How to Work More Efficiently
Sometimes, it may seem that everyone around you is worrying about how to be more productive, to do more in less working hours and spend every minute efficiently. However, in some ways, by trying to get many things done at once, you may be hindering your productivity. To learn more about ways to balance and increase productivity, read on.
What is productivity?
The most direct definition of productivity was given by the United States Department of Labor. Productivity can be defined as the most efficient use of labor, resources, land, capital, energy, materials, information while producing different goods or services. In simpler words, productive efficiency can be achieved by any person who changes his approach to work and eventually accomplishes more than expected, while having the same resources, materials, and terms as his colleagues.
How can time management help you work more productively?
They say that working smarter is better than working longer or harder. Work and energy are tightly related. And without enough energy, a person just can’t work effectively for a long time. That is why taking double shifts may not be a smart move if you want to earn more. Instead, to increase productivity at work, you may try learning how to spend your work time more effectively and do more things within the same time frame. This is when time management techniques can be useful.
Time management is the process of planning and organizing how to spend your time between activities and tasks. Most time management experts claim that it is essential to focus on results instead of activities. Being busy doesn’t always mean that you are effective. Dividing your energy and time between several tasks at work without knowing the exact results and terms can be counterproductive.
According to the WebMD experts, everyone can understand their efficiency using the following 3 techniques on a daily basis:
- Write a time diary for one working week. The key point is staying honest. Even if you have spent all your day watching TV, write it down. At the end of the week read your notes. You may be surprised by how much time you actually spend doing nothing, without any results or satisfaction;
- Consider saying “no” more often. You are a just human being and you can’t be in two places at the same time or constantly working. By realizing you have limitations and working within those limitations, you can prevent perfectionist tendencies and increase your general happiness;
- Being a perfectionist can’t increase productivity at work. Doing your work well is essential if you want to achieve a better career. But paying excessive attention to the smallest details can be exhausting, unnecessary, and time-wasting. Setting rational goals for yourself is no less important than multi-tasking or other time management techniques.
What can you do to increase your productivity?
Efficiency and productivity are like inseparable twins; they always go hand in hand. According to many time management gurus, to become an expert in productivity and efficiency, you need to learn how to manage time, workspace, and your own mind:
Manage your time
- Start your work day by knocking out quick responses and memos that have piled up overnight or a weekend;
- Schedule bigger tasks first;
- Delete memos and unimportant notes as soon as you noticed them;
- conversation can be more effective than texting or emailing. Talk to colleagues directly or, at least, use a phone/video chats;
- Start checking your tasks, emails, and doing roundups with assistants during the morning commute;
- During work conferences stay focused only on work tasks and prevent too much banter;
- Schedule and use regular breaks throughout a day. Working without breaks is counterproductive. If necessary, take a 20-minute nap after lunch to boost your energy.
Manage your workspace
- When it makes sense, try working offsite. Sometimes, working at home can be more productive than in a busy cubicle workspace, especially when your tasks don’t depend on the work of your co-workers;
- Schedule beforehand all the places you need to visit during a day. Consider fulfilling some tasks during the travels between these locations.
Manage your mind
- Big tasks can be defined into small sub-tasks. This approach may reduce overload and procrastination commonly associated with the feeling of overwhelm that comes with complicated big projects;
- To reduce the risk of doing repetitive tasks, use checklists. They may help if you tend to forget important details. Some of the best productivity apps for iPhone and Android like Any.do, MyScript Nebo, Trello may be helpful.
6 simple ways to increase productivity
Recently, Business Insider posted an interesting article with several expert tips explaining how to increase productivity at the workplace. These tips can be useful if you want to be efficient without the loss of energy or productivity:
Act like a boss
Sometimes an efficient collaboration with co-workers is the only way to be productive with your individual tasks. Consider talking to colleagues and explaining to them why teamwork can be beneficial for everyone. Before starting a new project, ask your colleagues if they understand all tasks, deadlines and have all the necessary resources for fulfilling the current tasks as soon as possible. You can use one of the online time management systems like Trello. It allows co-workers check on each other’s tasks, catch the changes and see new memos as soon as they are posted.
Avoid distractions at work
While you are at work, forget about social media. Even the small breaks to check the Twitter or Facebook updates may end up taking up your time and concentration. If necessary, turn off your devices to remain focused. Check personal gadgets only during pre-scheduled breaks.
Get enough sleep
A healthy sleep routine can be crucial for the office “busy bees” who work 12 hours or more every day. Tiredness may decrease your creativity and productivity. Giving your brain quality rest every night is not a waste of time but a necessity. 8 hours of night sleep can do miracles for your productivity in the workplace.
Eat smart to work smart
Your brain needs a lot of different nutrients and vitamins to function in the most efficient way. For example, chia seeds and raw almonds are considered the best brain boosters because of their high content of essential fatty acids. Green tea may also deliver the necessary safe amount of caffeine that may boost your energy.
Clarity of thoughts
Meditation can reboot your mind and train your brain to stay concentrated even under the pressure of multiple tasks.
Dream and achieve your dreams
If necessary, listen to motivational speeches in the morning or while driving. This can help to remind you why you need to stay focused at work, and help you to accomplish your life goals and dreams.
Being productive at work can turn out to be easier than you think. You may start from making small productivity-aimed changes in your work routine that will give bigger results in future.