This blog has been updated to reflect new industry data and trends.
Getting more done in the day. Doing more with less. Meeting deadlines without sacrificing your sanity or a social life.
Finding a way to get more done, and done well, in less time has been a career-spanning quest of employees everywhere. Following the pandemic, work-from-home trends have presented additional challenges (not that we needed any).
Help is on the way. We’ve collected a few simple tips and practical ideas that anyone, even the most scatterbrained of us, can use to jump-start their efficiency and get more done in less time (even when working from home).
Simple Steps for Working More Efficiently
Many mistakenly believe that efficiency is something you’re born with. You are either efficient or you aren’t. Those of us without the efficiency gene are doomed to be stressed out and behind schedule.
But working efficiently isn’t a genetic trait. Efficiency can be studied, learned, taught and improved.
Here’s how you can work more efficiently and be a hero for your team.
Make the Clock Your Friend
A schedule can be a beautiful thing.
Create to-do lists, and make sure you prioritize critical tasks. Focus on the work with the biggest return. Split your day between small tasks and larger projects, so you can feel the progress you are making. When working from home, where you can be more easily distracted, it is especially important to keep a strict schedule that focuses your attention.
Schedule your time and start tracking the tasks that take longer than they should. Try “timeboxing,” or limiting how long you work on a single task to avoid wasting time. Most of us are constantly wasting time on activities with a low return. Use the clock to make sure you are focusing your time the best way possible.
Limit Your Meetings
Meetings can be a vicious time vampire, sucking away time and energy. Rather than having meetings for the sake of meetings, identify and communicate the purpose and goal of a meeting before you schedule one. Make sure it is worth the time and investment.
Once you have a clear picture of the purpose of the meeting, you may discover there is an easier way of reaching the goals. Often, relying on meetings can mask deeper problems with communication or collaboration in your organization — problems that have been exacerbated by office closures and working from home.
Select the Right Tool for the Job
Many times, the only thing holding you back from unlocking hidden productivity is a single tool.
Look at your MarTech deck and make sure you have the right tools for your team. Trying to make the wrong tool work for you can lead to inefficiency and wasted time and effort. Effective tools can be critical when working from home.
For example, a content management system can help a sales pro quickly find and use marketing content. With the system, marketing knows their hard work is getting its best use. A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system is critical for building communication and enhancing collaboration. In fact, CRMs can boost sales by 29% and productivity by 34%. You can leave notes on customer interactions so anyone on the team can efficiently pick up work and deliver results. Look at bundling your tools on a platform like HubSpot, which can drastically reduce the time and effort to complete even complex tasks.
Evaluating MarTech can be stressful and confusing even for well-meaning managers. If you have questions, reach out to technology experts like GO2 Partners, who can help you match your business requirements to the right software system.
Ask for Help
Often the solution to working better is easier than you might think. Ask for help. A little additional training or clearing up confusion can help you get more done in less time.
Look at your schedule and identify the jobs or tasks that are causing you the most trouble. Find what the problem is. Consult with an expert to see if additional training is necessary. Ask if someone else can better manage the task.
In just a few minutes and with a quick question or two, you may be able to remove an obstacle to getting your work done.
Many of us struggle working from home because of the inevitable distractions. A barking dog, laundry, or a television show that you are ALMOST done binging. You need a way to remove distractions so you can focus on work.
Look at scheduling short breaks where you can indulge in a distraction. Do a quick load of laundry at lunch. Watch a few minutes of television between projects. Get a snack after a meeting. By scheduling breaks that incorporate your distractions, you can better focus on work.
Multitasking is not your friend.
You may think that working on three or four things at once is the key to getting more done, but it won’t increase productivity. Multitasking reduces productivity and efficiency. Every time we switch jobs, we’re reorganizing and refocusing our brain, which can slow the time it takes to complete a task. Think of it as a brain tax for multitasking. That tax can reduce your productivity as much as 40%.
Focus on one task at a time and then move on to the next. If you find yourself multitasking, take a break and consult your schedule so you are focusing on the highest priority work.
Plan Your Workspace
Your mind reflects your environment. To increase efficiency, you should work in a space that is conducive to productivity. Especially when working from home, it’s also important to separate your workspace and your home space.
Take some time to design and plan your work area. If you work better in a quiet space, then look at how you can create the quiet you need. If sunlight helps you focus and work, then work near a window. Studies have shown that pleasing elements, like a plant or a sunny window, can increase productivity as much as 15%.
Now Is the Time to Increase Productivity
Many mistakenly believe that the best way to increase productivity is getting things done. The existing to-do list is more important than taking time to address the problems holding you back. Nothing could be further from the truth. Efficiency and productivity are skills you need to nurture.
The time you spend eliminating distractions or improving team productivity provides an almost immediate return. You can take on bigger challenges, meet goals and deliver better results, even while working remotely.
If you have questions or need help with making the move from the office to remote work, then contact GO2 today. Our tech team can help you evaluate your tools and identify solutions. We also have kits for employees, and our experts in internal communications and employee engagement are ready to support your business.
Contact us today for more information. We’re here to help.