10 tips for getting stuff done

If you’re trying to get noticed at work for the right reasons, you need to build a reputation for being someone who gets stuff done. No dramas, no missed deadlines and no nasty surprises – yes, that sounds very basic but it’s surprising how many people just don’t seem to be able to get stuff done.

Try these tips to give your performance – and your reputation – a well-earned boost.

  1. Beware ‘busyness’ and focus on outcomes that will add the most value to your performance and that of your team.
  2. Take 10-15 minutes at the end of each working day to update your To Do list and ensure you have the right priorities for tomorrow.
  3. Check you’re staying on track and get in the habit of asking yourself: “Is this the best use of my time Right Now?” We tend to gravitate towards and spend more time on the tasks and activities that appeal to us – which may be different from those that take priority. See my post ‘Where does your time REALLY go?’ for more tips.
  4. Don’t allow routine tasks to take longer than they should. If the job is only worth 10 minutes, then get it done in 10 minutes. Beware ‘gold-plating’ – or unnecessary perfection. Truth is, most managers simply want a good job, done on time – not a work of art that’s late.
  5. For each recurring task you take on, create a checklist of all the sequential steps to be completed, so that you and other team members are crystal clear on what to do and when.
  6. Get clear about what you’re NOT going to do. What ‘time bandits’ are you going to let go of? What can you get done faster, more simply or even automated? What can you delegate?
  7. Nail email so that your emails get a) opened, b) read and c) responded to. That means using subject lines wisely, starting with your key point and then supporting it, using people’s names to clarify who’s doing what. Notice whose emails you do a), b) and c) to and identify what the senders get right. See my post ‘10 tips for writing emails that get read’ for more.
  8. Keep your boss up to date – in the way they prefer. If that’s one email detailing all your progress today, do it. If they like a face-to-face catch up, be ready and able to keep it clear and brief.
  9. If a job is starting to go off the rails, involve your boss sooner rather than later. Identify the cause, come up with suggestions to put things right, then ask them for their input.
  10. Note questions you have for your manager and build a list. Come up with suggestions for each question. Schedule a time to run through this with your manager rather than bugging them as each question pops into your head.


Dawn is the author of ‘How to be Zoomly at work’, available on Amazon.

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