Monday, April 26, 2010

Work smarter, not harder

It’s a cliché phrase to be sure, often lacking in practicality. It’s been a Dilbert punchline more than once. It is widely spoken, yet seldom practiced.

Yet, if your business is to succeed, you must figure out how to work smarter on a company level. While there’s no one method that works for everyone, here are some practical examples of what “working smarter, not harder” looks like:
  • It’s automating repetitive tasks. Take Excel, for example. Rather than enter data and perform the same tasks every month, automate the whole process with web-based applications.
  • It’s figuring out that certain tasks are better completed at different times, and organizing your schedule as such. For example, I do my writing in the morning because I’ve found that’s when I do it best.
  • It’s integrating all your systems together. For example, if you have to enter the same data multiple times into different systems, they are not integrated.
  • It’s creating online portals for your customers. They get the information they need and you free up time since they your customers won’t need to call as often.
  • It’s giving your end users the ability to run their own reports without troubling IT. Let’s go one step further and give them the ability to run many reports with one application, like this ranking report. While the developer only needs to build and maintain one application, the end user can create a multitude of different reports all by themselves. That’s working smarter on many levels.
  • It’s realizing that you don’t have to learn programming or hire consultants to create the web applications you need.
How about you? What does “working smarter, not harder” look like in your company?


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