The start of a new year is an appropriate time to evaluate performance, to identify personal practices hindering professionalism, and to replace old habits with new and better ways to work. As Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote, “Now is the day, and now is the hour.” Here are three more good habits to acquire in 2011. (to see the first three, click here)
Excellence is not perfection. Anything worth doing at all is worth doing well. Realistically, few things are worth a shot at perfection. The wisdom of spending an hour looking for the “perfect” clipart or typeface for a bulletin insert is questionable. Very likely your responsibilities demand more productive uses of your time. While aiming for perfection is impractical, never settle for mediocre. Excellence is rewarding and attainable.
Physical clutter slows everyone down. Time and effort are wasted locating what is needed. Tempers may flare. Mental disorganization perpetuates a cycle of working hard while accomplishing little. Planning where things should be kept, how jobs should be accomplished—timeline, methods, and available resources—encourages effectiveness, efficiency, and smiles.
The inability or unwillingness to make a decision about what to do or how to do it absolutely hinders productivity. Often any decision is better than no decision. Fretting over possibilities is a decision in itself, one that creates a backlog of work and frustrates coworkers.
Start the decision-making process by identifying precisely what you want to achieve. Gather and evaluate relevant information. Finally, choose your course of action. Taking days to consider options may reveal a perfectly clear choice, but very likely it will not. When stalled, ask yourself what you will know in a day or two that you don't know now. If the answer is “not much,” trust your instinct, make your decision, and act.