There are only so many hours in the day, so making the most of your time is critical. To increase your output, you either put in more hours or work smarter. Let’s look at 9 ways to be more efficient in our time allocation, so that we can all work smarter.
1) Delegate tasks – “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” Nobody should have to tackle huge tasks alone. Allocate some of your tasks to colleagues you trust. Make sure to give your colleagues all the relevant resources that he or she needs to complete the deliverables. Also, don’t feel bad about reaching out to ask for help when you need to, instead of shouldering everything by yourself.
2) Say no to unnecessary meetings – Many meetings are a great waste of time, yet somehow we continue to unquestioningly book them, attend them, and then complain about them. Knowing what meetings to refuse is very important. If it’s necessary that you host one, or attend one, actively try to be concise, or to stay focused to not waste anyone’s time.
3) Quit multitasking – While we tend to think of the ability to multi-task as an important skill for increasing efficiency, the opposite might be true – attempting to do several tasks at once can result in lost time and productivity. Make a habit to commit to a single task before moving on to the next task.
4) Take breaks – Taking scheduled small breaks while doing long or heavy tasks can go a long way in improving concentration and maintaining constant level of performance. Take a walk, exercise or go on a coffee break – anything that helps you refresh your mind.
5) Commit to self-imposed deadlines – While we usual think of stress as a bad thing, a manageable level of stress can actually be helpful. It gives us focus and help us meet our goals. Give yourself a deadline to any project, and then stick to it. You may be surprised to discover how focused and productive you can be when you are watching the clock.
6) Create effective to-do lists – Learn to prioritise. There are tasks that are simple, and ones that are complex. Go after the easy ones and tackle the harder ones after. Stay on top of those tasks by creating a to-do lists. One of the most satisfying aspect of creating a to-do list is crossing off the things when they are done. It gives one a sense of accomplishment and a visualization of progress.
7) Weed out distractions – We’re talking about social media. If you find yourself falling behind tasks, it might be due to the fact that you are spending too much time scrolling through Facebook and watching cute puppies videos. That or, stalking people on Instagram. Allow yourself to go on social media only when you are on your breaks.
8) Decorate your space – This one is a fun one. Add pops of colour or live plants to improve your mood and productivity throughout the day. Throw in a few personal knick-knacks in your workspace to make you feel more comfortable and relaxed. However, be selective – you don’t want these decorations to become another form of distraction.
9) Reward yourself – When achieving a goal, it is important to reward yourself for motivation. Go shopping, eat a good meal, watch a good show. Remember how good you feel when you achieve what you’ve set out to do, so that you’ll stay motivated for your other goals!
We hope some of these are helpful for streamlining your work day, and increasing your output. Remember, not just to work hard, but to work smart too!