We all want to be efficient at our work - but the reality is often disappointing. It is easier to get distracted when compared to improving efficiency.
Research done by the Udemy In Depth:2018 Workplace distraction report found that about 84% of the workers take about half an hour to refocus on their work after getting distracted. Staying at the same place for hours, staying focused, and being productive is a tough task if you ask employees.
Because of this, Udemy found that 54% of employees are not performing as they should. 50% are significantly less productive, and 20% aren't able to reach their full potential or advance their careers.
It is hard for someone to stay focused and work. It only takes one notification or random thought to distract you for a long time. The question here is not about improving efficiency - but what you can do to get efficiency and increase productivity.
How to increase your work efficiency?
You can only get as efficient as the effort you put in. Just because you want to be efficient doesn't mean it will happen naturally. The simplest method is to decrease your time on social media apps while at work - but all work and no play makes jack a dull boy.
So, what should you do?
We have collected five tips that shall help you increase work efficiency.
1) Split your big work into small fragments
When someone sees a big task or something that takes a long time, they are already bored looking at the quantity of work they will have to do. During these times, divide the massive load into small fragments and make small goals to finish the small tasks.
That way, you feel like you have accomplished something after finishing one piece and are more motivated to work on the other. A deadline is set so that you can complete all the work on time. Focusing on one task at a time is a good way to increase efficiency and a good time management tip.
2) Take breaks
People have a misconception that working for longer hours continuously is getting more of their work done. But it is the opposite. You are not doing your best when you constantly work for an extended period. Working continuously without a break just tires your brain out, decreasing efficiency.
When you take breaks, you feel refreshed. Short breaks can help you create new ideas during the break; you can look at your work or a problem differently to come up with a solution. Taking just two or five minutes can help you boost your concentration and mood. Take a short break after you feel tired or bored - but be wary not to do this too often. Taking short breaks frequently can easily lead to distractions - which will have the opposite effect on your effort to increase work efficiency.
Taking breaks and wasting time are two completely different things.
3) Try to minimize your distractions
With access to the internet in our pockets, it does not take much for a person to get distracted. Even a tiny notification from a friend or a close one will likely get you distracted and postpone your work. Getting a message and peeking at it is not the problem but staying on your phone for the next twenty or thirty minutes because of that small notification is the problem.
There are numerous other distractions, so keep your phone silent more and try not to use it at work. Wear headphones or work in a quiet place to increase focus. Additionally, if you have music that you find calming, you can play it in the background when you wear headphones.
Furthermore, the allure of social media is always present, especially if they are your primary mode of entertainment. As it is said, unless your work is related to social media, they are a bane to your increased productivity if used in excess. Although it is easier said than done, reducing distraction is one of the best productivity tips to focus on the task.
4) Do not multitask
An article, "Executive control of cognitive processes in task switching," found that multitasking can lead to a 40% reduction in productivity. If you are doing something and you see a small task that you can complete within some time, you will leave whatever you are doing and get onto the small commission. It is better to stay focused on doing one job at a time and being perfect at it. Earl K. Miller said that multitasking is not humanly possible. No matter how much someone brags about their multitasking abilities, one task will affect another. Therefore it is better to stay focused on one task at a time. You will complete that one task correctly and in time if you do so, rather than having to think about everything simultaneously.
Furthermore, there is enough evidence to suggest that general people do not multitask. The best they can do is switch between two tasks quickly. As mentioned earlier, regardless of how well you do this, there will be some form of lag in your decision-making process during the brief moment of the switch. Focusing on one task is way easier and less brain work than this.
5) Do the most tedious task when you are at your best
There are times when we get tasks that we do not feel like doing. Something that is going to take too long, tough, and boring. It is better to do such work when you are most alert. You can't always push aside your work, but initially, completing small, manageable tasks might help you warm up for the big one.
If you start with the big one, you might not even finish it; even if you somehow complete it, you might not feel like doing the other ones. Understand when to do which work and how to do it. There isn't any schedule that would work for everyone, but an individual knows when they are at their best. At the same time, it is a good idea to remember the two-minute rule if you want to schedule tedious tasks.
6) Work on your scheduling
Scheduling and time management is one of the best ways to be more efficient at work and increase productivity. It is easier to stick to a plan rather than blindly walk through your day going with the flow. Segment your tasks and make a priority list.
We have an entire article related to this topic, so please read it for detailed information. But the gist is that by scheduling your day, you have a pattern you can follow, which reduces the stress on your brain. If you have difficulty scheduling, you can turn to several apps that act as time managers and day planners.
Naturally, you should focus on the tasks at hand and include adequate breaks while scheduling. Additionally, you can implement the "Two-minute rule" in your scheduling. This rule states, "if something can be done within two minutes, do them first."
Side note: You can ask your organization to hold classes to teach proper scheduling and boost employee engagement.
In the end
Regardless of our productivity tips, nothing will make you efficient if you do not work towards it. Being efficient takes a conscious effort and energy in its initial phase. However, learning to increase your work efficiency and increase productivity is more like an investment. You invest energy in the learning phase and save them once it becomes automated.
You can also ask your organization to organize some employee engagement programs now and then to break the mundanity of the workplace and breathe fresh air. Additionally, eating healthy foods, following the body's natural circadian rhythm, and being healthy will increase your work efficiency.
We hope you found this interesting. And as always, thank you for reading till the end.