Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 2nd 2013 Contents BG16 | COMMENTARY
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt MAY 2013 • WEEK ONE
Allocate your time
To succeed in today s busy world, you need
to decide what to excel at and what to do just
adequately enough. Break down activities you
do into three categories: invest, neutral or
"Investment" pursuits are areas where more
time and a higher quality of work lead to an
exponential payoff, such as strategic planning.
Aim for A-level work here. In "neutral" activ-
ities, more time spent doesn t necessarily mean
a significantly higher return.
Attending project meetings is a good exam-
ple. You don t need to excel -- a B is fine.
"Optimise" duties are those where additional
time leads to no added value and keeps you
from doing other, more valuable activities.
The faster you get these tasks done, the better.
Minimise the time spent on optimize activities
so that you can dedicate your energy to higher
(Adapted from "How to Allocate Your Time,
and Your Effort" by Elizabeth Grace Saunders.)
Use personal rituals to
make changes stick
How many times have you promised to
exercise more, or start meditating, or spend
less time at the office? To make changes that
last, create rituals -- highly specific behaviors
that you do at the same time every day (or
on specific days you select).
Willpower is a limited resource, so use less
of it by making challenging activities automatic.
By setting a time for your routine, you don t
have to spend energy thinking about when to
get it done. If you find yourself faltering, reduce
the challenge but stay the course. Run three
days a week instead of four. Repetition, even
in very small doses, builds capacity. Any pos-
itive change you can make will be hugely sat-
isfying -- and a source of inspiration to make
the next one.
(Adapted from "How to Make a Change that
Lasts" by Tony Schwartz.)
Act with care when
someone cries at work
It s natural to feel helpless or uncomfortable
when someone cries in front of you in the
office. But remember that tears are a normal
human reaction, not a sign of weakness. If
someone you work with starts to well up,
here s how to handle it:
Acknowledge the tears. Don t ignore them.
Use the occasion to analyse and assess what s
going on, not judge the crier.
Offer a tissue. this gives the person a chance
to breathe and gather thoughts. it also com-
municates that you re paying attention.
Recognise a problem. Crying means some-
thing needs to be addressed: The person is
overworked, stressed, sick or frustrated. This
is an opportunity to identify the underlying
issue and move forward with clarity.
(Adapted from "How to Handle Tears at
Work" by Anne Kreamer.)
Connect with a
It s challenging to work with someone you
don t chat with every day at the coffee station.
But you can still build strong connections and
work successfully together.
Here s how:
Talk openly about the challenges.
Discuss obstacles on both sides. Clarify
expectations up front, and agree on how you ll
Use technology. Include someone in a meet-
ing with a laptop and Skype. Use Google Docs
to simultaneously work on a file and watch
one another s edits or comments in real time.
Err on the side of overcommunicating. Set
up regular times to catch up on the phone.
Keep a running list of things to discuss and
share important announcements.
Communicate even little details -- the fact
that someone has had a death in the family,
for example, or is under pressure with a big
(Adapted from Harvard Business Review s
"Guide to Managing Up and Across.")
Perfect your personal
If you re in the market
for a job, you need to be
able to communicate
your value as a potential
employee in 15 seconds
or less. That may be all
the time you have with
a recruiter or hiring man-
Your message has to
be crisp and tailored. Say
specifically what value
you bring -- for instance,
"My specialty is stream-
lining messy, complex
processes" -- but don t
pile on so many details
that you struggle to get
everything in. Delivering
an elevator pitch at
breakneck pace is
Speak at a steady pace
that shows you re calm
and confident. You want
the listener to see you as
a thoughtful, deliberate
candidate -- not as some
(Adapted from Harvard
Business Review s "Guide
to Getting the Right Job.")
@2013 Harvard Busi-
ness School Publishing
Corp. (Distributed by
The New York Times
TIPS & TALKING POINTS
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