Every business owner could use time a little more efficiently. Whether you’re trying to understand why your meetings always run late or just trying to squeeze as much productivity out of a single day as possible, there is always a way to get a little bit better at doing everything. If you’re trying to help your employees to be more productive or you just need a little boost yourself, here are a few tips and tricks that can remind everyone of how to be a little bit more efficient.
There are very few people who can actually competently multitask, and in spite of how badly everyone wants to be one of those people, we probably aren’t. Research has shown that those who believe they are the best at multitasking are actually the least capable. Constantly seeking to multitask is linked to lower attention spans and inability to focus or think creatively. If you want to be better and faster at your job, stop multitasking.
Structure Your Schedule
Everyone is familiar with the concept of a scheduler, but nowhere near enough people actually use daily schedules to organize their time. Instead, they work around other people’s schedules, being led as if on a leash from one activity to another. Before you start your day, take 10 minutes to sit quietly, without distraction and focus on planning out an order of events for the day. Only then should you start to accomplish it.
When scheduling your day, make a list of everything that’s on your plate. Organize your to-dos by importance and imminence. A meeting with investors in three days is important, but a potential client sales meeting takes precedence if it starts in two hours. By doing the most crucial tasks of the day at the very beginning, you’ll be able to snowball your productivity and get ahead of schedule. Although, depending on whether you’re ahead or behind now, it may take a while to catch up.
It’s crucial to break up projects to bite-sized pieces, rather than try to tackle the whole thing at once. By planning a project in components and creating a map of instructions to be followed by you and the team, the work will go faster and there will be fewer crises along the way, even if you have to amend the plan as you go.
Take Baby Steps
Similar to the above, you need to do everything little by little. The only way to reach the top of a mountain is to take it one little step at a time. Often people don’t realize they take little steps in the process of completing an activity just like most marathon runners don’t think about every step in the run. What’s important is to be able to analyze the process when it’s successful and understand why it went well so the success can be repeated. By taking baby steps, you’ll be able to accomplish anything.
The most efficient time users know exactly how long any particular activity will take to accomplish. How did they get this way? They have a history of timing their activities. By knowing that it’ll take about thirty hours to put together a budget proposal, it’s easy to schedule the work according to your own preferences.
Designate a Mandatory End
One of the most common pitfalls of efficiency is believing that dedicating more time will yield greater results. In fact, the opposite is often true. By giving a mandatory end time to the amount of work put into any project, you can actually increase productivity. If necessity is the mother of invention, a hard, imminent deadline is the mother of results. For evidence of this, simply go to your local college and ask a few undergraduates if they’re more productive when they have a close, hard deadline for that term paper.
Allow for Down Time
The body needs rest. By refusing to give you or your employee’s time to recuperate, you’re physically reducing the brain’s capability to function. Studies have shown that stress, lack of sleep and anxiety are not only linked to one another but will each significantly decrease brain function and creativity. You’ll actually do a better job by regularly leaving work behind.
This activity is the greatest time saver and productivity booster of the list. Here’s how: by intelligently breaking down the work load and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the team to assign based work appropriately, time is saved for those who would have done the work both slower and less proficiently. When the work is done poorly, it vacuums even more time that’s necessary to resolve errors.
Implementing these tips will benefit your office life, and if you carry them into your home life, you’re likely to see improvements there as well. Efficiency is a lifestyle, and just a few simple modifications in one’s activities can transform a wasteful person into an effective and competent one.