The smartest workers often aren’t the hardest workers. While some people seem to never leave the office and always complain about their work load; others seem to effortlessly nail the ‘work/life balance’, meet their deadlines and have still have time to help others.
The latter are undoubtedly the ‘smart workers’: people who have harnessed what it means to be efficient and put it into action on a daily basis.
When you overcome inefficiency, you’re not only more productive – you’re also a better team member, enjoy work more and have more spare time to do the things you love.
Here are four things you can start doing today to become a more efficient, you!
Write a to-do list and then prioritise
We’ve all been there – we’re working on one project when another task pops into our head and we move onto that before we forget it. When everything is in your head it can cause a lot of unnecessary stress and, you guessed it, inefficiency.
Having a visual to-do list is a great way of becoming more efficient with your time. At the beginning of every week try listing everything you need achieve. Then prioritise your tasksto determine what is urgent and what can wait until tomorrow or later in the week. Then every morning, spend five minutes reviewing your weekly goals and writing down your tasks for the day ahead.
Sometimes you have to realise there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Instead of burning yourself out and over-committing, identify early whether there are any tasks you can delegate.
Delegation is a skill which so many people struggle with. Yet, the smart workers among us know that once you learn the skill of delegating you will become more efficient in every area of your life.
So, take a look at your to-do list. What must be completed by you? And what could someone else easily take off your plate. There may even be an opportunity for someone in your team to step-up and learn something new. The key is to make sure you have enough time to brief-in the project and to review it once it’s completed.
Focus on one task at a time
Nothing kills efficiency like jumping from one project to another. In fact, the idea that multi-tasking helps productivity has been proven to be a myth.
Once you have your list for the day and you’ve delegated any tasks as appropriate, it’s time to put your head down and get some work done.
Set yourself blocks of time to focus on a task and don’t move onto something else until you’ve finished. Methods such as the Pomodoro techniquecan be a really effective way of helping keep your focus.
Turn off distractions
You’re ten minutes into a new project when your phone beeps with a new message or an email notification pops up on your computer. Sound familiar?
This interruption instantly affects your train of thought and your efficiency level will decline. In fact, constant connection to emails and messages is proven to decrease our IQ!
To be more efficient you need to minimise distractions. Try turning your phone off or setting it to ‘do not disturb’ while you’re working. Also, turn off email notifications so you aren’t side-tracked as they arrive. Then, dedicate set times throughout the day where you read and respond.