How to be More Efficient at Work
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 in order 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 10 strategies that you can implement today to be more efficient at work.
#1. Get comfortable
This is something very simple, yet overlooked when it comes to office work efficiency. How are you supposed to do your best work if you are not comfortable at your workstation?
Take a look around and note the things that cause you some kind of distress and eliminate as much as you can.
This applies to how you are dressed as well. Sure, you look great in those shoes but you spend most of the day on your desk and they make your feet hurt. Such factors can slowly drain your mental energy for the day.
#2. 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 an 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 just how much time you can save in a week, a month, or a year just by having a well-organized workstation.
#3. Minimize distractions
We would argue that the smartphone is probably not the biggest source of distractions in the workplace anymore. Think about it, your company probably already has a policy regarding this 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 have to find a way to tune those out to focus on your work.
#4. Prioritize the most important tasks
This is the key difference between being efficient and being effective.
Efficiency is about how you do it while effectiveness is about what you do. And the middle ground is where productivity happens.
Therefore, always give priority to the most important tasks in your to-do list. Don’t fall in the trap of just crossing items off the list. This will only make you anxious because you know very well that you are not handling what is important.
#5. Turn “deep work” into a habit
If you are a chronic procrastinator, then you should know what “deep work” means by instinct even if this is your first encounter of the term. These are the tasks that you dread every time you have work to do. These are the tasks that require time and focus and there is just 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 a habit of yours. Just schedule it into your workday, make sure you can be only contacted in emergencies, and focus. Give deep work a couple of honest hours every day and manage it gradually.
#6. 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 huge 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 even begin with. So you can break that down into a few actionable steps like setting priorities, reviewing the available funds, minimizing costs and so on.
#7. Embrace automation
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, take a 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 in order to quickly tackle them.
#8. 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?
The volume of work that needs to be done this week is too much? What can you delegate to somebody else?
You might be used to handling everything by yourself but you are only human and the people around you know this.
#9. 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 ahead. In the process, you will find how to approach your work and get things done.
#10. 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 at the same time?
Basically, 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 you work out or travel to the office. It’s all about finding tasks that can fit together.
Key takeaways to improve your work efficiency:
- Be comfortable at your workstation, mind how you feel.
- Optimize your workstation to quickly access your tools and resources.
- Find ways to eliminate the most common distractions of your workday.
- Handle the most important tasks first to reduce your anxiety and chances of procrastination.
- Strive to turn “deep work” into a habit of yours that you practice every day.
- Break the huge tasks into convenient to-do lists to make them seem less scary.
- Find ways to automate repetitive tasks in order to save time.
- Have contingency plans for when disaster strikes.
- Don’t rely on motivation, focus on planning and research to get ahead of everyone else.
- Figure out what kind of things you can multitask effectively.