Many people begin a new year by vowing to change something in their personal or professional life for the better. Some people vow to work smarter, while others vow to work fewer hours. Why not combine the two and vow to work more efficiently? Improving your efficiency is a smarter way to work and it will cut down on how much time you are spending on each specific task.
Here are some ways to help improve your efficiency in 2015:
Start Your Day Earlier
Try getting into the office an hour earlier. You will likely find an empty workplace with no distractions. This will give you a chance to get ahead of your day and scratch a few things off that “to do” list.
Focus Your Energy
Stop overestimating what you can reasonably achieve each day. Prioritize your tasks. Pick three or four things with highest priority from the list and focus all of your energy on completing those items before the end of the day.
Give Yourself A Break
Literally! When focusing all of your attention on a few tasks, it is very important to take an occasional break and reset. Give your mind a rest and take a short walk. Go to the break room and get a snack. Work on a daily task that, while necessary, does not require a lot of concentration.
Execute Your Plan
Planning is important, but sometimes you can spend your entire day just planning and never complete any of your planned tasks. Decide how long you will spend planning and then get started working the plan.
A well-organized work space will make for a more efficient use of your time during the day. Before you leave in the afternoon, pull together the files and papers you will need for tomorrow morning. This saves time and limits the frustration of having to look for the things you need.
Do not put anything on your task list that might distract you from getting your work done. Create a separate list if necessary, of things you need to take care of this evening or over the weekend. This will keep your mind focused on today’s work-related activities.
No Unnecessary Meetings
We often get invited to meetings that have nothing to do with us or with our work. When someone invites you to a meeting and you are not sure why you need to be there, ask why. Send the organizer an email asking why you need to be involved and what they would like you to contribute.
Single Tasking Works Better
Being able to successfully multi-task may be everyone’s desire, but few people can actually do it well. If you are not a great multi-tasker, you will end up doing several tasks about halfway and complete none of them. Single tasking allows you to focus on one thing until it is complete and then continue on to the next item - one at a time.
List out long-term goals individually and post them on your bulletin board or cubical wall. This will keep them in focus and keep them off your daily list of priorities. Instead, add sub-tasks related to the long-term goals to your daily list. That way, something is accomplished toward these goals every day, but they do not get your full focus.
Re-Charge Your Batteries
Your mind and body can only take so much concentration without taking a break and refueling. Be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Avoid drinks loaded with caffeine. If you are feeling drowsy, go outside for a few moments, then have something ice cold to drink. Do not skip lunch! This all-important break in the middle of the workday gives you fuel to finish out the day and a chance to get away and decompress.