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Help! I’m Productive!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 by Slaughter Development

To the majority of us, being productive in the office is a great thing. Yet, for one individual, consistently accomplishing her work is a big problem.

The August 5th edition of the Indianapolis Star printed the following Dear Annie letter:

Dear Annie: In my office, we all have different, unconnected job functions. I am usually busy, and when my work is finished, I take a break. I do not disturb anyone else while I go online, take a walk or do some organizing and other things to pass the time until my next assignment. One of my co-workers makes sarcastic comments about my work ethic. It’s not like I can use my free time to help her, because our jobs are unrelated. The boss knows he can count on me when there is work to be done, but he isn’t going to invent assignments. How do I handle my nosy co-worker, who seems to be watching my every move?

- Looking Busy Enough

This predicament is a hard one to tackle. After all, what type of advice can you give an anonymous reader that will help maintain a well-working relationship without creating rifts in the workplace? According to Annie, the best advice is to adapt amicably. Below is her response:

Dear Reader: Your co-worker is envious that you have finished your work and have time to yourself and she doesn’t. As long as your boss is satisfied, you are under no obligation to please anyone else. You could try “making nice” by offering to bring her a cup of coffee or something along those lines, but otherwise, ignore her barbs. It’s sour grapes and not worthy of a response.

As The Methodology Blog has covered before, the inability to maintain a cohesive work environment can have lasting negative effects on productivity. So, although Annie’s advice to ignore and “make nice” is a calm, non-confrontational plan, its overall effectiveness is questionable since it does little more than prolong frustration.

Instead, why not encourage “Looking Busy Enough” to utilize her strengths in a more effective way? If Slaughter Development were to respond, we would advise the following:

Dear Reader: From the sounds of it, your workflow is not only successful, but meeting—if not exceeding—expectations. Well done! And while your well-deserved free time is yours to spend however you’d like, perhaps it’s time to take your talent for productivity to the next level. After all, your job isn’t just to complete projects, it’s also to be innovative and creative on behalf of the company.

Though your co-worker’s job functions are different, remember that both of you have the same overall goal: to work effectively and generate success. What better reason is there than to take your free time and develop new ways of integrating your work systems into the office? By doing so, you are satisfying three solid things:

  • You will have the chance to asssit all your co-workers in their own productivity. Not only will this help boost your office’s overall success, but it will perhaps reduce the rift between you and your co-worker.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to showcase your unique skills and work ethic to your boss; highlighting your creativity and leadership.
  • You will empower yourself and feel more accomplished, confident and respected.

Seize the moment and use your productivity to your advantage! I guarantee you and your co-workers will be thankful you did.

Improving productivity at work has a slew of advantages: it streamlines projects, frees up time for innovation, helps the functioning of our brains and strengthens collaboration in the workplace.  To learn more about how we can help your company, contact Slaughter Development today!

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Like this post? Here are some related entries from The Methodology Blog you might enjoy:

What It Means To Be Productive - There’s an old adage that suggests “the cobbler’s children have no shoes.” As a productivity expert however, I don’t think this saying is acceptable. I make it a point to get a tremendous amount of work accomplished in a given day.
Read on »
The Causes of Overwork, Part 2 - The economy may be slowly rebounding, but that’s no reason to be exhausted. Here’s part two of The Causes of Overwork.
Read on »
Remote Work Week: Opportunity - For our final post in Remote Work Week, we wrap up the discussion with advice on advocating telecommuting at your organization.
Read on »
Want to learn more? Register now for the 2011 Productivity Series

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