May 27 2022
7 rules that will help you work more efficiently
How to become more efficient? There are lots of guides on this topic, but there are 7 practical hints that will significantly enhance your efficiency at work
Make a plan and… stick to it
There is not a particularly revelatory, though a universal statement: a plan is the foundation of any kind of work unless its essence is to continuously “put out fires”. No matter how many tasks await you, prioritizing them in a list a day before is the most vital part of your working day. Spend as much time on this as necessary. A plan fitted hastily will sooner or later come home to roost, so if you do not want to drop a newly opened task in order to deal with the one that has just become the most urgent, prioritize and group them into the categories of ’urgent’, ‘crucial’ and ‘timely’. Identify when your performance is the highest, in other words, at what time of day you work most efficiently, and put the most significant assignments precisely in these time slots.
Getting started is getting half of the job done
Is the necessity to get a task done bothering you, but you still put it off due to not being ready yet? The worst possible situation. Brian Tracey provided a very fitting description it in his book entitled “Eat that Frog”. According to him, the best solution is to… just get started, as perfect moments never come. A “duck dive” usually releases extra energy and sets new ideas free, which is why it does not make sense to reflect, even if you think that you need more time. Obviously, right at the planning stage, determine how much time you need for the following tasks and try to stick to these arrangements.
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Plan breaks and meals
Nobody can work endlessly and working without a break does not bring good results either. There is another often forgotten cliche that performance decreases substantially without a moment to relax. Break work into cycles to optimize performance. One of the most popular solutions is to work for 10 min, take a 2 minute break and repeat it 5 times. The “pomodoro” technique is also often used; it is called so due to the association with slicing the vegetable. The typical “tomato” is 25 minutes of work followed by a 5 minute break. It is worth splitting more extensive tasks into a few cycles with the fourth one followed by a longer break of up to 30 minutes. When talking about vegetables – observe mealtimes, too. Apart from supplying your body with the necessary “fuel”, breaking bread with your colleagues stimulates everyday team integration.
Deactivate distractors and give up chats
Eliminate any factors that prevent you from focusing completely on your job. Mute your phone, turn message, e-mail and app notifications off. Reduce the number of open tabs in your browser and apps on your computer as much as you can. The best would be to refrain from using social media when working, unless you need it to get the job done. If the type of your job allows it, stay fully offline. Take a moment to inform your colleagues that you need a longer time to concentrate.
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Consolidate similar tasks
Arrange similar tasks close to one another. Group phone calls, planning, e-mail drafting and other similar tasks into one segment. Check which ones require complete silence and for which ones you will have to leave the office. Assignment consolidation allows to save a lot of time. Start these “packages” with the easiest one – you are successful right at the start, which will allow you to zealously progress to the more complex ones.
Keep your desk and the direct vicinity neat
Devote some time to tidying up the room in which you work, as well as the desk and even your PC desktop. Many people underestimate the significance of these factors, but it has been a well known fact that mess hampers concentration and impedes finding the necessary utensils when performing tasks. And instead of finishing a report, there you are, wasting your precious time looking for the necessary documents in a pile of papers.
Focus on the elements that will bring the most critical results
Each of the scheduled assignments will obviously bring some effect. Learn, however, to valuate them according to the Pareto Principle that says that 80% of the results come from 20% of the input. So at the beginning find the 20% of your work time that brings the most valuable results and focus on it when scheduling. Are you not sure which of them are then most important for your company? Ask your supervisors. Setting priorities is their key responsibility.
To sum it up, there is one more hint that improves your performance. Just as a person who watches their waistline tries not to snack on something, every white-collar worker should avoid news overfeeding. Learn how to cut off the data streams you are constantly receiving. Even if you think that you are dealing with the ongoing information overload pretty well, your brain, being constantly overflooded with it, works less efficiently and your sensitivity to other, less crucial stimuli, drops down. That is why it is so important to take breaks and implement the “offline mode” in your daily work.
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