Sure we need structure and systematic working methods. But sometimes we simply need to work faster.
If efficiency was about working harder, more intense and with more painstaking labor than before, I would not have been a fan of this topic.
There are definitely things we can do to enable ourselves to do more tasks during the same time as before without working harder. Here are seven things you can start doing right away.
- Do as many templates you can that will do half the job for you when you are doing something you have done before.
- Practice the separate parts a task consists of so that you can perform them faster but without exerting more effort. Time yourself, make note of your progress and create impressive diagrams if this is what inspires and motivates you. The violinist who holds the world-record for playing “The Flight of the Bumble-bee” (1 minute and 3,356seconds) plays it faster now that the first time he attempted it. He has been practicing.
- Make yourself unavailable so that you do not get interrupted as much. Close the door, turn off your phone and shut down the e‑mail. Work elsewhere than in your usual workspace (you can for instance borrow an empty office on the top floor, so that you will not be found). Tell your colleagues that “headphones on” means that you wish to immerse yourself in working with a particularly difficult task, rather than answer their questions.
- Move things closer to yourself, so that you do not have to get up and move far from where you are sitting to reach them. Place the items you use frequently an arm’s length away.
- Get your own copy of a particular tool (such as a scanner, printer, guillotine cutter etc) that you at present share with your colleagues (and hence usually have to look for or get somewhere before you can make use of it).
- Gather and do similar tasks in succession so that the setup time between tasks become shorter and fewer. It can for instance be tasks with similar time-perspectives. Do the short-term tasks first and re-focus on the long-term tasks later, rather than skipping between the different types of tasks.
- Settle for good enough rather than striving for perfect. While working with a task, gently question yourself in the sense that you for every new part of the task ask yourself if it really is a necessary step to perform if you are just striving to complete the task sufficiently. Sure, in order to do a perfect job you might have to include this part of the task, but if time is short and you want to finish the task as soon as possible, you are wasting you time if you over-achieve.
Be quick about it!
If you make a concrete change that will speed up your work-tempo (when you want it to be faster), you will have more time for the larger, more long-termed matters which are often given a lower priority in a life characterized by urgency. If you used to be frustrated over how little you manage to do in a day, you will feel uplifted as you notice that you with small means can influence the speed and tempo at which you work.
What is your way?
How do you do to work faster? Write a comment and tell me (and other readers of the blog).