Elephants At Work

by Alfred Wong

More often than not, especially when we are still adapting to a new workplace, we have yet to find our pace of how much we are capable of covering. In the end, we tend to try doing everything but end up achieving nothing, much to the disappointment of others.

This happens most often with big, complex tasks which we call ‘elephants’ – large, messy problems that take up huge amounts of space in our everyday work.

In his book “Green Beret Time Management Secrets”, Michael Martel explores why we should know how much we can bite, but more importantly, how we can chew and swallow these elephants.

  • Elephants stink
    When you don’t finish eating an elephant on time, the awful smell starts to fill up the office. Similarly in team projects, if you can’t fulfill your quota on time even when you assured your colleagues you would, it will annoy them and hinder the progress of the team. To resolve this, be honest about your own capabilities when tackling huge projects or tasks. It’s okay to say no to a huge elephant if it avoids trouble for the team later down the line.
  • Elephants can get tiring and bland
    Even if it is the most delicious dish, eating an elephant every day can lose its appeal. The same applies to repetitive work as they become more tedious and boring the more you repeat them. Be aware of these ‘hidden elephants’ formed from many repeated tasks into a huge, endless wave of work. If not intervened early, a string of repetitive work can cause you to lose interest and motivation, and become less productive. 
  • Elephants are great for dinner parties
    When faced with elephant problems, divide and conquer. Cut the large elephant into smaller parts, pass it around, and finish the elephant with some help. Employees often get stuck at huge, complex tasks not just because they don’t know where to start but also because they insist on taking on the elephant by themselves. Smart, proactive workers know when it’s essential to defer their judgements, and delegate tasks to others to lighten the load. The resulting work becomes faster, easier, and of a higher quality. 

Positive X is a people development firm that equips talents with design, innovation, and entrepreneurial thinking and skills. You can know more about is at http://www.positivex.asia.

This article was written by Alfred Wong, our resident 2018 Intern for Positive X.

Want to know more about internship opportunities at Positive X? Send us your resume now at info@positivex.asia to find out more!

Edited by Ben Chong.


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