“Work smarter, not harder.” Who hasn’t heard this phrase? In fact, it’s become a cliché. But just because it’s a cliché doesn’t mean it’s wrong! Nowhere is this phrase more necessary than in technology.
Between fire drills, “urgent emails,” outages, and everything else…we feel like we don’t have time to “work smarter.” So, we just keep throwing more time at problems. Work a few minutes later each day; log on for a few more hours each weekend. All in “hope” of the problem going away.
The problem isn’t going to go away.
At another organization, a leader was known for walking around the office yelling “get <stuff> done!” This could really be translated as “work more, don’t care about smarter!” We can’t out muscle modern day technical problems. There’s too much complexity, too many dependencies and too much at stake. Navigating the technical landscape requires finesse. It requires critical thinking time.
Brute force isn’t the answer in solving complex issues. The skills of today (and tomorrow) center around critical thinking and problem solving. Many of the problems to be solved in technology…aren’t about the technology itself. It’s about understanding business needs, requirements and how tech can enhance/add value to the organization. This is where the IT team needs to play a key role. But simply “GSD’ing” isn’t the way to get invited to that table.
How To Work Smarter
Can we at least agree that just throwing more hours at the problem isn’t a long-term solution? So, how then do we “work smarter?” The first step? Create time. Without time, we can’t think. If we can’t think, our only option is to plug in again this weekend.
But how do we “create time?” Leveraging tools (technology), processes and partners. We have all of these wonder tools around us, but rarely use them. Take something as simple as Lucid Chart. What if instead of having a critical process in your head…you document it out in Lucid Chart? That way, when the problem arises and you’re engaged in something else…others can help out. You’ve just created more time for yourself.
Next, process. I know, it’s boring. But those of us in technology tend to be “cowboys” (or cowgirls!). We don’t want to color inside the lines and would rather just figure it out. That’s costing you so much time! Document out various processes so that you don’t have to try and remember what you did last time a similar issue came up. You’ll save yourself (and make yourself) time!
Finally, partners. I know providers get a bad rap. But taking the time to find the right partners to engage with? Can free up more time than you can imagine. Your value isn’t in being able to fix the fire-drill issue…it’s in creating new ways for the business to leverage technology to drive success. Take the time to investigate new vendors and partners to help you. It’ll be well worth the effort!