Work Smarter, Not Harder, by Using Janitorial Manager

As 2018 comes to a close and we embark on 2019, most people are probably thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Statistics say that only 8% of people who make resolutions actually keep them, so how can you find yourself on the winning side? It’s time to make some changes! You’ve heard the saying before – work smarter rather than harder, and it’s true! Everyone is capable of working hard, but working smart has everything to do with efficiency and time. Most people who work smarter do it intuitively. Wouldn’t that be nice if you were one of them? By making some minimal changes in your everyday life, you could find yourself as part of that crazy 8%. If you’re in the commercial cleaning industry, this saying applies to you as well. It’s not just about your personal life, but your work life too.

Change is Inevitable

While change is always coming, it doesn’t have to be a miserable thing. A UC Berkeley professor, Morten Hansen, looked at over 200 academic papers, interviewed 120 experts, ran a pilot study on 300 subjects, and built a framework to test 5,000 participants from various industries and backgrounds to prove that it doesn’t have to be scary to make changes and work smarter. He found that some specific behaviors made a 66% difference in how people performed in work-related situations. Let’s look at a couple of his findings:

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1. Focus and Obsess More

It may sound strange, but from Hansen’s research, people who focus on fewer priorities and then obsess about those priorities actually get their work done. That extreme dedication to a few specific tasks produced some amazing work. You may balk at the term “obsess” because it comes with some obviously negative connotations. But when you think about “obsessing” in terms of your cleaning business, this could mean you clearing away the unnecessary to seriously focus on the things that will make you more successful.

Enter another scientific principle, “Occam’s razor.” This principle holds that the simplest approach is probably the right answer. So start hacking away at the meaningless things on your to-do list and start focusing on the really important pieces. “Shave away unnecessary tasks, priorities, committees, steps, metrics, and procedures. Channel all your effort into excelling in the remaining activities. Ask: How many tasks can I remove, given what I must do to excel? Remember: As few as you can, as many as you must,” Hansen says. If that’s too scary, it’s time to loop your people into the changes. If you’re the owner or manager, try meeting with your employees to make some changes across the board and help them work smarter!

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2. Feel Passion and Purpose

Regardless of the industry, the top performers in Hansen’s study didn’t merely follow their passions. They only forged ahead with the things they were both passionate about AND had a purpose in. Some may think it’s impossible to have both because people mistakenly think that passion has to come from tasks performed. It doesn’t! According to Hansen, you can derive passion from your work in other ways:

  • Task passion: The obvious one – what you do that excites you.
  • Achievement passion: Your personal achievements bring passion. A salesperson might not be keen on the product, but they get a high every time they close a big deal.
  • Creative passion: You wouldn’t be in your industry if it didn’t spark something in you. An engineer might not be thrilled about the project, but they love solving hard problems.
  • People passion: The company or the job might not be that great, but you love supporting and interacting with your team and the people around you.
  • Learning passion: Some say that they love what they do because they learn something new every day.
  • Competence passion: We all get excited when we’re doing something we’re good at.

Taking the time to find passion in at least one part of your job. This will help you keep your priorities straight and, in turn, will help you successfully keep your resolutions.

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3. “The Learning Loop”

Did you know that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberately doing something over and over again to be considered an expert? It takes that many hours of true practice, not just daydreaming through your workday. Deliberate practice seems straightforward in some career paths, but how do you do it in your workplace? Hansen offers some clear steps:

  • Pick one – Develop one skill at a time. It’s “do less and obsess” all over again. Trying to get better at everything at once gets you nowhere. If you need to be better at time management, focus on that. If you’re trying to manage your people more positively, stick to that.
  • Carve out 15 – Dedicate 15 minutes a day to reviewing your performance on a specific skill. Evaluate what you’re doing and how you could get better or ask your supervisor to help evaluate what you’re doing.
  • Isolate micro-behaviors – Just like a baseball player might try to improve a specific element of their game (batting, fielding, or running), you want to break down what goes into a successful day of work in your industry and set a goal. “I’m going to clean more efficiently” or “I should be able to talk to customers about this.”
  • Get feedback – After you’ve done the first three steps, get some feedback from someone other than your boss or manager. Sometimes we miss out on some good advice because we’re not asking the right people.

Happy New Year!

While all of these steps are great ways to learn how to work smarter, there is one thing we haven’t mentioned, and this could make the biggest difference of all. Start using a business management software solution like Janitorial Manager! Our software was designed to help you keep all of your ducks in a row so you can focus on the things that need your focus and automate what doesn’t. Give us a call or schedule a free demo today!