Montag, 23. Januar 2017

Keeping deadlines – it’s all about the right steps

Do you sometimes wonder, how your career role models or some of your colleagues seem to make keeping their deadlines appear to be a piece of cake, while you are under time pressure most of the time? The good news - there are studies proving that most of people only reach peak productivity under time pressure. Your colleagues obviously fall in the same category. That they keep their cool while doing it and don’t let stress get the best of them is likely due to some sound principles, which they are following. Read on to find out all about those.

1. Don’t be afraid to say „No”. You have enough tasks for two, but because you are such a model employee, your boss wants to give you yet another one. If you agree to it on the spot, you’ll probably make a big mistake as you won’t have any more time to accomplish all that is asked of you. It’s a better idea to politely decline and tell your boss about your lack of time. If he really wants you to take on the new task, he should first free you from some other one.

2. Find out what is exactly expected from you. What is the exact result that you have to reach? If the description isn’t clear enough for you and leaves you with further questions, ask them. It will help you determine whether you have enough time to take on the task and are able to meet the desired deadline. Keep your estimate realistic and don’t hold back, should you think that you need more time. At this point, the deadline might still be flexible and your opinion can be taken into consideration.

3. Write down all agreed dates. If you and your supervisor have reached an agreement about the final deadline, write it down somewhere, ideally in a place that you can always see. The simple fact that you can see the deadline marked in your calendar is already enough to boost your motivation.

4. Split up the task in several steps. You know the end result of your task and you know the timeframe you have at your disposal to reach it. Think about the task and split it up in smaller steps with their own deadlines. You set these for yourself. The good feeling you get from accomplishing each step will keep you going until you reach the desired goal.

5. Always plan for a buffer. According to an old saying, everything takes twice as much time as planned. Well, generally it won’t quite come to that, but unforeseen things can happen all the time. Plan accordingly and always leave room, so that these unforeseen events are accounted for.

And should it really happen that, despite your best planning, you can’t meet the agreed deadline, we advise you to tell your supervisor as soon as possible. Together, you can take all the necessary measures to minimize the negative impact.

Montag, 9. Januar 2017

Get a good start at the office in the new year

Holidays aren’t completely over yet, so many of you will still be vacationing. The second week of January, at the latest, will see you back at the office, though – a new year filled with new projects, challenges and success stories awaits! Maybe it is going to be the year that sees you getting that coveted promotion, the pay raise that you’ve worked for so hard or the big assignment that is going to show your superiors that you deserve both. To achieve all this, you should start your new year at the office in stride. Here are our suggestions!

1. Don’t plan too many tasks on your first day back at work. If possible, don’t immediately go off to the most important meetings. Not only will you find it rather hard to snap back into full productive mode after two weeks of relaxation, but, with all other things thrown at you at the office (read the next sentence), you’ll risk losing track of your schedule and thusly getting stressed out. It’s best if you start by reading through all the messages you might have got during your time away from the office and setting your priorities for the next days accordingly. And allow for some down time with the colleagues to exchange holiday impressions.

2. Review the past year with all things good and bad. What turned out to be a success at work and what didn‘t work exactly as it should have? Remember that there are always wins, as well as losses. By remembering all important milestones of the past year, you can achieve a balanced view and learn from the good, as well as from the bad. What new skills and strengths did you discover about yourself and how can you best further develop and implement those into your work routine? Be honest with yourself and you will find that it will only benefit you!

3. Prepare for the yearly performance review. The balanced view of the past year that you have achieved earlier is, at the same time, the best preparation for the yearly performance review. Many companies schedule these conversations close to the beginning of the new year. For you, this will be a good opportunity to find out how much the company and your superiors value your contributions. And the best opportunity to negotiate or at least mention possible pay raises and promotions. You have done the homework and have practical examples from the past year to plead your case!

4. Don’t forget about your resolutions. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a healthier diet, more physical activity, giving up smoking or just staying more calm than last year – start doing those things right on your first day. Otherwise you’ll soon be trapped again in your old habits and might come to regret it next year.