One of the most important goals in a professional environment is to make tangible work progress every day. We call this:
GOOD FORM = GOOD FOrward Relentless Motion
This concept derives from a coping strategy used by ultra-marathon runners to keep moving forward, even if slowly. “Anyone can run 50 miles if they go slow enough. The trick is not to stop.”
To apply this to the workplace, walk into the office every day with the intent of making tangible progress that will further your current projects. Make a concerted effort to stay focused on these tasks for at least three quarters of your day. Work on your most mentally challenging, important tasks in the morning to focus your energy on the high-priority objectives. Then, use the remaining one-quarter for big picture thinking, meeting with colleagues, and planning for the future.
Too many workers fall victim to “getting nothing done” during a particular workday. These “wasted” days are unacceptable and should never happen to you. If you want to grow professionally and be noticed, consistent work output and progress should be among your highest priorities.
Define tangible milestones to easily measure your progress. Here are tips on how to produce measurable output:
- Make progress so that any outsider could open up your work product and see the progress being made, via quantity or quality of analysis.
- At the start of each day, draft an email to your supervisor with three tasks you will complete that day. Throughout the day, use the draft email as a checklist to evaluate your progress and stay focused. At the end of the day, review the email. If you completed the tasks and any were a significant milestone, then actually send the email to your supervisor. If you failed to complete your tasks, imagine having to send that status to your supervisor. How would you feel? Use that feeling to motivate you to work harder or stay more on task the next work day.
- Don’t get “stuck” on a task. Getting stuck on a task occurs when you are unsure how best to proceed. You need more brainstorming, discussions with colleagues, or research. Instead of being stuck on this task all day (and risk “getting nothing done”), spend two to three hours working on it. Then spend time on other tasks where progress is more achievable and return to the stubborn task the following day.