We’ve come up with 10 easy ways you can become more efficient in the workplace. You’ll be surprised how simple it is to get things done faster, and better. All you need is to impose a few new rules for yourself, and colleagues if appropriate, and next year you can look forward to a more productive and stress-free work life.
Before you leave the office every day, clear your inbox. File, delete or ‘mark as unread’ each email so you can start the new day knowing nothing has slipped through the net.
In every case where it’s appropriate, phone whoever you need to communicate with rather than send an email. Having an actual conversation can save a lot of time going back and forth on emails. If you need to confirm the details of your chat in writing, do so afterwards. As well as saving you time, it never hurts to talk to clients, suppliers or colleagues as it reaffirms relationships.
Every morning gather your team together and take a few minutes asking each person what they did yesterday and what they are going to do today. It keeps everyone in the loop of other people’s responsibilities, helps with accountability and can troubleshoot any misunderstandings about tasks that need to be undertaken.
Do you really need to book a room, order coffees, check schedules and take time out of everyone’s day for the matter at hand? Could you save everyone a lot of time and effort by just pulling your chairs round off the cuff and having a quick chat?
How long is your attention span? Try and figure out how long you can be really productive for – ie when does your mind start wandering and you begin to check Facebook? It should be around 90 minutes. Make sure you get up from your desk after your allotted time and do something. It’s the quality of break you take, not the length that counts. Go and stand outside and take ten deep breaths, go up on the roof terrace and sing a song, meet a colleague in the foyer and pop to the coffee shop for a takeaway drink. Try and do something invigorating that takes you away from your desk. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on the next 90 minutes with gusto.
Sign out of your accounts on your work computer, you know you check them too much and it’s an unnecessary distraction. Leave the accounts on your phone so you can get your fix at lunch or while on a break. Think about how much more you’ll get done if you stop watching funny cat videos and looking at pictures of other people’s children covered in puree!
Are there jobs you do that you know you shouldn’t? Maybe you enjoy them but they are time consuming and beneath your skill set? Or maybe there are jobs you struggle with but you are reluctant to spend money outsourcing them. Try and figure out which tasks you should let go of and see how much time that would free up to concentrate on work you should be focussing on.
Before you leave the office every evening, write a ‘to do’ list for the next day. It’ll help you switch off when you get home and save time in the morning so you’re ready to crack on as soon as you get in. Make sure you prioritise your tasks, beginning generally with the things you are least looking forward to doing. This will help your mood throughout the day as there won’t be anything nasty looming over you.
If you want to move onwards and upwards at work, you need to set short and long-term goals or this simply won’t happen. If there’s a promotion you want, map out a plan of what you’re going to do to get it and discuss this with your superiors.
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but no one can deny the power of networking and the more of it you do, the better you’ll get at it. Research some events and commit to attending at least one a quarter. You never know, you might end up quite enjoying yourself!