7 Tips to get things done October 8th, 2012

Vinod Kumar

What may be done at any time will be done at no time – Scottish Proverb

I have this unique privilege of meeting so many of you and there is one question that keeps coming to me irrespective of the age-group I interact with. People ask – “How do you have time for everything? How can you keep doing so many things? How do you manage all this?” etc. I understand we all have our priorities, we all have our day jobs, we all have a family to look after, we all have the same 24 hrs, we all have the same problems every human will have. It is not always about what we have but what we do with what we have. It is a tough conscious choices in life make us who we are. This fundamental concept is what made me write this blog post.

On a similar note the concept – Picture Post of Doing Vs Saying.

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop – Mother Teresa

All of us are of the same thought that we want to get more things done in less time and most importantly the easiest of ways. So let me take a stab at this with my top 7 things we can do to achieve this.

1. Make your TODO tasks

This is the simplest of steps one can do. I have talked about this step in my “how to be productive when working from home” post. It is one of those no-brainers when it come to working efficiently. I have been a victim of forgetting the list of tasks because I get pushed around for executing some other tasks. We all are humans and doing this makes a clear indication to what we have in hand and we can execute them efficiently. The TODO list also lets us easily prioritize the tasks in hand. If you need to take away one thing, do the ugliest task first because the rest of the task will be easy enough to get completed as they are not the ugliest :).

2. Take decisions faster

This is one trait I learned from my friend and former Manager Ramkumar Kothandaraman. He had an unique style to deal with situations but most importantly he was always insisting the decision needs to be taken rather than ranting over emails with 10’s of people added for opinion. Take the phone, take a decision or huddle into a room and make your choices. Once you are done with this step, even if you disagree – as a team we commit to the execution. There should be no second thoughts on that.

This is the most efficient and faster way to move forward to getting things done. Think and then start doing, once you have started doing don’t think hard but make sure to get it done.

To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing – Eva Young

3. Avoid your distractions

One of the biggest hurdle in getting things done are the distractions we have. From simple outlook notifications, facebook beeps, Twitter etc – all of these take important moments of our time away from the work in hand. If we are committed, we must assign proper time to be on the internet doing social stuff if need-be, but we must not get distracted in middle of tasks.

The irony of all the so-called social networking sites is that we are getting more and more less social in real life. Just think, when was the last time you picked the phone and greeted your friend for his B’day? or when was the last time you made a surprise visit to a friends place for their anniversary? I think I will target this concept for a different post. But think …

4. Keep learning and reinventing

If things were done in a certain way, doesn’t always mean it has to be done the same way always. People say why reinvent the wheel. Fine, if that is the case why not start using ASP skills to write web applications and stop learning the new programming languages of .NET or MVC or MVVM patterns.

As we catch up with technology, there is always efficient and effective ways to achieve the same task. For every complex problem, there is always a simple solution already out there. So discover and spend that extra time to explore and learn the new tips of the trade.

I would request you to spend 1 hour daily to learn something completely new to enhance your knowledge and skills. It is a simple step but if we are religious in doing this, the returns will be permanent and something you will remember for a lifetime.

5. Ask help or Delegate if needed

I have seen people hesitate when it comes to asking help. There is nothing wrong in asking help when you are stressed and already overloaded. Ideally, if you are overloaded then it is better to say NO and park the new work that comes your way. Another sign of overloading means, you have not prioritized your work and have overcommitted in your delivery. This needs to be kept in mind for future.

Asking help is different from delegation. Sometimes we are so much married to the activities we do, that we find it difficult to give it off to others in fear of failure. Understand, you were in the very same position when someone gave that task to you. In this situation, guide and help others to succeed while you explore new frontiers and new challenges.

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing – George Bernard Shaw

6. Track your milestones

Have a measurable milestone in your mind when you are working. People keep asking me -what is your 5 years roadmap. Well, it is good to have a goal but the problem is – things change so much in a 5 years timeframe. So my question always has been what is your timelines for the next month, quarter and year to start. Do these align to the uber goal that we have in mind?

7. be accountable to yourself

This is very much in alignment to the previous point but still different. We always feel we are accountable to someone else – our bosses, manager, peer etc. But the more fundamental question would be, are we accountable to ourselves? Are we sticking to the priority to work we have in hand? Are we moving forward? Are we doing something everyday to learn something? Are we … Are we … Are we …

Final Words

I hope I made your 7 day mantra simple. Getting things done is a simple step and are we trying to make efforts to get there? Do tell me if you think these make sense. Do you have a different strategy to get things done at work? Feel free to share them. Will be more than happy to listen.

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This entry was posted on Monday, October 8th, 2012 at 08:30 and is filed under Personal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

9 Responses to “7 Tips to get things done”

  1. Sahal says:

    I read this post earlier, but that was quick on materialistic approach to getting this done. today i read this gain with a fresh mind. and i must say this is one of those influencing thought i read on your blog!
    lots of thoughts back, but its better i ask you constructive questions around this (probably in-person :) )
    The tips 5 and 7 triggers lots of thoughts and self review.

    Thank you.

    • Vinod Kumar says:

      If the post made to you think and become more self-critical, then I think the post served its purpose. I will be more than happy to share my views if you have anything to ask. BTW, come over for next weeks UG meet and we can have a chat too !!! I will be there for sure :) …

  2. Shyam Viking says:

    Nice post once again Sir.

    I had been doing some intense reflection on my to-do’s and how to do. Your list helps, and is more or less the same on what I think. Thanks for sharing :).

  3. Thank you for sharing this with us. I need to improve on distractions and will going to apply your logic.

  4. Pinal Dave says:

    This is going to be milestone blog post!

  5. Sandip pani says:

    Hi Vinod,
    Thank you for the tips. After reading this post I Believe, applying these tips I can able to get my job done in time.

    Thank You Sir.

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