The phrase “work smarter not harder” often invokes the answer “Yeah- but how exactly?” One of the best ways, but possibly least practised, is to adapt how you do a task to suit your particular skills and talents.
Everyone has range of things they are good at and love to do and things they are competent at that are much harder work for them. Let’s define the things we love to do, which are easy for us and give us energy, as our “Special Talents”. For example, some people get a real buzz from presenting their ideas to a group of people and persuading them about ideas. They love to influence through speaking and interacting. Other people get a buzz from carefully crafting a written communication that answers peoples’ questions and allows them to move forward. They love to influence through careful thought and reflection.
Imagine how much more productive you can be if you approach tasks using your special talents most of the day rather than doing things in ways that are hard work for you and less productive. By working smarter, you will get more satisfaction in your working day and enjoy more success.
The two biggest reasons I find for people not adapting tasks to fit their talents are: not being aware and honest about what they are good at and/or not being willing to think outside the conventional “norm” of doing things.
Here is a real example. A client, Susan, needed to produce some written articles in the next month on behalf of her team. She had the knowledge needed for interesting content but knew that, despite training, she was much weaker at writing than expressing her ideas verbally. In a coaching session, Susan realised that talking her ideas through gave her energy and insight whereas writing was heavy work and, for her, less creative and rewarding. She decided to change her “article production process” to suit her talents. She asked a younger colleague, who was excellent at writing but much less knowledgeable, to interview her and then write the first draft. The colleague was delighted as he enjoyed being recognised for his writing skills and got excellent learning from the process. Susan then enjoyed reviewing and finalising the words for the finished article.When you talk to people who are successfully achieving many different goals, one feature they share is the courage to find ways of operating that suit them specifically – using their Special Talents. People around them see them as very efficient and really good at their job. They are willing to work smarter.
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