once or twice a day. I wouldn’t make that recommendation if I had not written this book. In order to corner and preserve enough quiet time to write, it was necessary to turn off my cell phone. Eliminating that persistent distraction has tremendously increased my productivity and convinced me to turn it off as needed in order to accomplish other time-sensitive tasks in the future. I still communicate with the world but on a schedule of my choosing. While a wonderful productivity tool, e-mail is too frequently just another medium for disruption and should be handled similarly. Check and respond to messages at a regular time once or twice a day. I generally deal with e-mails first thing in the morning and again in the early afternoon.

Another insidious self-imposed distraction is the Internet. Studies show that the average worker spends six to eight hours per week in non-job-related surfing. Be disciplined in our cyber behaviors and you’ll free up a whopping 150 hours per year for your real job.

Some of these methods for improving your own productivity will work for you, and some will not – depending on your position, company and workplace policies. Be creative and do all you can to remain focused on the core activities that make up your job. Managing time and disruptions requires self-discipline and a moderate level of interpersonal skill. If you are serious about increasing your personal output and financial contribution to your company, you have no choice but to take charge of your time and attention.[/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember]

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About the Author

Larry Myler is CEO of By Monday, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in profit enhancement through employee engagement. Previously, Larry was president of VitalSmarts, serving from 1992-2001. Larry is a serial entrepreneur with six startups under his belt. Over the course of his thirty-year career, he has helped others improve their businesses by consulting and training for leadership teams and employees in the areas of interpersonal communication, profit enhancement, organizational efficiency, survey research, and more. Past clients include companies such as AT&T, Shell Oil, Lockheed Martin, and Ford Motor Company.

This column is excerpted from Larry Myler’s best-selling book, Indispensable By Monday: Learn the Profit-Producing Behaviors that will Help Your Company and Yourself, available from Amazon.com and bookstores nationwide. Readers can find Larry Myler’s free online tool, the Profit Proposal Generator, at www.bymonday.com.

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