Note: This is a guest post from Daniel M. Wood of Looking To Business
Ever wish the day was 2 hours longer? In today’s society we are expected to do more and more, and no one is giving us any extra time to do it.
But what if someone could give you some extra time?
These 7 tips have all saved me hours each and every week. They are easy to implement and will help you put all your energy into the right tasks.
1. Plan your week
Often we say “Every minute spent on planning saves 10 minutes in execution” and we all know it is true. If you are prepared and know exactly what needs to be done, how to handle unexpected situations and what to do first, you will be a lot more efficient. But for some reason we never get around to it, it takes time, is a hassle and well, we are lazy.
The fact is that if you spend 1 hour every Monday morning planning your week, writing down everything that needs to be done, prioritizing the list by importance and then deciding what should be done on Monday, what on Tuesday and so on, you will save hours during the week.
2. Plan your day
Just like when planning your week, spending some time on planning your day makes a large difference. Before I started planning my days I would often spend a lot of time checking my email or just looking for something important to do.
Now that I know exactly what I need to do today, and in what order, I can work efficiently from morning till the end of the day and get much more done then I used to.
3. Batch your activities
Every time you start a new activity, it takes time. You have to get everything you need in order to do the task, you need to get into the mindset and you need a little “warm up time” during which you don’t work as fast as when you have done something for a while. Once you are done with the task, you have to put everything away, and “cool off”.
This means that every time you start a new activity a lot of time is wasted. If you can let the work of each task build up so that they will take at least 50 minutes to complete you will spend a lot more time “in the zone” working at your highest level of activity.
Email is a great example. Instead of updating your inbox every few minutes, only check in once or twice a day.
4. When at work, work!
One problem we all have is that we don’t like to work (usually). Whenever a chance to stop working comes a long we usually lunge at it. Like when a friend comes in to your office to exchange some words, we are glad to put everything away and talk a little, often we will join them to the coffee machine and talk some more, before you know it you have lost 30 minutes of your work day.
When at work, work! Just because you are at the office it doesn’t mean you are working. Do everything you need to do during the day and once it is finished you can start talking to people and spend the time with your family, instead of talking during the day while you feel stressed over all the things you “really” should be doing.
5. Finish every activity you start
Leaving an activity half finished is a big source of stress. Whenever something is only half done, it gnaws at you and stops you from focusing on other activities.
On the other hand, when you complete a task a rush of endorphins is released into your system making you happy, pleased and relaxed. It gives you the energy to go on and complete the next activity.
Use this, once you start something, finish it. Get the endorphin rush and channel the new energy into completing the next task, giving you another boost and so on.
6. Focus all your energy on the most important activities
The much quoted 80/20 rule states that 80% of the value you create in a day will come from 20% of the activities you perform. Meaning, if you complete those 20% you will have done much, much more than if you complete all the rest.
What if you could focus all your time on those 20%? You bosses would love you because you generate so much value to the company and you will be able to work less, because all the time you spend is so well spent.
Go through all the activities you perform and see which ones are the most important. Find ways to focus more time on them.
7. Take a break!
The best way to save time is by relaxing! To be able to work hard and efficiently, you need to be of sound mind and be able to focus. Take a break once in a while and go for a walk, drink a cup of coffee or take a nap.
Just don’t let the relaxation take too much of your time!
Thank you very much for reading. Please let me know what you think and share any techniques you have to work more efficiently by leaving a comment below.
Daniel M. Wood is the owner of the popular blog Looking To Business where he writes about sales, motivation and success. If you want to read more he suggests you start with these articles as they are his best on the subject of Personal Development and Sales.
Photo by pastaboy sleeps
7 Tips to Work More Efficiently
Note: This is a guest post from Daniel M. Wood of Looking To Business
Great suggestions Daniel.
A simple strategy that works for me is to set time limits. I pick a task, estimate how long it should take, then deduct 25% of the estimated time. This challenges me to step out of my comfort zone and figure out creative ways to get the task done faster.
Great points, Daniel. It is wise to approach our work with the right attitude and convert hard work into labors of love. We can approach work with a “because of” attitude (I’m doing this task because of my nagging boss). Or an “in order to” attitude (I’m doing this in order to get ahead.) On has us feeling obligated the other has us feeling freedom and power.
Thanks for your great tips,
For what focus is concerned I sometimes use an egg-timer to be able to mark a specific time for a specific task and you will be surprised how focussed it can make you, doing your task while you know that the egg-timer can go off anytime…..,
(BTW I discovered that nowaday’s you even have egg-timers in all kinds of funny shaped like for example an egg, a vegetable or a tennisball as you can see in a post on my Writing Blog at: http://hpshappywriting2.blogspot.com/2010/06/great-writing-tip-use-tennisball.html)
Also your tip to Batch your activities is a great tip indeed having the advantage to be able to keep into the mindset of your task.
It reminds me of a time I had to ‘Show somebody the ropes’ in an office job…..,
Minute after minute I was bombarded with questions that made it difficult to keep into my own mindset, and in a somewhat similar way I asked to collect, list and bundle those questions together so that I could answer them in a batch without constantly having to take time for each individual question minute after minute! Making it a lot more Efficient 🙂
All the Best,
To your Happy Inspiration,
I really enjoyed this. 🙂
If you’re interested, I would like to link you to my site & vise versa. My site, 2147miles.com is a non-profit website created to inspire & motivate others. Please check it out & let me know what you think. Thank you so much,
I really wish I would have read this (not that it was available) three months ago since it took me that long of working from home to learn these very lessons! Great guest post, thanks for sharing.
I like #4 “When at work, work”. This is something that I always try to do. The last thing I want is for my work to interfere with any other part of my life. I try to work efficiently so that I can “play” the rest of the time. Fortunately I enjoy my job, so most of the time it doesn’t feel so much like work. 🙂
Omg, my name is Lisa as well. But, I am in High School. I hope that one day I can be in your position and love my work. I want to become a Nanotechnologist in the future.
Another tip to work more efficiently is to be motivated to finish your work so that you can do something else. Wanting to spend time with your family is motivation to finish your work early, wanting to read or work on more interesting things is motivation to work efficiently and save up time.
Good stuff! I believe that personality will also determine how we manage our time. For some people these skills are easier to come by than others.
Nice tips. I’d like to add, if using a computer the best way to efficiently get tasks done is by standing imo. As you stand you get tired so you complete work faster at a higher quality, then you take a break. Then cycle through. You’ll complete your day hours earlier and have plenty of breaks too. It just works 🙂
Nice post Daniel
Batching my activities is the single most important thing that i do to increase efficicency at work. Spend up to 2 hours at least on one activity if you can as efficicency increases the longer you spend on something due to your unconsious mind coming in to aid you!
Awesome post! I agree with all your points! Thanks for sharing this great post. Have fun.
[…] meaning the little time you spend enjoying life is lost in the shuffle very often. (Source: Life Optimizer) So the key is to reduce that 20% of work into more like 50% of your time. But how in the world do […]
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Thank you for this article. I heard about 80/20 rule but i never think very important. but today i will try to apply it. 🙂
Nice stuff.. I really enjoyed your blog.
All service based organizations are now focusing on Increasing Employee Work Efficiency and Productivity more than ever.
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Good post! “When your at work…work”. Love it!! Simple but so true it is how mad time can be wasted around the coffee machine!
I agree with u regarding the tips that u mentioned above. It makes me more confident to work efficiently. I would like to know more regarding motivations of work from u. Thanks.
Good article but too many generalities in the article. It wouldn’t have that much longer to be more detailed such as when to take breaks, how long, etc.
So you should plan your day, but also finish the things you start. This is a bit conflicting for me because there are some things that simply take way longer than you thought.
I’ve started using the task feature in my Google Calendar daily. This way I have all my tasks in front of me along with my scheduled events for each day. And… If I don’t finish everything, no problem, I just drag it to the next day and repriortize. I am and feel so much more productive seeing the tasks crossed out at throughout the day.
Interesting tips, Stephen. Thanks for sharing!
Great piece of advice. Thank you.
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