The Secret to Getting More Great Work Done

May 7, 2015

secret to doing great work

How can you find the time to accomplish all of your important tasks? Author and coaching thought leader Michael Bungay Stanier sat down with AMA to talk about doing more Great Work. Find out one of the secrets to getting more Great Work done.

AMA: Doing more Great Work requires “time,” which is something that a person doesn’t have if they’re overloaded with work. So how can we make time to accomplish more Great Work?

MBS: It’s a really great question because I don’t think these days anybody is getting to Friday at 2 PM and playing games on their computer for three hours until they can go home.  We’re all over-connected, over-stretched, over-committed and over-worked.  So I think you’ve got to start figuring out what requests you want to say Yes to and what you want to say No to. Even better, combine them: what you want to say No to so you can say a strong Yes to something else.  You’ve got to start thinking about, what can I make into a project, and what project will I give my full attention to?

Here’s a tactic and a tip that might be useful for people, and it is about the standard at which you deliver your work. A lot of us have this sort of belief that everything we have to do needs to be excellent, and you know what?  That is killing you because (a) it is impossible, and (b) it leaves you overextended and trying to be excellent at everything, which means in reality you are excellent in almost nothing.

So here is my tip on this–and I don’t pretend for a moment this is easy–but it’s a powerful insight. There are some things in your job that you want to blow people’s minds with. You want to overwhelm them with your brilliance. You want them to go, “That was fantastic.” That’s Great Work. And then the majority of the work you do, the standard at which you want to deliver it, is adequate.

Now, here’s the thing when I say adequate.  Everybody goes, “That sounds an awful lot like inadequate, which means it isn’t going to be good enough.” But the definition of adequate means “good enough.” The truth is, for your Good Work and definitely for your Bad Work, on a lot of it you are over-delivering the standard that is required.

I know this is a big shift in terms of actually saying, “I need to stop working so hard and polishing some of the stuff.” However, the price you pay for over-delivering on your Good Work means that you don’t have the time and the energy and the focus and the resources to truly focus and deliver on your Great Work.  Embrace adequate as an appropriate standard for some of the work that you do.

Learn more from Michael Bungay Stanier with this free webcast.

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About The Author

Michael Bungay Stanier is the Senior Partner of Box of Crayons, a company that gives busy managers the tools to coach in 10 minutes or less. He's the author of five books, the most recent of which is The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever. Dan Pink calls it "simple yet profound". Brené Brown says "practical and inspiring."

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