All requests are not equal; all customers or clients are not equal; all to-do-list tasks are not equal; all work responsibilities are not equal. You can do fifty things today and get little, if any, return on your investment for having done them. Or you can do one or two things which have a large return.
You possess personal capital. It is comprised of your time, effort, knowledge and skills. Investing that capital wisely yields a return on your investment. The higher your return on investment (your ROI), the more profit you earn. Profit in this context yields discretionary endeavors. And discretionary endeavors tap into the most powerful thing you can do to create career results - initiative.
There are hundreds of books filled with an equal number of approaches to managing your tasks and time. Use whatever works for you. But as you do, keep your ROI in mind. Every day you invest your capital. Sometimes you invest it wisely, sometimes foolishly, sometime neutrally. The better investments you make, over time, the better your returns will be, over time. Think long-term ROI.
Here are three of my personal ROI strategies:
1. Prioritize people over tasks. Family or staff or a boss asking for something, regardless of what, should go to the top. Requests from your key people list should be met immediately, if possible, with a sense of urgency. These are the people that pay you the biggest dividends (love, support and economic well being) so do the requests from this group first and you will build equity for the long-term. When you hit life's potholes, that equity will help carry you through.
2. Work smart and fast. If you're slow on the computer, increase your skills. If you pace yourself or spread your work out through the day, don't. If you don't have time to train someone to help you, make the time. The more you can leverage yourself and the more work that you produce, the more valuable an asset you become. Invest in yourself.
3. Choose making progress over being busy. Spend a day answering emails, reading mail, completing miscellaneous and unimportant tasks, and at the end of the day you're no further along on your important work than when you started. Sure, those recurring tasks need to be done, too. But choose first to make progress, then do the recurring tasks, not the other way around or you'll find there's no time left for the big stuff that offers a better return on your investment.
Want to be winning at working? Invest your personal capital wisely and you'll find your ROI compounding year after year and your career stock rising.
© 2006Nan S. Russell. All rights reserved.
Sign up to receive Nan's free biweekly eColumn at http://www.winningatworking.com. Nan Russell has spent over twenty years in management, most recently with QVC as a Vice President. She has held leadership positions in Human Resource Development, Communication, Marketing and line Management. Nan has a B.A. from Stanford University and M.A. from the University of Michigan. Currently working on her first book, Winning at Working: 10 Lessons Shared, Nan is a writer, columnist, small business owner, and on-line instructor.
Visit http://www.nanrussell.com or contact Nan at firstname.lastname@example.org.