In Matthew 5, Jesus encourages his followers to go the extra mile. It’s one of the foundations of the phrase “going the extra mile,” even if religion isn’t one of your strongest priorities. The concept is simple: over-deliver on what you can do, especially when it isn’t demanded of you, and you’ll establish for yourself an impeccable reputation.
The unfortunate fact of life is that people are way too busy to go the extra mile for everyone they encounter on a daily basis. The need to over-deliver, however, must also be there! Is it possible to go the extra mile without costing yourself more time to do so?
Step 1: Get Organized
The biggest time waster of them all is being unorganized when working on a task. When you’ve got everything put into place, where it needs to go, then you can accomplish anything in nearly half the time! That includes your plans and your thoughts about a task that needs to be done. Instead of jumping in feet first, study the project for a moment and plan out the best way to achieve everything, including what you could potentially over-deliver on.
Step 2: Integrate the 80/20 Rule
It’s often said that 80% of the work gets done by 20% of the people. This rule, called the Pareto Principle, can also apply to the work that you’ve got to get done at any given moment. Find the 20% of the work that will yield you 80% of the results you need and you’re guaranteed to have more time to go the extra mile.
Step 3: Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
It’s simple – the more hands that are working on a project, the quicker it is going to get done. Trust your co-workers, team members, or direct reports to help you and together, as a team, you’ll be able to go the extra mile and still probably have time to spare! It’s hard to let go of tasks, however, because we feel a responsibility to them. The question to ask yourself is this: is it more important to take credit for everything or is it more important to over-deliver on the task at hand?
Step 4: Don’t Force It Out
Your mind can only take so much. Your body can only take so much. Sometimes you’ve just got to step away from the job, take a break for awhile, and let your mind reset itself. You could take a walk, do something that relaxes you, or just sit outside on a warm day and let the sun hit your face as you wiggle your toes in the grass. Rediscover who you are and you’ll rediscover how to go the extra mile on the task at hand.
Step 5: Eliminate the Distractions Around You
There are so many distractions today that it can be nearly impossible to pay attention to everything going on and deliver a task on time, much less over-deliver on it! If you need to get work done, then the e-mail, the social networking, the phone calls, the SMS texts – they’ve all got to stop. Anything that takes your mind off of the task at-hand is something that you need to eliminate from your life until you’re done working. Period.
Going the extra mile can sometimes be difficult, but the effort will always pay off with long-term results. Use these tips to go the extra mile without exerting more effort than you need to exert and you’ll have people raving about your productivity in no time at all!