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More for less, how to succeed professionally without working harder

by Guest Writter
Corrie Shanahan, Author, Do it, Mean it, Be it. The Keys to Achieve Success, Happiness and Everything You Deserve at Work and in Life 

In my new book “Do it, Mean it, Be it. The Keys to Achieve Success, Happiness and Everything You Deserve at Work and in Life” I describe the strategies and secrets of people who are not only extremely successful but who also have a life. Why? Because I believe the two are not mutually exclusive. I believe it’s possible to do a great job, be rewarded for it, and also have fun. And if you’re not doing that, what’s the point? I interview a number of CEOs in the book and here are some of the things they had in common about getting more done, in less time.

Seven things you can start doing today:

Actually apply the 80 percent rule
Eighty percent really is enough. The amount of time you spend on that remaining 20 percent is always greater than the time spent on the 80 percent and it NEVER makes a significant difference to the outcome. So stop at 80 percent and move on.

Delegate and see what happens
Too many of my coaching clients say they can’t delegate because the only people to whom they could delegate would make a mess of things. Whose fault is that? If you can’t develop people, that’s on you as a leader. If they really can’t do the job, that’s also on you to move them on. If you don’t have the authority to do that, you need to bring it to the attention of someone who can. Who are you helping by carrying water for others?

Speed is king
It is far better to be fast and responsive than to be perfect. The quicker you give me that information or start moving that project along, the better. You can send a shorter memo, if you send it sooner. The longer you leave your response, the more the client or your boss expects it to contain. Speed and brevity are your allies.

Discipline drives momentum
Getting started on a task generates its own momentum and helps your creative thinking. When I was writing my book, I assigned one hour a day to writing part of a chapter. Regardless my mood or level of inspiration, I had to sit down and write 750 words. The hardest part is literally sitting down and starting the first sentence. After that, your brain kicks in and the thoughts flow. This applies to all tasks. Give yourself the gift of discipline and you’ll be rewarded by momentum.

Leave early
Everyone knows this to be true. You can’t be as productive at the end of the day as at the beginning. Your brain is tired. Your energy is low. If you need to, crank out some administrative tasks that require little thought, but set a time limit to them. Then leave. You will be better served by getting outside, taking some exercise or seeing a friend. There’s a reason you have some of your best ideas in the shower or while on that run. Your brain is free to percolate and come up with something useful.

Vacation and status
Americans take less vacation than anyone else on the planet. And no, that doesn’t mean they are more productive or happier than their peers in Europe, Australia or Canada. Executives in those countries feel they have earned the right to enjoy themselves and spend time with their families. The CEOs here that I interviewed were convinced that status was no longer about saying how busy you are and not taking vacation. Instead it was about being able to brag about the extraordinary experiences you had while cycling through Vietnam or what you’re doing in your latest philanthropic venture. They said that the reward of getting ahead was to have more time, not more work. You can do that by adopting some of their advice above.


About the Author

Corrie Shanahan is the author of Do it, Mean it, Be it. The Keys to Achieve Success, Happiness and Everything You Deserve at Work and in Life (Career Press). Corrie is an expert in helping organizations and individuals rapidly improve performance and productivity. Her clients include leaders at Mars Inc., Discovery Communications, UNICEF, Deloitte, the World Bank and IMF.

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