- Work can become overwhelming when you have fewer resources like time, money, or help.
- However, you can still maximize your productivity.
- When you’re overwhelmed and don’t have many resources, it’s crucial to say “no” more often.
- Building a partner network with people who have a stake in your success will also improve your productivity.
- Only focusing on one task at a time, and making a deliberate effort to avoid any negative people, will alleviate some of the overwhelming feelings of working with few resources.
BY FAISAL HOQUE
More help, more brain power, more time, more cash: You may need these four resources to accomplish everything on your agenda this year, but chances are you aren’t going to get all of them.
However, that doesn’t mean you’re fated to be less productive.
As someone who has worked with Fortune 50 corporations, runs a business, writes, and sits on multiple company boards — I know firsthand how limited resources can impact the way work gets done — or how it doesn’t.
Here are a few simple techniques I’ve picked up to stay productive nonetheless.
1. Be choosier about the work you do
Translation: Say “No.” Trying to execute too many things at once is a recipe for burnout and eventual failure.
If you’re a startup founder developing a product, for example, you may find yourself thinking about research and development, marketing, distribution, sales, finance, and service simultaneously. You may also try doing it all yourself — which can often lead to things not being done very well or efficiently.
Employees with bosses also face this issue. Good managers should know their team’s limits, and don’t flinch when colleagues decline too much work. But even if your boss hasn’t encouraged you to say “no” when you need to, you have to be able to communicate when you’re spread too thin.
Saying “no” can be healthy. It helps you stick to your principles and priorities, and keeps you focused on your goals.
The bottom line: When your resources tighten, use that as a cue to re-prioritize and master the art of saying “no thanks” or “not right now.”
2. Build a partner network
Whatever your venture — personal, professional, philanthropic, etc. — you need partners who have a stake in your success.
As an enterprise software developer, I decided that I wanted to sell only through my partners, and not directly to end customers. So I began building a global distribution network instead of hiring people to sell my products, which takes less time than overseeing in-house sales and delivery teams.
The bottom line: Actively recruit the right partners who can help you grow, whether it’s in business, life, or your career.
3. Don’t build everything from scratch
One of the best ways to maximize productivity with limited resources is to take what has already been done and make it better.
For example, as an author, I first write small blog posts. Then, I turn some of those into feature-length articles, and eventually a few of those articles form the basis of a new book.
Some organizations have mastered the art of reuse. The Apples, Teslas, and Fords of the world understand how applying the principle of reuse can lead to resource-efficient iteration and innovation.
The bottom line: Don’t reinvent the wheel. Leverage your own hard work and the work of those who came before you to get more done with less.
4. Focus on one thing at a time
Want to build a new product? Focus on building a new product. Want to bring a new service to market? Hone it and get it ready for prime time. Only when the product or service is finished should you move on to the next task, like targeting a customer base, asking for feedback, or tweaking the offering.
Doing one thing at a time will lead to higher-quality and, in many cases, faster output.
The bottom line: Stop trying to multitask, and instead practice focusing on one thing at a time. “Monotasking” is a skill worth developing.
5. Court serendipity
Resource scarcity can lead us to think serendipitous discovery is a waste of time. But research suggests that accidental occurrences can produce meaningful ideas and help you spot connections you’d otherwise miss — especially when you’re mindful about your options and possibilities.
Think of it like driving a car without worrying about the destination — you’re just on the road to enjoy the sights, scenes, and smells; pay attention to them, and you’ll begin to know where you’re heading.
The bottom line: Let yourself zigzag a little and embrace happenstance. It’s not a wasteful luxury when resources are thin.
6. Avoid negative people at all costs
Emotional vampires— people who leave you feeling exhausted and drained — will get in your way when you’re trying to do more with less.
Sometimes the best way to deal with an annoying coworker is to limit your interaction with them as best you can. The last thing you need is another constraint on your focus, energy, or schedule.
Instead, make a deliberate effort to only spend time with people who uplift and strengthen you.
The bottom line: Scrupulously avoid anyone who takes you backward and doesn’t empathize with what you’re trying to accomplish.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an employee at a big company, there will always be conflicting interests, limited resources, and not enough hours in the day.
It’s what you choose to do with those hours that matters.
[Photo: Sebastiaan ter Burg/Flickr]
Original Article @BusinessInsider.
Serial entrepreneur Faisal Hoque is the founder of Shadoka, which enables aspirations to lead, innovate, and transform with its accelerators and solutions. He is the author of “Everything Connects: How to Transform and Lead in the Age of Creativity, Innovation, and Sustainability” (McGraw-Hill) and other books. Copyright (c) 2018 by Faisal Hoque. All rights reserved. Follow him on Twitter @faisal_hoque.