5 Steps to Improve Work Efficiency

May 23, 2016   Chris Bibey
General work remotly

Employers look for many things in an employee, but nothing is more important than somebody who is hard working, productive, and efficient in what they do.

Do you get the feeling that your work efficiency is lagging behind? Are you looking to make a change in the near future? Are you ready to boost your work efficiency in hopes of standing out from the rest of the pack?

While it takes time to make serious progress, there are things you can do today to improve work efficiency and show your company that you are a valuable employee. If you want to learn how to improve efficiency at work, follow the steps below:

1. Implement a To Do List

Regardless of your position or responsibilities, nothing changes the fact that your day is full of tasks.

Which ones will you complete first? Which ones are most important? How will you remain on schedule throughout the day?

If you don’t have a to do list, you may find yourself overlooking important tasks that require your immediate attention. As a result, your work efficiency slips and your productivity falls off the map.

Fortunately, it is simple to create a to do list. You can do so the old school way, such as with a good old pen and paper. Or if you want to integrate technology, consider one of the many software programs and apps that can help you stay on track.

For example, Wunderlist is one of the top players in this space. Here is how the company describes its service:

“Wunderlist is the easiest way to get stuff done. Whether you’re planning a holiday, sharing a shopping list with a partner or managing multiple work projects, Wunderlist is here to help you tick off all your personal and professional to-dos.”

That is exactly what you are looking for, right? Technology may be your best friend, not just another distraction.

2. Improve Communication

There are many time-drains during a workday, including communication with coworkers, clients, and prospects. This is not to say that communication is a bad thing. However, it does mean that some forms of communication make more sense than others.

Are you wasting hours on end meeting with coworkers in person? Are you spending too much time on conference calls when a quick email could accomplish the same thing?

If you want to improve communication, it’s time to implement a system for doing so.

First things first, define what is and is not working for you in terms of how you communicate in your day to day work life.

From there, eliminate methods that are sucking up your time and focus on those that can improve efficiency.

For instance, Brosix is a private chat program for you and your team. This gives you the opportunity to communicate with others, in real time, thus improving your efficiency.

You won’t always communicate in an instant messaging environment, but as we note on our website there are quite a few benefits of doing so:

“Group and private chat, file transfer, screen-sharing, screen-shot, whiteboard and more for your team collaboration. Full control of your chat network, secure communication channels.”

When you improve communication, you have no choice but to boost your efficiency. In the end, this is the best of both worlds.

3. Avoid Multitasking

Let’s face it: there is no way to completely avoid multitasking. This is something you will have to do from time to time. Even so, you don’t want this to take over your life.

When you simultaneously spend too much time on multiple tasks, you will find that you aren’t doing anything well. Worse yet, it will take you longer to get through your to do list.

This step goes along with creating a to do list. As you review your list, move from one item to the next, one item at a time. Unless it makes sense to do so, you shouldn’t decide to take on two tasks at the same time, as this is going to kill your efficiency and drag down your overall level of productivity.

Here is an interesting excerpt from a Psychology Today study:

“But here’s the interesting part: 2 percent of people can juggle without dropping a ball or, indeed, without any ball even sailing less high—they show no ill effects from multitasking. Strayer calls these people supertaskers. “The question we had,” says Strayer, “is, who are these people?”

The article goes on to state that only two percent are able to effectively multitask. While you may be among this group, there is a better chance that you aren’t.

4. Keep Distractions on the Outside

There is no better way to kill work efficiency than by introducing distractions. You know what we are talking about here:

  • Cell phones and tablets
  • Television and radio
  • Conversations with coworkers (that are unrelated to work)
  • Video sharing websites
  • Online games

And the list goes on and on and on. Here is the problem: it doesn’t matter where you work, who you are, or what you are responsible for, you can probably find a distraction to take your mind off the task at hand. You must be resilient enough to keep these distractions on the outside looking in.

U.S. News & World Report shared advice on the best ways to kill workplace distractions, noting the following:

“Get a handle on your workplace distractions so you can get more done and feel better about it.”

That is pretty easy to understand, right? When you get a grip on workplace distractions, it won’t be long before you are getting more done and feeling better about yourself. Not to mention the fact that this will also work in favor of your employer.

5. Reduce Downtime

Every minute that you are not focusing on the task at hand is a minute you will never get back.

If downtime is killing your efficiency, there is only one thing you need to do: eliminate this problem once and for all.

There are many ways to minimize downtime, including the following:

  • Track everything you do. If you do this for one week, you will soon realize when you are losing time to tasks that have nothing to do with your primary responsibilities. At that point, you can adjust your schedule to avoid this in the future.
  • Once again, your to do list comes in handy. List all the job tasks that you need to complete, in order of priority, and then work through them one at a time.

This Monster.com article explains that downtime is often common during certain times of the year, such as during the holidays. Consider the following:

“There are plenty of good reasons to unwind in all that downtime at the end of the year, but sometimes it is false downtime. In other words, you’ve stopped working when there are things to be done which creates stress before and after the Christmas period. Somehow you need to reduce this downtime and strike a balance between fun and work.”

Downtime can strike at any time of the year, but you should definitely keep an eye on this during the holiday season.

Answer these Questions

Now that you have a clear idea of how to improve work efficiency, it is time to take a step in the right direction. As noted above, this is not something you can accomplish overnight. It will take many days of change in order to improve your efficiency and productivity.

To ensure that you are on the right track, here are five questions to answer:

  • Have you pinpointed why you have lacked a high level of efficiency in the past?
  • Do you have a system in place for not only improving efficiency, but for sticking with this level of performance for an extended period of time?
  • Will you have a better chance of reaching your goals if you enlist the help of a coworker or supervisor?
  • Is there any type of technology that can boost your efficiency, as opposed to causing a distraction?
  • How will you track your efficiency in the future to ensure that you are truly making progress?

These questions are not always easy to answer, but once you do so you will have a better idea of where you stand right now and where things are headed.

Final Word

Everybody wants to improve work efficiency, but only some people are able to turn this thought into reality.

Even if you have tried and failed in the past, it’s not reason to avoid this in the future. With the five steps above guiding you, you will find it easier than ever to work with a higher level of efficiency.

You may consider yourself to be an efficient worker right now, but remember this: there is always room for improvement. Once you make a change, both you and your employer will take notice.

Do you have any other steps to add to this list? Do you have any tips for improving work efficiency? Be sure to share your thoughts, advice, and guidance, in the comment section below.

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