Working Efficiently has never been more in-demand. Whether it’s routine task management and tackling the ever-growing behemoth that’s the inbox.  Or protecting our time and delegating responsibilities to others. Knowing how to work efficiently is more necessary than ever before.

What is Working Efficiently and why is it important?

Working efficiently is performing at our optimal level.  It’s about effectively staying on track regardless of any distractions going on around us. Because time is our most precious of resources, and as we progress at work, it’s gets harder to protect.

Whether it be those pesky emails appearing after you’ve just spent an hour clearing your inbox. Or your boss’ subtle but repetitive queries about how new work can be added into your schedules. Maybe you’re striving to get through a to-do list, in a whirlwind of persistent pings from social media updates. Distractions come at us from every angle. Inside and outside of work.

It’s very satisfying when we can look back on a productive day. And it’s disappointing when a day feels wasted. The extent to which we can honestly say we’re efficient in our operation, strongly influences our emotions about work at home-time.

Getting started, efficiently.

First of all, when starting out, efficiency is simply about knowing what we’re doing and when. It’s also about using common techniques to stay organised and on track for our work goals. As a result, efficiency involves planning activities both short and long term. Planning for the day, the week and months ahead. And building in flexibility to cope with the unexpected.

Importantly, it’s an opportunity to learn about your own style of working. Is it methodical? Or is it more of-the-minute and spontaneous? Our working style is influenced by our motivations. So being mindful of how our interests and responsibilities compliment or conflict with each other, should be important points of regular reflection. At times when we aren’t efficient, it’s often because we’ve put off the tasks we’re not enthusiastic about. So when in need of an efficiency boost we can:

Get to know our efficient selves. When do we feel most efficient? What are the conditions we thrive in? Who or what is around when we don’t feel efficient? You could even take a psychometric test online. So reflect, learn and switch things up.

Make notes diligently. Write lists, use daily planners, use post-it notes. Whatever physical and/or digital method works best for you, use it and stick to them diligently.

Make plans, and most importantly, stick to them! Plans and schedules are pointless without discipline. And discipline is shown by dedication, in spite of frivolous feelings.

Time is a finite resource, so spend it wisely. Evaluate what you spend your time on currently, and discover what you’ve actually prioritised. After listing your key tasks in terms of priority, block out enough time to complete them on a calendar.  

Get feedback and ask others who you think a highly productive. How efficient do others think you are? Ask them and find out. While you’re at it, you can ask the most efficient person you know for tips.

Working Efficiently on your way up

Working efficiently by delegating and team work

As you gain more experience in your role, protecting your time may become an increasing thought. You may be looking all over for ways you can work more efficiently, and get some relief.

It’s a funny period. You might have so much to do, and seemingly nobody to support you with that workload. Maybe you feel as through you’ve spread yourself too thin. And there’s nobody for you to delegate tasks to, as you’re not management yet.

Manage your projects and distractions. Evaluate what or who is consuming the most of your time. Watch out for people who eat into too much of your time.

Do the most taxing tasks first. As the day goes on, it’s easier to for time to run away from us. So do the tasks you least like or just more difficult first.

Don’t isolate yourself. Start to Delegate. Explore how to can involve others in your work. Build trust with your colleagues. And begin to focus on the things that only you can do. However, still keep an overseeing eye on tasks.

Consider what you’re drawn to work on, but question whether it’s needed. Are you procrastinating and avoiding more important activities?

As a leader of efficient workers

Delegating tasks and managing efficiency | Working Efficiently

Working Efficiently is necessary, no matter what stage you’re at. As a leader you’ll not only have to work efficiently, but you’ll have to ensure your team are also working efficiently. A good leader is both demonstrator and facilitator of efficiency.

You’ll be sure regularly delegating tasks, almost everything, and you’ll be overseeing the completion of those tasks. You would know who works best at what, and assign tasks according. As a leader, your efficiency is reflected in your team and their contribution to the wider company.

Get involved, only when absolutely necessary. Know which fires you need to put out, and which ones others can work out.

Manage your expectations and say no to protect your time. You can’t be everything to everyone, so evaluate both the expectations of others and yourself. And don’t be afraid to say no.

Focus on what’s most important for you to do. If you have someone, like a personal assistant, who can take charge of the admin side of things, let them.

Say no to requests for your time – unless genuinely warranted. Be decisive and disciplined with the spending of your time.

From working efficiently to efficiently leading

No matter what stage you’re at, working efficiently is a necessity. Whether you’re just starting and trying to stay on top of your inbox. Maybe you’re delegating tasks for the first time. Or even if you’re a seasoned professional, who’s both facilitator and demonstrator all things efficient and productive. Everyone, everywhere are forever on the hunt for new ways to be more productive with our finite resource of time.

“The great thing in life is efficiency. If you amount to anything in the world, your time is valuable, your energy precious. They are your success capital, and you cannot afford to heedlessly throw them away or trifle with them.”
– Orison Swett Marden.

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