How would you feel spending less time doing things you love? When you’re more efficient in life, you improve productivity. While you can be tempted to look at productive people as machines, it’s all about making use of every minute every day.
But time management is hard.
If you think about it, people are often distracted by things that so they lose focus. Since there’s no magic pill to revolutionize your performance, you should change a few habits. Here are 16 powerful ways to be more efficient.
1. Create goals every morning
Whether you’re practicing a skill or completing a larger project, your success will depend on the goals you set in the morning for the next 24 hours. That way, you’ll feel more accountable every day.
One big mistake is not planning. If you don’t create goals early, you may get lost in your schedule. That’s why time management is so important.
2. Use a project management/time management tool
Managing a team can be nerve-wracking. There’s so much pressure when you’re in charge of overall management.
In today’s digital age, there are some tools you can use to boost efficiency and time management and increase productivity to get things done.
I recommend using a project management tool such as Asana. It helps to assign things to people and sends notifications on every change. This tool is available on iOS, web, and Android devices.
Another popular tool to help when there’s not enough time for everything is Trello. It helps you monitor different projects without meeting in person. Additionally, users can check all projects in a customizable view and receive emails on ongoing projects.
3. Set a time limit to each goal
Once you write down your goals, you should set a deadline to meet them. If you don’t have a specific time-frame, you’re keeping them open. For instance, you can say I want to buy a car in the next 6 months. This is like signing a contract that you write yourself.
Although there’s a risk of failing, you should stick to it religiously. This brings us to another question: why are deadlines so important? They make our goals manageable and increases efficiency towards achieving them. However, setting a limit is not a walk in the park.
To start with, you must write down the deadlines. This will help you analyze the thoughts and come up with a plan on how to achieve them. It also helps you to commit to them.
Besides that, your limits should be realistic. For example, you should not allocate 1 hour to a task that can take 30 minutes. A general rule of thumb is to do difficult tasks first and the rest of the job will go quickly.
Be sure you have enough time for everything on your list.
4. Prioritize your tasks
When you prioritize, you get more work done. Let’s say your to-do list is in a mess of actions. If you prioritize your work, you’ll feel like everything was meant to be done yesterday. It’s worth mentioning that you can’t complete everything within 24 hours.
The first step is to identify what should be done first. This is an ongoing activity. You can do it once daily or several times a day if your duties change. As you prioritize the work, keep an eye on any deadlines. Some tasks will require input from others, so you should make time in case of delays.
You should identify what should be done immediately and the outcome once a task is completed. Be sure you write a fresh list every month or every day.
5. Learn to delegate responsibility to others
No matter how competent you are in time management, you can’t carry the whole business on your back. While delegation may sound easy, it requires a lot of coordination and trust. But why delegate? It increases efficiency and lets you know who is best suited to specific tasks.
Furthermore, it lightens the workload and helps people develop new skills. This is also a sign that you respect your subordinates.
When delegating tasks, you have to let go. Most bosses have challenges accepting that someone to take up their roles. You should also play to your workers’ strengths and don’t be afraid to teach new skills.
6. Schedule your procrastination time
Procrastination is a major threat to time management when you want to increase productivity. If you don’t plan your procrastination time, it may decrease efficiency. People put off tasks to a later date for many reasons including lack of interest, the complexity of tasks, or lack of confidence.
While most of us feel guilty when we procrastinate, it’s quite healthy. But you don’t need to force yourself on a specific task for a long time.
It only becomes a problem when you find that every time you’re in a hurry and scrambling to meet the deadline.
7. Optimize your working environment
When you optimize the working environment, you can unlock the team’s potential. Some of the ways you can optimize the environment to increase efficiency include assigning a single use of space to work in and ensuring a quality environment.
Another way is refreshing in the workplace arrangement. If your workers are used to sitting, you can boost their efficiency with an adjustable standing desk. You can also replace the chairs with ergonomic models.
Follow the 80/20 rule
The 80/20 (Pareto principle) rules help you prioritize tasks that matter the most to boost productivity. This principle states that you should get 80% of the results from only 20% of your efforts.
To maximize the efficiency of time management, you must identify 20% of the most important tasks. Then, find a strategy of cutting 80% of them. The idea is to spend more time on the things that bring a higher income.
Where do you give most of your time? Look at your calendar and be honest where you spend most of your time. Maybe you’re spending most of your time training your team, writing content, producing products, etc. Well, it’s time you start measuring the results.
Be sure you look at the most results-driven tasks early in your day. Also, you need to spend less time on those tasks that produce minimal results. Your work efficiency will be determined by how well you plan your time.
8. Learn to say “no”
Work efficiency is built by the reflective habit of saying yes to opportunities and no to distractions. Inevitably, though, we end up disappointing people, including family.
Despite the negative connotations, the word “no” can produce a positive outcome in the long-run. For example, if a workmate asks you to do something that you don’t want to do, it’s enough to just say no. This ensures he or she doesn’t steal your valuable time to get done.
But you don’t just say no and keep quiet. You need to provide sound reasoning. If you don’t give enough reason, other workers may feel like seeing you as narrow-minded or stubborn.
The idea is to create healthy boundaries and stop other workers from stealing your time. It’s okay to say no now than to be resentful later.
9. Schedule your communication (email, calls, text, etc)
If you want to increase efficiency at the workplace, employees must communicate with each other more effectively. This explains why most job listings require good communication. The truth is, when information is not transferred the right way, productivity will even go down.
When there’s effective communication, the overall productivity of employees will increase. To start with, employees should understand what their superior needs from them and then come with unique solutions to increase efficiency. Everyone should be in the loop.
When you use an email, call, or text to communicate to employees, you can be sure they will get your message on time. If you use poor means of communication, you’ll end up wasting more time on your project. Therefore, you need to consider your objectives before you get on the phone.
You don’t have to make your employees wait for approvals. Just call them and explain everything that needs to get done. Of course, simple words like good job and well done can give some motivation.
10. Avoid multitasking
Never fool yourself by thinking that you’re good at multi-tasking. If a particular task requires focus and depth, you should concentrate on it alone. Have you ever tried to work on an important document then an email pops up? When you got back to your document, you had to refocus. So, every time you try to multi-task you lose focus.
There’s a growing body of research that shows multitasking affects efficiency. If you want to improve productivity, your brain must be fully present on one task. While walking and eating can be carried out without a catastrophic end, it doesn’t carry the same weight as texting while driving.
This can even hurt your efficiency when it’s time to switch gears!
In a work environment, you should never multitask. First, you should create a list of what to do and devote yourself fully without any distractions. This will eliminate the waste of time trying to figure out what to do next. Secondly, you should avoid mental shifts to unnecessary things.
One way of preventing multi-tasking is taking frequent breaks throughout the day to unwind, then jumping back in.
11. Don’t strive for perfection
If you want to boost work efficiency, you should let go of the need to be perfect. Generally, perfectionism will keep you insane your whole life. Sometimes, we find ourselves striving for more to become our best. If you’re not careful, you could end up piling emotions of self-hate, doubt, and burnout. So, enough with trying to perfect to get everything done.
Truth be told, when you strive to do things to perfection you don’t always make the best choices. You just limit your options. This is like being in a hamster wheel – you just keep going and going.
How do you let go of perfectionism to boost efficiency? You should change your mindset, build self-reliance, make your own decisions, and learn to let go.
12. Take a nap during the day
While most people associate naps with childhood, this is not the case. According to modern science, napping facilitates creative problem solving and boosts capacity for learning. It’s no surprise it can improve work performance. There are health benefits as well. Taking a nap minimizes cortisol levels to reduce anxiety and depression.
When should you take the power nap? If you take your nap time between 1-3 pm, you should stick to that time. Those who have trained their bodies to stay awake in the afternoon will have no problem making the transition.
For the first few days, you can train your bodies to take deep breaths before falling asleep. Any inconsistency will be hard for you. You may even want to set an alarm 15-20 minutes before waking time.
13. Be aware of your bad habits
If you want to increase work efficiency, its time you get rid of those old habits. Believe it or not, one thing can be a difference. Some habits can creep up slowly without noticing the damage they cause.
Some will decrease your accuracy and stifle your performance. A simple habit of using your phone or tablet in bed can affect your performance the following morning. You may not realize how this robs your sleep until you start feeling drowsy the following day.
Secondly, you should stop hitting that snooze button. This could interfere with your sleep-wake cycle. Don’t be surprised when you wake up the following day even before the alarm goes off. When you hit the snooze button and fall asleep, you’ll wake up the following morning feeling tired.
Other bad habits include impulsively surfing the internet, multitasking, and responding to emails as they arrive.
14. Sleep 7-10 hours
If you have a big presentation tomorrow, you should get a good night’s sleep. To boost efficiency, you should rest at least 7-10 hours. So, how does sleep affect your productivity? Poor sleep leads to sluggishness which may block our creativity. Sleep-deprived individuals will always have problems concentrating at the workplace and doing everything.
Good sleep gives better judgment when making decisions, helps in problem-solving and lowers the risk of burnout.
15. Remember to exercise
Having a regular exercise routine can boost productivity at work. It also keeps you mentally sharp throughout the day. Even a simple workout can have a positive impact on the efficiency of your work. It’s better to have a 30-minutes workout schedule than have a 2-hour routine that will not work.
When working out seems impossible, you should start small. Look for less strenuous activities that you enjoy. It gets better if you do this in the company of friends. Don’t dwell so much on nutrition, equipment or tracking data.
While taking each of these steps is fine, it can easily kill your new habits. Exercising 30 minutes a day will increase the energy levels and most importantly, improve work efficiency.
Efficiency in your life means carving out time to accomplish your goals. If you’re having problems with productivity at work and there’s not enough time in the day, you should follow the above tips so everything can get done and you can still spend time with family.