Working efficiently

Working efficiently - 11 ways to become more productive

Being productive at work is not about working harder, it’s about working smarter. It’s about careful preparation, smart use of your resources and the effective streamlining of tasks. But before even any of this, it’s about your attitude. This is how you start working efficiently.

Working efficiently -
Read time: 2½ minutes | Author: Alex Shteingardt - Managing Director Hays Russia

Working efficiently - but how?

Are you ready and willing to do what it takes to become more productive and successful?

Here are 11 ways to help you get there:

1. Plan ahead

Such a large part of being productive comes down to being organised. Plan tasks for specific times of the day based on their difficulty. I often tackle my most challenging task of the day first. The sense of achievement I get from doing so helps to sustain my energy and productivity for the remainder of the day.

Similarly, schedule your routine tasks – those which you can do with your eyes closed – around low energy periods. I spend my low energy periods, which normally occur at around 4-4.30pm, signing papers or reading market analytics; most people experience a mid-afternoon lull at around 3pm.

I would recommend also always creating agendas for meetings, conferences and calls. This saves you and whoever else is in the meeting from veering off-piste.

2. Put pressure on yourself

A really great way to make sure you don’t slack on your schedule is to let your team members know when you plan on completing a certain task. Now it won’t just be yourself you’re letting down if you miss the deadline

3. Look after yourself

Working to your maximum capacity for excessive periods will quickly lead to mental fatigue and exhaustion. The mind is a muscle also, and as such requires intermittent periods of rest throughout the day. If possible, try and work in 90 minute blocks with 10-15 minutes of downtime in between – helping to sustain your productivity for a longer period.

4. Be punctual

When we are busy, there is a great temptation to skip lunch or work extra hours. It’s important that you think about the bigger picture. If you leave in good time today then you’ll feel fresher and more capable tomorrow. Being productive is about making the most of the time available to you, not working for as many hours as possible without any sort of urgency.

5. Optimise your workspace

Your workspace has a significant impact on your overall mood and, consequently, how well you’re able to perform. We spend so much of our week at our desk that it’s foolish not to make an effort to create a warm and pleasant atmosphere for yourself during this time. Here’s a very comprehensive list of workplace tips.

6. Delegate

Don’t shirk responsibility for tasks, but don’t overburden yourself either. Focus on the most important tasks to you, and defer everything else to your most competent team members; thus letting you get more done in less time.

Teach your people how to hold the rod properly instead of fishing for them all the time. By spending time helping them grow in the short-term you can reap the long-term rewards of their added value and expertise and start working efficiently.

7. Prioritise

Work on one task at a time, starting a new one only once the previous one has been completed. Therefor, you have to know when, and how to say no to colleagues, and even your boss.

8. Collaborate

Sometimes you can get so caught up in a project that you can’t see the wood for the trees. Seeking the feedback of others can help you to gain a clearer perspective on the task, both helping you to complete it in quicker time and, from soliciting their feedback, to make the task as successful as possible.

9. Change your thought process

Reinforce positive thoughts and discard of the negative. Instead of thinking “I’ve got so much work on, how am I ever going to manage?” put together a manageable plan of action, tackling each task in order of priority. A systematic approach such as this will help you to rationally assess the urgency and relevancy of each project.

10. Get things right the first time

Getting things right the first time can be helped by remaining cool and keeping your focus. If you’re struggling with your workload and think that blitzing through each task might be the solution then think again. Your colleague, client or boss is unlikely to be happy with work that’s been done without your full attention and effort.

11. Just do it!

Last but not least, just do it. The previous ten points are of no use unless you’re determined to put in the extra effort required to maximise your productivity.

You’ll often find that once you’re in the groove and are busy getting on that it’s easier to keep working than it is to stop. “Immediate action fuels a positive feedback loop that drives even more action,” says author and leadership expert Robin Sharma.

The need to succeed

There are many different ways you can increase your productivity, but in order to benefit fully from them you need to be truly committed to the cause; a desire to succeed is essential to maximise your output.

If you’re someone who is used to cutting corners and doing the minimum required then all of the above might be difficult at first. That’s OK, change can be uncomfortable but reward is never too far round the corner. Stick with it and you’ll soon create a profitable cycle of working efficiently and success to drive your career forward.

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