There is a pervasive opinion that to succeed, you must work hard all the time. However, there are plenty of ideas to improve productivity that are actually based on working less, rather than more. If you are wondering how to improve work efficiency, the answer is simple. It’s all about working smarter. Let’s take a look at some ideas to improve productivity that really works.
Organize within an inch of your life
If there’s one commodity everyone wants more of, it’s time. Do you ever sit down to work, and find that time just flies by, and you’ve just barely managed to scratch the surface of the work you need to do? If you’ve been there before, don’t worry. It happens to most people. In fact, for the majority of us, when we talk about how to improve work efficiency, we actually need to learn how to manage time effectively. Organization is the key to optimal time management. Planning might seem like another activity that demands time, which is the one thing you don’t have. However, if you make an effort to properly break down your project, it will save you time in the long run. Create a detailed list of tasks, and sort them by priority and deadline. Does your project have a clearly defined workflow? If not, it should. A well-designed workflow with clear roles can cut down time requirements significantly.
Work in blocks
A typical work day is usually a jumble of tasks, emails, procrastination, phone calls, and coffee breaks. Unsurprisingly, this results in lots of lost time and lower performance levels. In short, even though you sometimes even work overtime, the results don’t match the working hours. Instead, try to create clearly defined blocks of time for certain tasks. Make sure that during these periods you have no distractions. Don’t check your email or phone, don’t check your social media and don’t go on a break until you’ve finished. Using a time tracker to measure how much time you need for a task both with and without distractions might provide some eye-opening insight and really teach you how to manage time effectively.
Forget about perfection
Plenty of people waste an incredible amount of time on trying to achieve perfection. In fact, sometimes they get so stuck on relatively unimportant details, that the entire project fails. Deadlines come and go without being met, clients give up, and companies lose money. The truth is, for a healthy start, you should first aim to deliver the bare minimum that will satisfy the client. Once you have that, if there’s still time left, you can go back and tweak to your heart’s desire. Let’s say for instance that you are developing a new, custom app. Come deadline, what do you think your customer would rather have: software that doesn’t work, but has very beautifully designed buttons, or a bare-bones and unpolished app, but one that does what it’s supposed to? Exactly.
Type A people often have trouble relinquishing control. They think that the only way to make sure a job is done right is to do it themselves. That’s true to an extent, but unless you’ve found a way to clone yourself, sometimes it’s just physically impossible to do everything on your own. The only solution? Delegate. Focus on your own field of expertise, and, specifically, on the big crucial tasks. It’s okay to leave the less important work to someone else.
The ever-changing business world is becoming more and more demanding. Many companies decide to downsize for financial reasons, and that only increases the workload for the employees. Many of us always seem to be a step behind, even though we keep putting in the hours. The time has come to change the game. Adopting smart work strategies might give you the push that will boost your performance and set you apart from the competition.