Employee Productivity: Lifesaver for Overwhelmed Employees
By Harriet Meyerson
Is employee performance suffering because your employees feel like they’re drowning from too much to do?
That’s the problem our friend Jane is having. Exhausted, she falls asleep at her desk and begins to have a nightmare. In her dream, she is slowly sinking in what appears to be a giant bowl of alphabet soup. Read this article to discover Jane’s life saver and how you can toss one to your employees.
Jane is having a nightmare. In her dream, she is slowly sinking in what appears to be a giant bowl of alphabet soup. But, instead of letters, there are huge To Do items everywhere. Oddly, some are blue and some are red.
There are so many, and the liquid so cloudy, she can’t see the surface.She begins to swim up through the squishy objects. She can’t read what the items say, nor does she care to, she just wants to breathe. She desperately paddles upward. Breaking the surface, she gasps for air. Just then, an enormous one pops up and pushes her under, again. She is drowning.
A life saver appears… Suddenly, a life saver in the shape of a pencil appears in front of her. She grabs it and hangs on for dear life as she is lifted to the side of the bowl. Scrambling for purchase, she is finally able to stand up. From this vantage point, she can read what the words say.
- “Develop New Hire training program.”
- “Set up a monthly meeting with XYZ client.”
- “Do employee evaluations.”
These are the closest ones to her. Most importantly, though, she notices a pattern. The blue “To Do’s” are plan ahead things, and the red ones are urgent. As Jane is catching her breath and wringing soup out of her shirt, all she can think is, “How weird is this?”
A pad of paper and a pen are suddenly in her hands. (This is a dream, after all.) It takes her a full minute to realize what this new development means. On the pad, she makes two columns:
- Urgent and
- Plan ahead
Then, she begins to place the To Do’s in the appropriate column. As she writes the items down, they disappear from the soup.
This excites her and she begins to work faster until all are gone and the stock is crystal clear. So clear in fact, she can see all the way to the bottom of the bowl, which says “Well done!”
As she is basking in the satisfaction her accomplishment gives her, the bowl begins to shake violently.
She hears an eerie voice from far away, “Jane! Jane!” She closes her eyes and when she opens them again, her co-worker is staring at her. “You were snoring.” Brad says, as he walks away. Instead of being embarrassed, she is full of renewed energy. She quickly grabs her pad and pen and begins to write.
What about your employees?
When employee performance drops because employees are overwhelmed, and it’s your job to help them develop goal setting skills, sometimes a story, like the one above, can be the best employee training tool. Stories create employee engagement and help them remember important points.
In this era of downsizing, with less people doing more work, it is easy for employee performance to decline if their goal setting skills have not been fully developed. If you find your employees overwhelmed by a multitude of things to do, the best way to clear the mind of clutter is to write them down.
- Have your employees make two columns on a piece of paper.
- Using different colored pens make a header for each column – “Urgent” and “Plan Ahead” Like in the story, “Urgent” can be written in red and “Plan Ahead” can be blue. (It doesn’t matter what colors are used as long as it is understood which one is which and the same colors are used consistently.)
- Using the appropriate color, prioritize the tasks under each heading. This incredibly simple, yet often overlooked, exercise can save your employees from drowning in the soup of “Too many things to do.”
Q. How effective are you as a workplace leader?
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Written by Harriet Meyerson, founder of The Confidence Center. Harriet works with companies that want to raise employee morale and with HR Managers, supervisors and executives who want to improve employee confidence and productivity.
Copyright: Harriet Meyerson
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