Work Efficiency: Everything You Need to Know

To improve work efficiency, you need to know how to delegate, communicate, and focus more effectively. Improved work efficiency can lead to better productivity across an entire organization.

In today's business environment, dealing with work-related pressure is tough. It can often seem like there just aren't enough hours in a day to get everything done. You can improve your productivity, however, by adopting habits that make you a more efficient worker. Employees who are the most efficient know how to make the most of each minute. They also give their full attention to the most crucial tasks first. Being more efficient will improve your productivity and make you look good in the eyes of your superiors — it can also make you feel more satisfied and accomplished with the full, productive workday you had.

Learning How to Delegate

You can't do everything yourself, so asking for help when you need it and passing along tasks in order to increase productivity is vital. When collaborating with colleagues and coworkers, you need good communication and trust. This includes informing coworkers of relevant deadlines and ensuring that they have everything they need to complete their work.

Assign responsibilities to qualified employees. This gives them the chance to gain required skills and leadership experience. Ultimately, this benefits the entire company.

When people try to take on more than they can realistically accomplish, productivity declines. CEOs and leaders who consistently overload their schedules shouldn't be a source of inspiration. Instead, take your cues from truly efficient people who know how to delegate tasks to team players who will perform them better. Knowing how to break down a big task into manageable chunks and empowering others to contribute lets you choose tasks that you're best suited for and work through them without distraction.

Communicating More Effectively

Communication is key to a productive workforce, and technology has made our current communication methods extremely efficient. However, email-related tasks are the second most time-consuming activity for employees (after job-specific tasks). Emails can eat up almost 28 percent of a person's time.

To improve efficiency, try other communication tools instead of relying on email all the time. Slack is one social networking tool that's designed for faster team communication. You may also want to encourage employees to occasionally have a quick meeting or communicate via a phone call — the few minutes spent on that can cut hours of back-and-forth emails.

One of the biggest time wasters for businesses is poor communication. When bad instructions or a negative tone come across in a hurried email, a project may end up taking even longer.

People who are masters of efficiency take a little extra time at the beginning of a task to consider how they'll communicate. They consider their objectives before making a phone call or crafting emails, and they use the exact language that's necessary to achieve their desired effect. This may take a little more time to start with, but it can shave hours or days off a project.

Put a Stop to Multitasking

While many people think they're good at multitasking, the reality is that only a very small number of people can truly focus simultaneously on more than one task. This is particularly true when tasks require a great deal of focus and attention. People think they're doing more work, but they're actually getting less accomplished, and the quality of their work is often poor. Due to sub-par results, they may then spend even more time and energy on having to fix their mistakes.

Multitasking isn't a skill that leads to greater efficiency; the opposite is often true. Psychologists have found that when we attempt to do several things simultaneously, we often lose time and reduce productivity.

People who are very efficient know that focused effort with minimal distractions produces better work in a shorter amount of time. To improve your work efficiency, commit to working on a single task before moving onto the next one.

Organizing and Efficiency

You can improve your focus and efficiency in several ways:

  • Keep an orderly workspace, free of clutter.
  • Only keep items visible that you use daily.
  • Stash everything else out of the way in an easy-to-reach spot.
  • Arrange your area and desk so that you can quickly and easily find the materials and supplies you need for work.
  • Keep documents that you use often close by.
  • Store other documents alphabetically or in a logical order that works for you.

Even if you don't work in an office, the same guidelines apply. For instance, if your work area is a bicycle repair shop, keeping your tools organized and clean makes it more likely that you can easily find them; you won't waste time cleaning them if you need to begin a job immediately.

A disorganized workspace can hinder productivity. You waste time when you constantly have to hunt for the required tools, materials, or documents.

Motivating Employees

Employees can be more efficient if they have a focused goal. When goals aren't clearly defined and achievable, your workers may be less productive. Make employees' assignments as clear and focused as possible. Let them know what's expected of them, and tell them the specific impact their assignment will have.

You can do this by creating "SMART" goals. The acronym stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Before assigning a task, ask yourself if it is SMART and fits every one of these requirements. If it doesn't, see how it can be changed in order to help employees stay focused and efficient. You can use a tool like Rescue Time, which lets you know how much time is spent on daily tasks such as:

  • Social media
  • Word processing
  • Email
  • Apps

Because people so often misjudge the amount of time they spend on various tasks, tools like this can help you manage your time more wisely.

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