What Black Friday Can Teach Us About Working Smarter
Posted in: Business, Lifestyle
Black Friday: The only day it’s okay to trample strangers to score an unbelievable deal, mere hours after giving thanks for what we already have.
But wait — can there be more to this bargain shopper’s dream of a “holiday” than BOGO deals and camping out in front of Best Buy in 30-degree weather? Like it or not, Black Friday is a staggeringly successful economic endeavor, earning businesses a record-setting $59.1 billion in a single day’s revenue in 2012. Someone’s doing something right.
The seasoned veteran shoppers rarely go in to the big event without a game plan. They know all the tricks to scoring the best deals — and how to make it out of Target without any broken bones. It got us thinking: Is the key to surviving and conquering Black Friday found in the adage, “Work smarter, not harder”?
Tap into some of these smart holiday shopping tricks and, while you’re at it, bring the skills you’ve mastered with you into the office on Monday to truly impress at work. Here are our favorite ways to streamline your work ethic with a Black Friday mindset:
Complete the most important tasks first
You’re not distracted by the attention-grabbing displays, trying to tempt you away from your mission with promises of the store’s best deal ever on tube socks. You know what score you’re after and what deals you just can’t pass up. Head straight for priority number one with those blinders on and you’ll win big every time.
How to apply this at work: Help make each day a success by taking time first thing in the morning to identify which two or three tasks are most crucial for you to complete. Once you’ve finished the important stuff, you can move onto other things with a successful work day already behind you.
Learn to say no
“Hey, psst, over here! Men’s soccer cleats are 75 percent off!” the artfully-stacked display whispers. It’s just calling out to the bargain shopper in you. At such a great deal, how could you turn it down? Uh, maybe because you didn’t give men’s soccer cleats a second thought until those advertisers’ tricks started working their magic on you? You’re not tempted by a good deal just for a good deal’s sake. Sure, the deal makes it look like the steal of a lifetime, but in the end, its irrelevant to your mission for the day. Stay on task and let all that background noise just stay in the background.
How to apply this at work: It’s equally as important to say no to tempting opportunities at the office, as well. You may think that taking on a lot of projects will help you learn how to better manage your time and multi-task. But this can go too far sometimes. Learn to just say no to opportunities that are not urgent so that you have time to devote to the truly important projects.
Create organizing systems
Wait, did you already grab those curtains you saw advertised and just had to have? Or are they buried at the bottom of your cart underneath the half-off vacuum cleaner and BOGO women’s sweaters? With a chance for super savings jumping out every 10 feet, that shopping cart’s going to fill up quickly. You won’t waste time retracing your steps or running back from the cash register to grab just one more thing if you keep your cart in order. The more organized you keep your space, and the more you can see at a glance, the less time you waste worrying if you forgot any of your must-buy items.
How to apply this at work: Being organized in the workplace can also help you to save tons of time and headaches. Simply create a desktop filing system for documents that you need to access quickly, and make sure all other important items have a set place they should be stored when not in-use. You’ll be amazed at how much more efficient you work when you’ve got a clean space.
Batch related tasks together
Like any good bargain shopper, you know the floor plan of your neighborhood Target like the back of your hand. Considering that the place covers a rough area of 10 or 12 acres, zigzagging from one end to the other and back again is a good way to tire out — not to mention, get distracted by all the shiny things. You’ve got your handy list written out and organized by zone, starting at one end of the store and working in a cohesive path to the other, hitting every department you’re looking for along the way. Efficiency starts in the Bedding section and follows a clear and careful path all the way to Grocery.
How to apply this at work: In the work world, it’s also important to put all of your related tasks together and to complete them consecutively. This is because different tasks demand different types of thinking, so you should allow your mind to “go with the flow” in the current mindset it’s already in.
Get an early start
The 4 a.m. wakeup call to make it to the front of the line for bonus doorbuster savings may not be your idea of a great time, but sometimes, scoring big means sacrificing for the greater mission. Getting a head start on the crowds and getting in at the front of the line means you can have your pick of the products, plus, you’ll get to the displays before they’re completely ransacked. Hopefully you’ll get out the door a little quicker too — giving you more time to race to the next store and finish your shopping in time for breakfast. You know you’re strongest when you start early and capitalize on that optimistic energy.
How to apply this at work: You know what sounds like even less fun than getting in line to shop early? Getting in your car to go to work super early. But take it from us, it is much nicer (and way less stressful) to get an early start on the projects that you are working on. It gives you more time to think through your ideas, test out the problem areas, and even give yourself breaks in between.
Do something during wait time
There’s just no way around it: Black Friday shopping means long lines, whether you’re waiting to get in the store or shuffling at a snail’s pace through the check-out line behind a hundred other shoppers. But rather than just standing there tapping your foot watching the minutes tick away, you’re on top of your multi-tasking game. You use this “quiet time” to double check your shopping lists, compare sale fliers, consult your budget and make a plan for the next store. Rather than wasting precious time, you know how to make the most of all the time you’re given on Black Friday.
How to apply this at work: Similarly, when you are at work, you may find yourself waiting around for meetings to start, waiting on a co-worker before you can jump into a new project or even waiting for approval before you can get started on your own tasks. But don’t let these idle moments tick by without being productive. Keeping yourself busy during the slow moments at work will help you get ahead and keep momentum throughout the day.
Last but not least…
Eliminate the nonessential
Stay away from the Dollar Spot at Target, trust me. You’ll regret it (and so will your wallet) later.
How to apply this at work: It’s tempting to have you hands in multiple projects at once when you’re working. After all, you want to feel like you are contributing and making a team effort. However, sometimes you have to step away from the nonessential projects and work on one simple project at a time. You may even find that simple can be harder than complex most of the time, as creating one simple thing means that you have to eliminate all of the excess and the clutter. Therefore, creating a better project in the end.
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving weekend, from all of us at Hello Innovation!
Have a Black Friday tip that can apply to the work world?! Let us know in the comments below!