The Efficiency Guide – How to Do More in Less Time

Wouldn’t we all like to know the secret of doing more in less time? I bet we all try our best to do so, but somehow, we fail big time. OK, maybe not big time, but most of us definitely don’t have it all figured out. Typically, we spend more than 8 hours in the office. But, do we spend all of that time working efficiently? Absolutely not.

Research suggests that in an 8 hour day, the average worker is only productive for two hours and 53 minutes! On the other hand, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American ”works” 8.8 hours every day.

Something is not right here.

But, what?

Could it be the fact that the eight-hour workday is not based on the optimal number of hours a human can concentrate? That is our best guess and history proves us right.  The origins of those exact working hours lie in the Industrial Revolution, and not the Information Age.

In 1817, the slogan: “Eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.” was seen as a victory and was a huge relief to people working for more than 16 hours a day. However, so much has changed since and we guess it’s time for another working-hours revision.

EFFICIENCY AND SURROUNDINGS

First thing first. The office environment is extremely important for the employee’s efficiency. Generating a work-space that benefits to the well-being of the workforce – is the best possible thing an employer can do to boost the efficiency within his team.

Details such as office layout, the color of the walls, desk, and chair types can all provide immediate boosts to the employee’s efficiency. However, designing the perfect office (such as Google’s, for example) is rather expensive and time-consuming. But, if the organization ignores work-space surroundings and its value, that can come back like a boomerang with some real productivity costs.

Elements such as noise, lighting, airflow, and the issues regarding privacy are directly linked to the level of efficiency and should be taken into consideration when creating an office space. It might seem like an insignificant issue but it is everything but.

Keep in mind that the type of measures that are taken must vary according to the industry sector and the type of work being carried out by the company. It is not the same for manual workers and office-based employees, as they will both have many different needs.

But, one thing is certain. No one is immune to some good music. It can relax, boost productivity, inspire and so much more. Music Works campaign by music licensing organizations PPL and PRS for Music survey revealed that 77% of businesses say playing music in the workplace increases staff morale and improves the atmosphere. And the best thing about it is that is immediately applicable! And basically cost-free!

Now that you’ve redone your office, the next thing in line to be taken seriously is how you approach your share of the work. The first thing to be done, once you start executing a project, is task definition and delegation.

PRIORITIZE WHEN HANDLING YOUR TASKS

One thing is certain – time is a precious asset. We are all limited to 24 hours a day, and since it’s not possible to add minutes or hours to your days, becoming more efficient at work is the best alternative for making the best out of the 86400 seconds of each day.

So, what would be the best thing we can do in order to take full advantage of our day?

One is to think of time as one of the tools available in reaching our goals. If you look at it that way, and if you want to use time effectively, you’ll be needing some training, determination, and practice. Just like with any other tool.

First in line is definitely setting priorities straight.

It is all about deciding what is really important and what not so much. But prepare to take a good look at everything that is in front of you. So many important things will compete for your attention, but you must be aware that there are not enough hours to give attention to everything that seems worthwhile.

Deciding on your basic priorities is a key exercise in moving toward more effective use of your time. This includes two steps:

  • Determining what needs to be done
  • Deciding on the order in which to do the tasks

In order to succeed, you will be needing routine self-orientated maintenance. Keep the attention directed toward yourself and your goals and tasks. Get yourself some time during the day to relax and pursue your own personal interests. In the long run, this time is well spent – you will approach your daily tasks fully reset and refreshed.

The other important exercise is to keep the right attitude. It is very hard to stick to a positive attitude when you are overwhelmed with duties and short with time.

Try some of these methods:

  • Include so-called Time sense. It’s the skill of estimating how long a task will take to accomplish. Try to be as realistic as you can. Start practicing it by creating mental notes of how long it average takes you to do a certain routine task. This can be writing an email, getting ready for work, taking your kids to school. Just about anything. This way you will increase your time sense and you will be able to use it the right way when it comes to estimating a task time length.
  • Goal setting is the skill of determining where you would like to be at the end of a certain time period. This will show the right direction of your every day. Write down your goals. Remember to keep your goal as specific as you can, describing it in details. Of course, keep them realistic, too.
  • When talking about your standards if circumstances change, introduce Standard shifting. This means you will have to be able to quickly adjust your standards in the light of unplanned changes. In other words, certain times require dropping the perfectionist’s attitude. Leave high and rigid standards for the moment and focus on what needs to be done in order to overcome that situation. Be happy with less perfect when a situation demands so.
  • Time planning is outlining the work that needs to get done in a specific time frame. Sometimes it is as simple as creating a “To Do” list. And if you would like to be thorough, try using the MIT (Most Important Tasks) method.

Since we opened up the topic on prioritizing, take some time to investigate something called the ABCDE method. Basically, it’s a way to outsmart your instincts. And since our team recognized great potential in using the method, we decided to show you how it could be combined with Teodesk to achieve the best result possible. So, we created a mini-guide through the process, so you can really get a grasp on how to apply the ABCDE Method in Teodesk. It only takes six steps. Small steps for the employees, huge for the company!

AVOID DISTRACTIONS

One of the things that somehow always gets in the way of efficiency is constant distractions created by random situations that make us lose our focus, stopping us from doing whatever it is we were doing. Our luck and misfortune at the same time is the fact we are living in today’s amazing technological age. We can connect with other people and access information at any time, and almost immediately. With it, comes distraction.

A team of psychological scientists from George Mason University has found that interruptions don’t just take up time, they also degrade the overall quality of our work.

This was a rather inspiring issue for the psychologists, and as a result of many types of research, they come to the conclusion that there are two types of work: Deep and shallow work.

Deep work includes professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. This one requires a state of ceaseless concentration and it creates new values, improves your skills, and is really hard to replicate.

The shallow work is all about non-cognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. This includes meetings, routine administrative work, and checking and responding to emails.

So, it’s the deep work we need to work on. And work hard. Once you master the skill of focusing, your deep work will improve your efficiency and therefore, your overall results.

However, there is always something that comes in our way when performing such high demanding duties. For the efficiency boost, that something is usually a thing called digital distraction. You would be surprised how much of distraction a digital distraction just might produce! Did you know, for example, that 41% of a day is reserved for multitasking with communication tools? Or that 30 minutes is how much an average worker can stay focused, without any distractions? However, it is not our fault. We are simply overwhelmed with data. We can’t help ourselves. The amount of data is estimated to reach 163 zettabytes (i.e., 163 trillion gigabytes) by 2025!

ALLOW YOURSELF SOME DREAMLINING

OK, you all know how efficiency and productivity are closely linked to your personal and professional satisfaction, right? So, in order to boost your working result and to downsize the amount of time invested, start working on your personal mental hygiene and a perspective. That is, start dreamlining!

What does it even mean?

Dreamlining is the systematic process of outlining your ideal lifestyle and making a plan to realize your dreams. Or, as Tim Ferriss, an American author, entrepreneur, and public speaker, would say:

Dreamlining is so named because it applies timelines to what most would consider dreams.

It’s linked to a plain goal setting but differs in steps of practicing it:

  1. The goals shift from ambiguous wants to detailed defined steps.
  2. The goals simply have to be unrealistic to be effective. So, knock yourself out!
  3. It focuses on activities that will fill the void left after the work is removed.

Try to experiment a little bit with this way of thinking. Create a 6 and 12-month dreamlines, which all include five things you want to HaveBe, and Do. Next step is to plan actions to work towards those goals. And you must act immediately. No postponing “because it’s only a dream” and no procrastination.

TAKE SPECIFIC STEPS IN EFFICIENCY BOOSTING

Like everything else, efficiency also can be a learned skill. There are many theories on what one should do to boost it, but Teodesk has made a small list of specific steps you can include into your routine in order to achieve more. Here you will find the top 5 tips on how to get more efficient. Read carefully!

Also, some advice on how to be more successful every day couldn’t hurt! Go for it!

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