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27 Mar

Four ways to work faster

Datum: 2013-03-27 11:00

When we have too much to do in rela­tion to the amount of time we have at our dis­pos­al, one strat­e­gy is of course to do few­er tasks, so in oth­er words, sim­ply not pri­or­i­tize some of our tasks (and for instance del­e­gate them to some­one else). 

But what if we do not have any col­leagues to del­e­gate to? What if the col­leagues we have them­selves have an even heav­ier work­load? Or if every­thing we have to do is more or less impor­tant and we can­not afford to de-pri­or­i­tize any­thing (if we still want to attain the goals we are striv­ing towards)?

Work less and get the same results

Let’s do what we nor­mal­ly do, only faster. 

If we per­form the tasks we have to do at high­er speed we will have time to do more of them in the same amount of time as we pre­vi­ous­ly did less in. 

If this idea makes you more stressed and you pic­ture your­self as Char­lie Chap­lin by the assem­bly line in the movie Mod­ern Times, try think­ing that the whole idea is that you will have to work less and still get the same results as before. 

Do this

Here are four sug­ges­tion of how you can do tasks faster. 

  1. Autom­a­tize – Cre­ate macros and sim­ple pro­grams that per­form steps in process­es you repeat fre­quent­ly, so that you only have to press a but­ton” in order for the step to be com­plet­ed. For instance use appli­ca­tions such as Visu­al Basic for Appli­ca­tions and built-in macros if you are work­ing in a Win­dows-envi­ron­ment, and Apple Script and Automa­tor if you are work­ing on a Mac.

  2. Semi-automize – Write check­lists for recur­ring tasks. You will have to do the work your­self, but you will save time by not hav­ing to remem­ber how you usu­al­ly per­form the task. Sim­ply open the check­list and fol­low its instruc­tions. You can be cer­tain that you are doing the right and the same steps every time (that is, fol­low­ing the method or process you have found by tri­al and error, see point num­ber four below) and you can relax while work­ing rather than exert­ing more effort than nec­es­sary to do triv­ial tasks. 

  3. Com­pete against your­self – If you, like me, are moti­vat­ed by con­tin­u­ous­ly sim­pli­fy­ing, resolve to from now on do a cer­tain task faster. Clock your­self to see how long it takes you to do the task, and keep track of the time it takes you every time you do it in a spread­sheet. Cre­ate a dia­gram that clear­ly shows how you are per­form­ing the task faster and faster. Make sure to cel­e­brate when you reach the goal you have set for yourself!

  4. Refine your process­es – Keep a watch­ful eye on how you work. Try spot­ting redun­dant or exces­sive ele­ments or steps. Refine your process­es by remov­ing steps, shuf­fling the order in which you do things, and cre­ate tem­plates so that you avoid re-invent­ing the wheel over and over again. Draw the process as a flow chart (so that you have some­thing con­crete to work with in the improve­ment process) or as a sim­ple checklist. 

Do more things or have more time off

If we make a con­scious effort to speed up the doing and com­ple­tion of our recur­rent tasks, we will have more time at our dis­pos­al. This is time we either can use to get more things done or to give our­selves more time off work (or work on oth­er tasks in a low­er tempo).

Spend­ing unnec­es­sar­i­ly large amounts of time on the tasks we have to do is a waste, as long as we are not sin­cere­ly enjoy­ing work­ing at a slow­er pace (and hence are forced to do few­er things in order to have a rea­son­able workload). 

What is your trick?

What is your best tip on how we can work with tasks faster? Leave a com­ment to spread your experiences.