This article identifies 15 tips to assist managers in their efforts to be efficient and effective on the job.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Careers, business studies, entrepreneurship

Key Questions to Explore:

  • How can I work smarter not harder?
  • What can I do to be more effective and efficient?

New Terminology:

Instant gratification

Materials Needed:

Copies of the article for the students

Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

When individuals assume a new role or leadership position they often strive to perform at a highly effective and efficient manner to prove that they were the right choice for the job. Frequently, however, they equate that desire with the need to work harder rather than smarter. This can lead to eventual frustration and burnout if they do not take the time to reflect on what they are doing and look for ways to maintain an effectively high performance while keeping a healthy work-life balance.  By reflecting upon what they are doing and employing some productivity strategies they can often improve on their productivity while reducing the demands they are placing on themselves. This, in turn, often results in a greater sense of accomplishment and well-being. This lesson will use the article to have the students reflect upon some of the things they do to be effective and consider other tips that would be of use to them as well.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  • Begin the lesson by asking the students if they have observed people who were ineffective in doing their job.
  • Have them identify some of things that they observed that would cause them to think that way about the person.
  • Ask them now to think of someone they consider very effective in doing their job and have them identify things that make them feel this way about the person.
  • With this as background, have the students, without consulting anyone else, write down three things that they personally do to make themselves effective when completing a task or responsibility.
  • Allow them time to write down their response and then pair them up with another classmate and have them exchange their lists and ideas.
  • Once this has been done, provide the students with a copy of the article and allow them time to read it.
  • Once they have read the article, have the pairs discuss the 15 tips and decide on the three that they consider to be the most effective. They should be prepared to justify their selection with the rest of the class.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Have each pair explain to the class what they identified as their personal three practices and then explain what three strategies they selected from the list as the most effective, stating the reasons for their choices.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

The students will:

  • realize that working harder does not result in being more effective and efficient
  • understand that working smarter, by employing various strategies and practices, will result in greater effectiveness and sense of satisfaction
  • be able to identify some strategies and practices that will help people be more effective and maintain a better work-life balance.

Confirming Activity:

  • Have the students complete a short reflective writing piece in which they explain what they have learned from reading the article and discussing the ideas with their classmates.