If you want to succeed in the workplace, efficiency is key. Efficiency refers to how quickly you get through your work, but it references quality as well. Speed is important, but if you rush through work too quickly, you’re more likely to produce low quality work.
Being an effective worker is a simple concept, but there are many hurdles you must overcome to achieve this goal. To be more efficient in the workplace, you need to work smarter, not harder.
Working harder involves working more hours to complete a project. Working smarter involves identifying inefficiencies in how you do your work and replacing them with time saving methods and processes. By finding ways to be more efficient in the workplace, you can be more productive with less effort. Successfully integrate changes, add efficiency techniques or build up to larger changes until you have successfully optimized your workplace productivity.
1. Do the Hardest Tasks When You Are at Your Best
Do not wait until your alertness wavers before tackling the toughest tasks on your list. To increase your efficiency in the workplace, tackle the most important tasks on your agenda when you have the most energy. Everyone has different schedules, so take the time to identify when you are most energized. If it takes you a few hours to get energized in the morning, do not be afraid to work on a small task first as this can help you gain the momentum you need to tackle larger projects. It may seem like this is inefficient, but you are not going to make any significant progress on your hardest tasks if you are unable to properly focus on them.
2. Schedule in Admin Time
Everyone has administrative tasks like answering emails, returning phone calls and updating your schedule, but not everyone blocks out time in their day for attending to these routine duties. As such, workers take time away from other tasks to attend to necessary administrative tasks haphazardly. It is more efficient to schedule administrative time into your daily schedule to ensure you are devoting enough time to completing these tasks. Get work done during this scheduled time, and, if new administrative duties crop up throughout the day, set them aside to complete during your next block of scheduled admin time.
3. Allow Yourself Breaks
Breaks serve invaluable purposes in the workday. Breaks may seem inefficient at first, but they serve an important role in your overall productivity. Without breaks, your abilities to perform your work efficiently could wane as the day progress. You need to take breaks from work to clear and refresh your mind and rejuvenate your body. Try taking a five to 15-minute break every hour to 90 minutes. If you are seated, get up during your break and step away from your desk or work station. Take a walk, grab a snack or otherwise do something different from what you were doing. When you return to your work, you are much more likely to perform your tasks more efficiently than if you had avoided a break and tried to plow right through everything you had on your to-do list.
4. One Task at a Time
The myth of multitasking states it is more efficient to perform several tasks at once as opposed to focusing on an individual task, but this is not the case. You are more efficient at performing any given task when you can give your full attention to a single task. Multitasking, by nature, divides your attention among multiple tasks. By giving anything less than your full attention to each task, you perform each one less efficiently. Even performing multiple tasks inefficiently at once is still performing them inefficiently. Instead, just take each task in turn. Not only do you complete each task with greater efficiency this way, but you likely get through all your tasks at a quicker pace than if you tried to multitask.
You may have a boss or supervisor requiring certain objectives from you. Achieving those objectives often involve a process made up of numerous steps and procedures. You need to hold yourself accountable to completing each one of these tasks. If you feel overwhelmed with the responsibilities, seek out help from your coworkers. Conduct a regular check-in with a coworker to keep each motivated and focused on your respective tasks at hand. Set up alarms and reminders on your computer or phone to keep you on course. By keeping yourself accountable to another person or other outside source, you can often stay more motivated to complete your responsibilities in a timely manner.
Even if you are not the boss or supervisor of a team at work, you may be able to delegate some of your work to other people more suited or appropriate for the task. You may fear imposing your needs onto a fellow worker, threatening the worker’s own efficiency. Your coworker may be the right person to take on the part of the job you are struggling with. Remember, everyone at work shares the same goal. Even if you are not assigned to the same project, you are still part of a team. Many coworkers are eager to help one another, if able. Make sure to return the favor in kind if your coworkers ever need assistance with their tasks and do not try and steal credit for it. If your boss praises part of the project your coworker helped with, let him or her know you were not working alone.
7. Go Easy on Yourself
It is difficult to be efficient if you are too hard on yourself. Making a mistake threatens efficiency, but if you focus too much on the mistake, you risk losing even more time. Even the most efficient workers make mistakes, and nobody at work expects you to be perfect. Do not be afraid to take a step back to clear your mind so you can focus on overcoming your mistake.
Related Article: Learn 5 Best Habits From the Most Successful Business Leaders