Have you tested your work ethic lately? Having a solid work ethic is about far more than how long you sit at your desk. When I work with people to help grow their careers, they often begin by telling me that they have a good work ethic. However when I press more deeply I find that they may not be making the most of the value of every new day.
I've challenged my team this week to take a closer look at how their work ethic plays out in their daily work. My years of experience in business have taught me that the most important key to greater success is simply preparedness. When we let external factors guide our path, distractions and franticness take over and we drift away from our true intentions.
The questions below address how you are setting yourself up for success. I've developed the following work ethic quotient to evaluate how you well you are actually doing the work necessary to move your careers forward:
All these should be scored on a scale of 1-5 with a 5 representing full confidence in how well you execute this.
1. Scheduling Your Day: Does your inbox schedule your day or do you? Do you have clear intentions for your day and what goals you need to accomplish? This can include your personal goals (such as exercise) as well.
2. Efficiency Of How You Spend Your Time: Are you working hard or working smart? Are you making the most of your time or are you biding time, frittering away moments, lost in conversation, browsing social media, and generally not spending your time working toward the things you want to accomplish?
3. Pre-Meeting Preparedness: Do you go into meetings prepared with what you want to accomplish, with all your facts ready and what you clearly want to get out of the meeting? Confidence is a great correlation for preparedness. If you know what you want to happen, if your intentions are clear and you have strategies on how to accomplish them, then you are prepared for a better result.
4. After Meeting Action Steps: Do you leave meetings knowing what is next and what is expected of you? Do you feel prepared to execute on what was said? Are you sure you have a clear understanding of everything that transpired? Do you take notes and then log them in somewhere or do you wing it and hope you remember everything later?
5. Clear Connection To Your Goals: Are you in complete alignment with your daily, weekly and annual goals? Does your daily schedule map toward achieving these goals? When you look back on the goals you set at the start of the year do you feel you have made progress or did you lose the bigger picture in the minutiae of day-to-day living.
There is great freedom in a defined schedule. If you don't schedule the things that are important to you, you are left only paying attention to the things that are glaring and that's not a great way to live your life or accomplish your goals.
After you've scored these, take a look at your results. The place where you scored yourself lowest is the place to get started on fixing. Get organized, get scheduled, and the more proficient you are at managing yourself and your schedule, the more success you will be able to receive.
Please, try this out for yourselves, and, if the spirit moves you, share your results with me.