Your goal is to be more productive in your day-to-day work. But the question we pose is how to be more efficient at work. In other words, how to work smartly to get more things within your typical workday.
Efficiency is about fine-tuning your lifestyle and approach to work to be more productive. Being efficient is about working in the right way to conserve your energy and to be able to devote your attention to what is important.
Here are ten strategies you can implement today to be more efficient at work.
This is something very simple, yet overlooked, regarding office work efficiency. How are you supposed to do your best work if you are uncomfortable at your workstation?
Look around, note the things that cause you distress, and eliminate as much as possible.
This applies to how you are dressed as well. You look great in those shoes, but you spend most of the day on your desk, and they hurt your feet. Such factors can slowly drain your mental energy for the day.
Manage Your Workstation
So, what are the things and resources of information that you need right there in front of you to have a productive stint?
Make sure you have those within arm’s reach or have them bookmarked. Optimize your web browser, optimize your desk, and have everything organized carefully so you can easily access whatever you need with the speed of thought.
Think about how much time you can save in a week, a month, or a year just by having a well-organized workstation.
We would argue that the smartphone is probably not the biggest source of distractions in the workplace anymore. Your company probably already has a policy, and only emergency calls are allowed.
This said, what is the next culprit in line?
Probably the what is now known as the “overly connected workspace” syndrome. You know, department email groups, group chats, cloud-based collaboration tools. In other words, you must find a way to tune those out to focus on your work.
Prioritize the Most Important Tasks
This is the crucial difference between being efficient and being effective.
Efficiency is about how you do it, while effectiveness is what you do. And the middle ground is where productivity happens.
Therefore, always prioritize the most important tasks on your to-do list. Don’t fall into the trap of just crossing items off the list. This will only make you anxious because you know you are not handling what is important.
Turn “Deep Work” Into a Habit
If you are a chronic procrastinator, you should know what “deep work” means by instinct, even if this is your first encounter. You dread these tasks every time you have work to do. These tasks require time and focus, and there is no way around them.
And the more you prolong them, the worse your anxiety gets.
That is why you need to turn deep work into your habit. Just schedule it into your workday, ensure you can only be contacted in emergencies, and focus. Give deep work a couple of honest hours daily and manage it gradually.
Break Huge Scary Tasks Into Small To-Do Lists
One of the best ways to put yourself into deep work mode is to break the vast, important tasks into smaller bits.
For example, “plan next month’s budget” might seem like one of those things you have no idea where to begin. So you can break that down into a few actionable steps like setting priorities, reviewing the available funds, minimizing costs, and so on.
There’s a lot you can do with technology on your side. Carefully review your work process and see what can be automated through online tools or software.
For example, look at web-based services such as IFTTT and Zapier. On the other hand, surely you can find faster ways to handle small repetitive tasks that don’t require too much attention. Also, you can create checklists for standard procedures to tackle them quickly.
Plan For Disaster
Highly productive people realize that things don’t always go according to plan. That is why you need to have contingency plans.
The Internet connection is lost? What tasks can be handled offline?
Is the volume of work that needs to be done this week too much? What can you delegate to somebody else?
You might be used to handling everything alone, but you are only human, and the people around you know this.
Don’t Wait for Motivation
You need to realize something: motivation is nothing without hard work. And those who promise you results without hard work are liars.
Motivation is one of those things that can be offered to people, but it must also come from the inside. So don’t wait for it. Instead, focus on preparation and research. Read, think, and plan. You will find how to approach your work and get things done in the process.
Learn to Multitask Properly
Multitasking doesn’t work because people tend to handle two or more tasks that require the same kind of attention. How are you supposed to answer emails and research actionable strategies simultaneously?
Your ability to process language is divided between two or more things. This is a recipe for failure, and most research confirms this. However, you can easily listen to podcasts while working or traveling to the office. It’s all about finding tasks that can fit together.
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