The problem with quick and dirty

25 Sep, 2020
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If ever asked, whichone would you go for?

Fast and Furious? or Slow and Steady wins the race?

Back in childhood days, we were always told to think twice before we do anything and take things slowly for better results. But in millennial times, where the world is turning around and round every second, is it wise to be slow?

In today’s world, it’s not the one who got the idea first, but it’s the one who has implemented it quickly and has shown it to the world is the winner.

At the same time, can hurrying up bring the best results? As in the end, the best one seizes the day and quality takes over. 

Steve McConnell says,” The problem with quick and dirty is that dirty remains long after quick has been forgotten”.

Being Quick

No doubt an employee who responds quickly and gets the work done first is everyone’s favourite. Managers tend to depend more on those who are quick on their feet. 

Google proudly promotes speed as its prominent feature. The market on the fact that if the search is fast, users are likely to search more and more.

 Similarly, in the workplace, faster employees are assigned with more work. The mere thought of giving work to someone slow is draining as the manager gets tired just by the thought of an employee slogging at work.

In realtime, as HR we always juggle between speed and quality when we have hiring that needs to be concluded due to a critical project requirement. Do we just hire anyone and later lament for having done that? The customer wants to onboard the new hiree on board. With less time in hand, do we compromise on the quality and close the position in the given time? Is this going to help the customer in the long run? Will this affect client-company trust? What is the trade-off between hiring fast and hiring good?

Yes, it will affect the bond between customer and company, and in the long run, it is not going to make the client content if we compromise on the quality. This does not mean that we need to slow down the hiring process to find the potentiation candidate. Here, speed and quality must travel together for the desired output as there is no trade-off between hiring fast and hiring well.

After all, time is the most valuable thing, and nobody wants to waste theirs. 

Few tips to work quicker and smarter:

Reduce Multitasking

I know some people are good at working their mind on multiple things at the same time, you might not be one of them. It’s ok, lean back and relax, as you need not always be a Jack of all trades.

Multitasking stresses your mind and reduces your focus. Focusing on one task at a time will not only increase your work speed but it will also increase your productivity.

Shut down your gadgets

We are run by gadgets that occupy the maximum space of our minds. To increase productivity, shut down your phone or put it in silence until the work is done. This not only speeds your work but also gives you inner peace.

No calls day

In the new normal, we are forced to adapt to calls for communication. If possible, occasionally, set up a no calls day when you have an important task in hand as calls drain our energy and time.

Schedule meetings for 20 mins instead of 30 mins and 45 min instead of 60 mins. Shorter calls not only save time but also keeps us on track with the agenda. Take a minute to analyse the productive minutes of the call.

Some are important than the others

No matter how fast you are, you cannot have everything done at a time. Setup a roadmap to prioritize your work and to understand the importance of each task. Set up a time for each task, if a task takes only 15 mins, don’t magnify and spend an hour on it, as that won’t increase its importance. Focus on the work that matters.

Take a break

Most of us are working from home, that doesn’t mean we are deprived of breaks. Your mind needs rest to rejuvenate itselfPre-plan your breaks and keep your team informed. Don’t allow others to barge in your break time as it is your own space, so own it, and make it productive by stretching your legs or making a cup of tea.

Give your head a heads-up

Finishing off first comes with a lot of planning in the beginning. Before you kickstart your day, make sure you have everything in place and handy. Having to look for a laptop charger or headphones may affect your continuity in work. It is vital to make sure that everything you need is within your reach.

Getting dirty

We have read about how a fast employee/ person is looked upon as a hero, but at what cost?

There is an invisible line that differentiates being quick and being in hurry. While being quick helps in yielding quick results, being in hurry gets your hands dirty which only you are responsible to clean up. 

Sometimes, we are stuck in situations like a customer delivery of a software component, that requires race against time. What will the customer be happy about, that we delivered on time or delivered with quality on time? So, this is where tradeoff can’t be made. If negotiation needs to happen it can happen on time and scope but not on quality.

In some scenarios, we need to stop racing against the time and start racing against the quality.

What’s the point of being the first in submitting a deliverable when it’s not as per the requirement or up to the expected quality? 

Hurried Sickness or Time Urgency is becoming a common phenomenon amongst working adults. It is about doing things too fast and too many things at a time which reduces effectiveness. This also increases anxiety and stress levels.

Working too fast, hurrying to meet up the deadlines, urge to always be ahead of time even when it’s not necessary, not only increases errors in work but also stresses your mind and body.

People with this syndrome live in the future, as they always imagine the fruits of their work, which puts them in a lot of stress. It is important to maintain a balance between speed and quality.

Common actions observed in people with time urgency are half-reading of mails or messages, half-listening to colleagues, breaking in while others are speaking, constant urgency to reply to messages, emails, or checking the calendar while working on another task etc.

Things that can help to reduce the urgency:

Be the master of your time

Control your time, don’t let the time control you. When you have a grip on your time, you are more relaxed and work effectively. When you lose that control, time becomes your enemy which affects productivity. 

Allot time for each task and if you complete a task ahead of its time, take a minute to relax before jumping into another one. This slowly reduces the anxiety to do everything at the same time.

Do not overdo

It is smart to know your limitations, plan, study, and understand before taking up a job. Do not push all your boundaries at a time but instead focus one at a time.

It is ok to fail

No one can be successful without tasting failure. People with time anxiety are in a constant hurry to own up tasks which adds to their fear of failure.

It is important to understand that while it is required to own up tasks, it is also needed to set up a limit on your to-do list and plan your workday based on those selected works. 

Be more assertive towards others job role

You might have a good intention in wanting to own up all the chores. But for better time management and to build up team rapport, it is also required to delegate work to others in your team. This not only helps in concentrating on your own works but also keeps up the team spirit.

Take a pause and listen

Psychiatrists say that we learn more when we listen more. Do not be in a hurry to answer, allow the other person to complete, and then speak up. One way to hold is to count numbers with fingers until the other party expresses their point of view.

 This helps in avoiding the habit of breaking in which not only makes others uncomfortable but also reduces your ability to interpret the situation. 

Slowly practice reading complete messages, emails, and conversations before responding, as not all tasks need to be done quickly.

We need the beauty of the ‘and’ to replace the tyranny of ‘Or’. 

Hence, it is not speed VS quality, it is speed and quality as they need to walk hand in hand.

Aikya Inuganti
Senior Executive-HR at coMakeIT

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